May 26, 2009

The way home

I had loaned my truck to a friend on Sunday because he had to head home to work Monday morning. This was so the rest of his family could stay out in the woods one more evening, and I would ride home with them.

After making it back to their house on Monday to grab my truck, I had to head over to my parents to pick up our pooch. Since this was a last minute trip, and I wasn't heading home in my own vehicle, I decided not to take her along. I wish she could have been with me enjoying the time outside, but another result of modern camping is that she would need to be on a leash. The woods aren't the same if you're tied to a tree.

So we headed home with a truck full of gear and smelling of campfire. As I entered I-5 from I-90, my truck seemed to be losing power. I tried to figure out the reason, but nothing seemed to be wrong with the engine. I pulled over on an on-ramp to see if I could figure out what was wrong. There was no shoulder or exits for a couple of miles, and I didn't want to jam up I-5 at the end of a holiday weekend. I walked around to the front of the car checking out the tires to see if I had a flat. When I looked at the front passenger tire, I saw flames.

I dashed back to the truck to get my water bottle and doused the flame. It sputtered back to life, but I had just enough water left to put it out. It turns out my right front brake had locked up and the pads had overheated to the point of burning. The nearest exit that didn't lead to another freeway was a few miles away, so I called 411 for a tow truck.

The automated system doesn't recognize "I need a tow truck" so an operator came on. I told her where I was and she offered Shoreline Towing. I said that Shoreline was several miles away from Seattle, but of course she was long gone. The truck took about 45 minutes, so the Department of Transportation truck had time to stop by and put a big green check mark on my window.

There was no room for the dog in the tow truck, so she had to ride in the cab of my pickup truck. She can be a nervous passenger, so I was a little leery having her ride back there. I imagined her freaking out a bit, so I kept looking back to see if she was pacing. I could see clearly into the truck, but I couldn't see her so I think she stayed prone in the back seat.

The dealer that replaced the brakes six months ago is no longer in business, a victim of the dealership closings. I had some things I was planning on getting fixed soon, and now the locked up brakes forced the issue and added to the list (and cost) of things to do. Fortunately a friend has a spare car that they could loan me for a few days, and she was nice enough to pick us up at the dealer.

I had plans of mowing the lawn and doing a load of laundry to wash away the smell of campfire, but by the time we made it home it was all I could do to unload everything and take a shower. They didn't finish working on the truck today, but by the sounds of it it isn't going to be cheap. A trip to the dealer never is.

Looking on the bright side, I am glad this didn't happen to Dave when he was driving home late Sunday night. Cell coverage was non-existent at the campsite and it could have been a long walk to get any kind of help.

Should have stayed out in the woods.

1 comment:

Amy said...

Oh Sean, what an ordeal! We should have got Sierra on the way home first. But then who knows where you would've been stuck??