N.Y Tourette – Day 13

Posted by admin on July 18th, 2011 filed in travel

Thursday, July 14th

Day 13. Lucky thirteen…

We woke at 3:45 hoping to get an EARLY start before Long Island’s morning rush hour. The Mini was packed and ready to go by 4. It started up fine and we sat, giving it some time to warm up. The past few days had been surprisingly sweltering for Floridians in New York, however the forecast for the day predicted some relief – good news for travelling without a/c – and the chilly morning made that prediction all the more promising.

After several minutes of sitting together, quietly in the morning’s darkness, we decided we should get going. Jim put it in gear to back out of my brother’s driveway, gave it some gas and the Mini died. And wouldn’t start again.

We went through the checklist until we found the carbs weren’t getting any fuel, then focused on that problem with little luck. One of us talked the other into taking a break until there was more light to work by and I went back to bed for more sleep while Jim researched the problem. When I woke, he was working on the fuel pump, trying to resolve a vapor lock issue.

Erick and I visited while Jim got the car running again, then we said our goodbyes and Jim and I got on the road leaving Long Island a little before 10.

Traffic wasn’t as bad as we anticipated and we made good time to the Verrazano Narrows Bridge to Staten Island. But while getting in line to pay tolls, we mistakenly entered one for the access road rather than one that would route us onto the interstate. This turned out for the best as we missed a huge mess of traffic and got to see (and sniff) local parts of Staten up close.

We made it to I-95 without much trouble, enjoyed our quick progress along the Turnpike and had only one other detour while trying to avoid a tunnel toll in Baltimore, which again resulted in a nice, close-up tour of downtown Baltimore.

We began to hit traffic just north of DC (as I’m sure everyone does). I navigated as best I could to help avoid some of it, but did little to get us out of it before rush hour started. Still, we moved along pretty well and didn’t come to stand-still traffic until south of DC near Dale City.

Sitting in the stop-and-go traffic was bad for us, but worse for the car. The engine started making noise whenever Jim tried give it gas while in gear and there was no exit in sight (though the access road was literally right next to us, blocked only by a k rail barrier).

Jim pulled over on the big shoulder, checked the car and determined this wasn’t anything that could be fixed road-side, so we called the insurance to have a tow truck pick us up. Unfortunately, he didn’t arrive until about an hour and a half after his ETA. Oh, well.

He gingerly loaded up the Mini and drove us all the way to my aunt’s house in Bumpass, VA (surely you remember that town by now), fifty-some-odd miles past what insurance would cover, but it was worth it! We were so thankful to be among welcoming family members rather than stuck in the city on the side of the interstate.

We rolled in around 9:30, *moments* before my aunt’s family pulled into the driveway from their long evening at VBS. (Our conversation with the tow truck driver was, “It should be right around here some where. This one? No. Maybe that one. No. Oh! That one where the van is pulling in!”) So all of us were there to watch the unloading of the car and my littlest cousin even got to steer the Mini while the rest of us pushed it into what is becoming its reserved parking spot at their house.

We were thankful to shower and sleep soundly that night, grateful to have a comforting place to work out our new troubles. I couldn’t ask for better family.

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