Next thing you know...Saturday....starting 7:30 am, the amateur radio event (it's like a flea market of electronic junk) got started and got rained on all morning ...good news we all set up in a cattle barn ...for the most part business as usual.
SO FAR...SO GOOD
About 5 o'clock...it's all over, all packed up and time to head home. My friend packed up a little early and was about 30 minutes a head of me. I told him I'd try to get up with down the road for supper break.
FRIENDS SHOULD PROBABLY TRAVEL IN SAME VEHICLE!...
Got through Asheville ok and then down Black Mtn... noticed my van engine was starting to cut out when I gased it. Got to Marion and the engine conked out. Called my friend on his cell...he back tracked about 30 miles to help me figure out what's wrong.
When he finally got back we decided we need to use his truck and a tow strap to get me off the road and to the next exit so we could work and not get run over...good move on our part...cars whizzing within a few feet of the van.
WHAT'S THAT SMELL?
That went ok except I scorched the brakes a little riding them to keep the tension on the strap...I was real nervous... Finally got off to a parking lot...we checked everything and deduced I had a bad alternator.
"Lord, what in the world should I do...it's Saturday night and most mechanics don't work again till Monday."
Called Triple A and went through about an hour of back and forth with them on what to do. Towing 120 miles seemed a little riduclous and could get expensive even though they would take care of a lot of it.
"HONEY, I SHRUNK THE ALTERNATOR"
Called wife and told her of my predicament...then went to the sagebrush reastaurant nearby to chow waiting for the AAA wrecker...
HARD TO ENJOY SUPPER LOOKING OUT THE WINDOW EVERY SECOND!
Getting dark...a little before 9...my eyes fixed on the window view...wrecker arrives and says if we can determine what kind of alternator I need and get to the parts store real fast he can put it on and get me on my way...
ALMOST TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE
I thought it might turn out to be a $500 job under these circumstances but I said let's go for it. Got in the tow truck and rode about 8 miles to a somewhat remote totally dark, dead end street.
RELIEVED TO FINALLY SEE A GARAGE BUILDING!
We finally got there and it was a real garage...another guy met us with the new alternator. Seemed like everything was ok so my friend decided to head on home in his truck.
DON'T WAIT UP
Called wife and told her all was going well and I would be really late getting home. She cheered me up...good mates do that.
TIP HIM! R U KIDDING!
By 11 o'clock the new alternator was on and I was waiting for the bill.
I was going to pay with my credit card... but I really felt led to give him a $20 dollar bill as a tip...
Then I thought he'll probaly overcharge me anyway, why should I add to insult to my misery. But It was a very strong leading..."Give him $20, not a dollar less or more, even if the bill is obviously ridiculously high and you feel totally ripped off!" OUCH!
OK...OK...I'LL DO IT!
Bill total: $290...gave him the extra $20...thanked him....drove away happy and blessed.
MAN...STILL PLAYING CATCH UP!
Funny thing...caught up with my friend before getting back into Winston and passed him and waved right before he got off his exit! (I did the speed limit).
Got home about 1:30 am, took a shower and hit the sack.
BUT THAT'S STILL NOT THE END OF THE STORY...