Thursday, February 08, 2007

Hitch Hiking in NC

On January 13, Daniel and I headed up to the Asheville area to do some hiking. It was a beautiful day and we were really looking forward to the trip. To get to our trailhead, we had to drive on a one-way gravel road. As we were driving along the car started to stutter and then died. I was driving so Daniel got out and looked at the engine and couldn't figure out what was wrong. After scratching our heads, Daniel decided that since we were in the middle of this one way road that we needed to find a way to pull the car off the road.

We were on a hill (the car was pointing up) so Daniel decided that he would put the car in neutral and roll down the mountain backwards until we could turn around or park. My job was to walk down in front of him to make sure other cars didn't run into him.

At one point he got so much momentum that he actually passed me and a poor couple in a minivan almost had a heart attack when our car came hurtling down the road backwards at them. I almost had a heart attack watching the scene unfold. Daniel just thought it was fun.

We eventually found a spot to turn the car around and Daniel got out to try to push start it (we have a manual transmission) while I steered. This did not work either. At least now the car was pointed in the right direction so I got in the car with him and we rolled forward down the road until there was no more hill and we pulled off on to the shoulder.

At that point we had to decide what to do. We were in the middle of nowhere and had seen very few other people and there was no cell phone reception.

A Jeep Wrangler drove by with a retired couple from Florida. They didn't seem very interested in helping us. Then we waved down a good-ole boy in a little pick up who was from the area. He offered to drive us to where we could get cell reception so we hopped into the back of his pickup.

He then decided to take us to a gas station where he dropped us off. We tried to pay him for his efforts - which he wouldn't hear of. Then he pulled out his hand gun and told us that we should keep one with us for our own protection and then he was gone.

We called a tow truck. 40 minutes later we were hurtling down the gravel road in a massive tow truck at break neck speeds. Thanks to AAA we got a tow back to Charlotte. It was a very adventurous day.

Several days later, Daniel discovered that the problem with the car had been that a $6 seal on the engine block had busted. Once he replaced the seal the car was fine!

The gas station was not a typical gas station. It was a gas and cigarette drive-through with no inside. Thankfully it was nice out and we had no problem sitting on the curb waiting for the tow truck.
While we waited, there was a guy there filling up 15 plastic gas containers!

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