Monday, September 12, 2011

Pretty butch for a girly girl

I have continued to have long work weeks, and this one was not exception, with an obligation for a big chunk of my Saturday. It was fine.  A work thing I knew I had to take care of, tut, tut carry on and all of that, except, I was really tired of everything, of obligations and coming home to a dirty house and feeling like a slave to everything and everyone in my life.
So I decided to take off for the day, early on Sunday. 
I put gas in the car, bought food for a picnic and packed sunscreen for Freyja and me, invited a friend to come along (Mark had his own obligation to help his sister move) and off we went to Silverfalls state park which looked really ideal on paper.
I was after a good swimming spot, and the waterfalls felt like a bonus, and extra added feature.
When we arrived, after the hour and half drive, I discovered that the park is very developed, and that the swimming area, contrary to what the lady on the phone told me is very, very shallow.
A wading spot really, only about up to my waist at the deepest part.
I was very annoyed by this, since I had specifically phoned ahead, as this same thing happened to me at Blue Lake Park (are people in Oregon a bunch of sissies when it comes to swimming?) I wanted a deep, cold pool of water that I could swim in damn it, and tow Freyja around in her life vest.
I don't want some wimpy lukewarm mudhole up to my knees.
The waterfall hike was lovely, though.
We did the shorter option that is 2.5 miles, the first half pretty simple and downhill, the second mile is a doozy, up a very steep incline.
The whole loop is 7.5 miles, which was just too much for me and Bootiful Princess.
All and all we had a pretty nice time, although she was hyper as all get out.
We headed home around 5:00pm, stopping in the cute little town of Silverton for dinner at a Mexican place.  We had some fine enchiladas and went back to the car, only to discover that it was completely dead. 
No lights had been left on, no doors ajar, not apparent reason for the deadness, just dead.
This puts us at 6:15pm in a tiny, little town on a Sunday evening, no gas station in sight.
Luckily there was a tavern across the street with two old men drinking outside, and I went over and asked them for a jump.
They sauntered over and they went off, one to get jumper cables, and the other to bring his truck around.
My car started right up and we were off, for about five miles, before it died, going up a hill. 
I was able to coast backward off to the side of the road and out of traffic. 
Pretty soon a sweet old guy in a pick up stopped and asked if I needed help, which I did, and he offered to go to his house outside of town and get jumper cables and give me another jump.
He came back about a half hour later and once again the car started up and we were off, this time with no air conditioning or radio.
It was very HOT, and I was pretty freaking stressed out, but the fellow told me that if it stopped again, to call him and he would come and pick us up and we could tow the car to his farm.
He didn't appear to be a serial killer, so I thought it was a good option to have, just in case.  
I have no cell phone,  and my friend's phone was dying, so the calling part would have been a little tricky, but I liked the notion of options.
We needed to go about 45 miles to get home and we were burning some serious daylight by that point, so I was driving really fast and hoping very hard for no red lights, and that I would not somehow accidentally stall out.  
It all went pretty well, with only a tiny bit of nail biting when we got behind a slow moving minivan, going through Mulino, I was driving in second gear, terrified of having to come to a complete stop.

I was praying for enough daylight to NOT have the automatic headlight feature turn the headlights on, but they switched on as we passed through Oregon City.  
The freeway was the scariest part, as the sun was really going down fast and the  had lights come on, which I knew would use up the battery.
I was praying not to have the car go dead on the freeway, I was really betting on my good luck on that one.  Probably foolish, but I had a good feeling we would make it.  
We got all the way off 205 and onto the off ramp of Powell and 92nd, about two miles from home, when it died again.
This time a sweet man in a souped up Honda pulled onto the median and gave us another jump and said he was a mechanic and that I should phone him.
I didn't have anything to write with and I had to zip off, to get out of the way of oncoming traffic.
I didn't want to be runover that close to Powell.  
This time we made it all the way to 74th, just 22 blocks from home, and I was able to coast into the parking lot of an acupuncture clinic, we couldn't roll up the automatic windows, so Freyja and I stayed with the car and our stuff, and our friend walked home and got Mark to call a tow truck and come back and get us.
I and all the folks that helped me were convinced that it must be the alternator, but the mechanic swears it was just the battery, just completely spent.
It was 6 years old, so I suppose it could happen.
I drove it home reluctantly with only a new battery.
I told him, "if this dies on me, I am going to kill you." and laughed, but I was only sort of joking.


  1. see, you just get your battery from bi-mart where you have a membership (don't you??) and then if it turns out to be the alternator anyway, then you just return the battery and tell them it was a lemon.

    is that unethical?

    i always try the battery (cheap) solution first.

  2. So glad you didn't have to spring for a new alternator!