Chummy's First Florida Trip
Feb 10, 2005
The trip started without incident at exactly 11:23 AM. The weather was cloudy but nice. When we drove into Illinois the sky began to brighten with a promise of clear skies in just a few hours. We were making very good time and had just pulled off of the toll way onto the Edens expressway at 1:00 when I noticed Chummy had no oil pressure. At that exact moment a loud clank emitted from the engine which I felt was not a good sign. I pulled off the highway and shut down the engine. Not knowing what to do I sat there eating potato chips while listening to the cars and trucks whisk by. Eventually I had my fill of chips and decided that maybe I had just imagined the loud noise so I started the engine and sure enough. I had not imagined the loud noise. Shutting off the engine I realized that my options were more potato chips or getting a tow. I chose the latter and then the former. We called the police and they gave us four numbers of supposedly willing towing companies. After we called them we found that the willing part of the description was wrong. Plus we had no where to tow Chummy! Then a tow truck stopped. Two nice men got out and offered to tow us but they were too light and we were too heavy. They did give us a name of a towing company which we called and soon we had a real tow truck in front of Chummy and were on our way to Foster and Cicero.
This is significant since this was my old neighborhood where I grew up in Chicago. Here I was vacationing in the very same place I grew up. But I digress. After a telephone book search we decided to take Chummy to an Isuzu dealer on 35th and Halsted; another tow for Chummy and a long way away from my old neighborhood. We arrived there about two hours later and were greeted by the news that we should get a rental car and a motel room.
"Hello Enterprise" twenty minutes later they were on the scene just like the TV commercial and we were on our way to a motel. We left Chummy in a back lot with sick trucks. It was dark and sad and we were sad and dark as well. Checking into a motel was not what we wanted to do this evening. Instead of Louisville, Kentucky we had made it only to Midway Airport, Chicago. Instead of a feast of those BBQ chicken wings I had prepared, which now sat in Chummy's refrigerator, we had our choice of vending machines or a TGIF Fridays. The vending machines almost won. The meal was non-descript. Later that night I inhaled chlorine fumes from the motel whirlpool and dripped water across the carpet on the way back to our room. Topping off the night was a spring filled chair and a too small TV screen which would not swivel to the chair's direction.
We awoke in a dry motel room with strange noises. Wondering just what stories this bedspread could tell if only it could speak. The repair shop had promised to call last night and had not. They were open to 11:30 and I stayed awake for their call. In fact I was awake most of the night. Now I know why I do not like motels! We walked down and took in the continental breakfast, typical fare. Fran used the exercise room and I sat in the whirlpool and inhaled more chlorine fumes. When we got back to the room and mustered the nerve we called the repair shop. Shawn said there was a knock in the engine and they were going to pull the pan to find out what was causing the knock. It is now 10:30 and I know nothing more.
12:00 and we called again more bad news. There are metal shavings in the oil. They are having trouble getting the oil pan down and need to pull the engine to get it off. We left the motel to drive to the repair center. When we arrived we were told they were still having trouble getting the pan down. We left there about 3:00 and drove over to the rental car place.
We had rented this car without thinking that a car existed with only seats, windows, and a steering wheel surrounded by sheet metal. Aside from those amenities it had no more. Tops on our list of additional amenities was a way to charge our cell phone which had become our life line. Yes, this car had no ports! When we got to the rental place I made a deal with the guy for a luxury car at an additional $ 5.00. At this time I felt it was well worth the money. We now had windows that went up and down, cruise, seats that adjusted and best of all a port to charge the cell phone.
We drove west to find a motel and located a nice Best Western for a special negotiated price. Inquiring about the restaurant next door the clerk agreed that they were open 24 hours. This was not the best recommendation so we settled for pizza delivery. At 8:30 Chris called from the repair shop with the bad news. The engine was fried! We needed a whole new engine at $14,935.63 plus tax. The good news was the new engine had a 3 year warranty. I thanked him, hung up the phone and went into shock. Suddenly I wished I had not spent that extra $5.00 on the rental car. Best thing to do right now is to go to bed and deal with this situation in the morning. Good night.
Our daughter had agreed to meet us at the repair shop at 10: 30. Fran and I climbed in to our terribly expensive luxury rental car, turned on the heated seats and warmed our butts. Soon we were at the truck repair shop and they were confirming the $14,935.63 plus tax estimate and talking about some type of fuel something or other that it did not come with but they would rebuild one and it would de-floogle the fuel just as well as a new one and save us several thousands of dollars. I for one always try to save thousands on de-flogglging so I agreed immediately. I then signed the work order and began to cry. My daughter arrived and we unpacked Chummy. I, as an after thought, mentioned to the mechanic that Chummy just had an oil change and could that possibly have been part of the problem. The mechanic, Charlie answered that that was interesting because he found the wrong oil filter on Chummy and felt it had leaked causing the engine failure!
We took the oil filter which the mechanic, Charlie assured me was the culprit to the mechanic Dave who installed it. Dave took one look at the filter and admitted it was the wrong filter and called his insurance company to file a claim. Fran and I felt like we had passed over into the realm of the Twilight Zone, the Lost Dimension, somewhere other than the planet earth where people just do not accept blame for $15000 mistakes without trying to use some kind of excuse first. But here we were pinching ourselves and feeling it and besides Dave was actually talking to his insurance company admitting the mistake.
This is the end of our vacation. The ball is in the insurance adjuster's court and Chummy sits alone in a back lot of a truck repair center, south side of Chicago.