A trip to my mother-in-law’s place is always a little dicey, at least during the winter months. It’s a three-hour trek on a perfect day – an hour of freeway driving down to and around Denver, then an hour of winding mountain road to the top of 10,000 foot Kenosha Pass, and then another hour across the beautiful desolation of South Park, a thousand square-miles of high, flat grassland tucked amongst the peaks.
That three hours doesn’t account for accident or construction cock-ups on the interstate, getting caught behind slow-moving trucks on the two-lane stretches or, this time of year, snow. The mountain passes are routinely shut down when blizzards roll through, and the relentless winds in South Park can whip even the slightest amount of powdery precip into whiteout conditions pretty quickly. We’ve had many a white-knuckle trip, and even been shut down completely due to the weather.
But this time, everything was going great. It was a mild, sunny day, with highs expected to hit sixty degrees, and we blew through Denver without me ever having to take my foot off the gas (which never happens). Should have known better. There in the vastness of South Park the car started to puke, sputtering and coughing, barely able to maintain school-zone speeds, to the delight of those behind us.
We limped into Fairplay, with 700 residents the largest metroplex in a fifty-mile radius. For some context, the main attraction in Fairplay is the gold-rush era mine tailings piled on the outskirts of town. Fairplay is where old pickup trucks and construction equipment go to die, rusting in forlorn splendor in back yards and vacant lots. It was here we coasted to a stop at the local Sinclair station.
This being a Saturday, the lone auto repair facility was closed, of course. Now the dilemma – logistically, it made more sense to try and get the car to Buena Vista, our original destination, where there were not only more mechanics available, but also a vehicle we could borrow from the MIL for the ride home. I have road service. How much could it be for a 35-mile tow?
Well, $345 to be precise, with only a hundred of that covered by my insurance policy. Was I okay with eating the balance, the Allstate customer service rep in Bangladesh wanted to know. No, but I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life at the Sinclair station in Fairplay, either – the bathrooms lack a certain hygienic quality, and I’m not sure how long one’s colon could hold out when confronted with a diet of only Doritos and those hot dogs forever spinning on that heated roller thing.
One of these days I’ll learn that sarcasm doesn’t translate well with those for whom English is not their first language.
Also, the Allstate app I used to summon a tow truck kept referring to the driver as my ‘rescuer,’ as if I was dangling from the seat belt in my overturned vehicle while bleeding from a head wound, or slowly sinking into an icy lake. Good thing neither of those scenarios were in play, as the nearest rescuer still took three hours to arrive on scene.
But all’s well that ends well. We had no problems with the loaner on the drive home. And only a week earlier we sold some used furniture for $250, so I guess it’s a case of ‘Easy come, easy go.’ Hell, I’m actually five bucks to the good. At least until the repair bill rolls in.
Anyone want to buy a couch?