Monday, July 20, 2009

The joys of out of town travel

I went out of town this past week for a business meeting. I left Wednesday afternoon because it was a five hour drive to Manhattan (KS, not NY) and I really wanted to have time to find the hotel, relax, find the meeting location, etc. I've been to Manhattan...4 times in my life, so I'm not familiar at all with the town.

I got to town around 5 p.m. Got checked into the hotel, and thought about supper.

I wasn't really hungry, but wanted to physically move around. I walked around, but quickly noticed that there wasn't anywhere to eat near my hotel. So, shortly after 6, I got back into the very nice 2008 Chevy car and drove down Tuttle Creek Blvd to see what sounded good for supper.

Saw a Dairy Queen, so decided that some ice cream would just hit the spot. You know, something light and healthy for a blizzard. I placed my order and returned to the car to go back to the hotel.

Except the car wouldn't come out of park. I turned the steering wheel, thinking that it was just locked since the tires weren't square. Still wouldn't come out of park. So I messed around, trying various things to see if I could get it to shift.


So, being the kind of person I am, I got the car manual out and read it. I found a paragraph that said...if you park this stupid car on an incline and don't set the parking brake, you can put torque on the transmission and it won't shift out of park. To fix this, have someone push your car to release that torque, and you should be ok....

Well, I'd parked on a slight incline, like a bump. So, maybe that was the problem.

But, I didn't know anyone in Manhattan. So, I went back inside the DQ and a couple of guys working there volunteered to push the car to see if we could get it fixed.

We couldn't.

Finally, I remembered that I had the phone number of one of the librarians in town. Called her. She wasn't home.

So, I ran across Tuttle Creek Blvd (5 lanes of traffic) and two blocks down to a Firestone dealership which was open.

But, only one person was on duty, so no one there could help.

I ran back across Tuttle Creek Blvd which provided me with plenty of exercise, but not any solution to my problem. In fact, I broke my shoe running back across the street. (Thank god for long toes which kept my flip flop under my foot while I ran across the street.)

At this point, D, the librarian, called me back. She knew someone who might be able to help, and they arrived a little while later.

We pushed the car, but still no luck. We even called a couple of mechanics that D knew, and they all said, "yep, that should take care of it."

By this time, I decided I'd had enough. D took me to the hotel for the night.

I called the "head of college cars" and got permission to have the car towed and repaired. The next morning, after a less than restful night, I called a tow truck, had the car towed to the shop.

The tow truck driver even picked me up at the hotel so I could talk to the dealership and the mechanics.

Another librarian, who happened to be staying at the same hotel, let me bum a ride with her to our meeting, and back to get the car that night.

The best wasn't my fault! There was a broken wire in the...something...that kept the car from shifting. Second best part...I had a school VISA, so I could simply charge the repair bill instead of having to pay for it myself and then get reimbursed. Third best part...I get to buy myself a new pair of shoes to replace the ones that broke. (The third best part is my personal favorite.)

But, for the rest of my trip, I made sure I parked on level ground, just in case it was my fault...

And, hey, I now can say that I know Manhattan a letter better now. I actually know where Tuttle Creek Blvd is, and which direction it runs. I actually know where the Firestone place is, and I know where the Hampton Inn is, and I know where the Chevy dealership is! Somewhere, in that town resides KSU. But I don't know anything about that part of town; I'm saving that for the next trip.

But I don't think that I'll go to DQ next time. DQ is dangerous for my waistline and for my car.

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