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I Drive a Battlestar -- Cars and Road Trips


Does anyone out there have any favorite stories or horror stories about their cars and being on the road.  Any really special cars you associate with road stories? 

My Battlestar--like the famous one--everyone thinks should be decommissioned.  It's a 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme.  I inherited it from my mother in 2001 with only 33 thousand miles, and it was garage-kept.  I was driving back to North of Pittsburgh in late August 2007 from my daughter's just north of Richmond VA.  It was around 3:30 in the afternoon, beautiful and sunny.  I was ready to pull into the Sidling Hill visitor center on I 68 East.  I pulled in and turned the ignition off and felt a "Whoomph."  All of a sudden steam started pouring out from all sides of my hood.  I felt that horrified, stunned, I want to cry feeling. 
The people at the Visitor Center were very nice and helpful and gave me phone numbers and let me use their phone.  It was hard to find someone because it was a Sunday, but finally I found a man from Tri-State Towing in Hancock Maryland.  He and his son drove to the visitor center to look at my car.  The bottom radiator hose had broken because my thermostat had gone bad.  This man from Hancock went home, found a hose and made it fit.  Did the work at the Visitor center and only charged me $40.00 for almost four hours of work.  I will never forget he and his son--two of the most pleasant people I've ever met.  He told me to drive to Cumberland to Auto Zone and have a new thermostat put in.  By the time I got to Cumberland, Auto Zone was closing.  It was about a half-hour before twilight and the girl from Auto Zone said my engine was really hot and she doubted that I'd make it back to Pittsburgh.  So I drove--a half hour at a time then stopped for an hour or a half hour--I was going to get me and my car home.  I was so scared.  I had my car checked and serviced before the trip and the mechanic overlooked a frayed alternator belt also. 
What was scary turned out to be one of the most beautiful and memorable trips taken.  I'd never driven all night.  It took me from 7:00 evening to 6:30 morning to get home because I stopped so often to try to let my car cool down.  At the Welcome Center on I 79 North some guy jammed my thermostat open and said I'd make it home.  He said it was doubtful that I'd  have made it home otherwise. 

It was a balmy summer night, and I remember the night wind blowing through my open window--was scared to use my air.  I remember the cricket sounds or whatever insect sounds gave feel and meaning to the night -- how they'd get louder as I slowed down to stop and find some closed convenience store to park by with my windows up and car locked for the hour or half-hour I waited--scared police would drive by and think me suspicious or that something worse would drive by.  Getting out to check my radiator after waiting over half an hour in the middle of some dark nowhere.  It was usually a half-hour at convenience places and an hour at the two welcome centers--West Virginia and PA.

I made it home and am still driving my Battlestar.  I have more stories but would really love to hear some others.

That was a really good story, thanks for sharing that.  :coffee:

I blew an engine years ago on the side of Interstate 85 northeast of Opelika in ten-year old car. It was an experience I'd rather forget, but had some interesting sidebars as your story did. Two tow truck drivers showing up with open beers in their hand, riding on the back of a flatbed towtruck in my car because they could not accommodate two passengers in the cab, having to unload a car load of material in the hotel lobby the following day and wait out my brother to pick me up from 250 miles away. Yah, fun stuff...

By Battlestar are you referring to the spaceship in your naming reference? I <3 the show.

I wish I drove a Battlestar   :-D

(Sorry... I couldn't help it!)

Interesting story though... It happens to the best of us!   :-P

When I set out to drive every mile of state highway in Washington, I quickly realized I didn't have a car. Without much money I bought a 1990 Dodge Colt with a rolled back odometer and no alternator for $400, intending to drive it back and forth across the state constantly.

Many people called me insane, but I put a couple hundred more bucks into it to seal a transmission leak, put in an alternator, and put headlights in it, and the thing worked great. I put 5,000 miles on it over the course of a couple months, driving it back and forth over the mountain passes. I left the car in Seattle and returned home to Idaho over the summer where I got my Jeep Liberty, but I held onto the Colt afterwards. I used the Jeep for my long haul drives and the Colt just to cruise around Seattle/Tacoma.

Anyway, when gas was $4 a gallon a few months ago and I needed to head out to E. Washington to cruise over the North Cascades Pass and back, I decided I'd take the Colt because 40 MPG>20 MPG.

So I took it out and it ran fine, I got to Winthrop and prepared to turn around, and as I was heading west near Concrete I overheated. I realized I could quickly fix it with a new belt, so I pushed the car to the side of the road, wrote a note on it, and hitchhiked into Sedro-Woolley where I got the necessary belt and hitchhiked back and replaced the belt and drove home. The problem is that by this point it was dark and pouring rain and it made my evening not be very much fun.

When I moved from Seattle to Wyoming I realized I couldn't take two cars, so I turned around and sold that Colt for $900, 20,000 miles later. Given the $500 I made on it, the $400 I on parts I spent on it (all above + belt and I got a CD player eventually- beyond that just oil for oil changes), my total cost to drive it with insurance and gas ended up being about 12 cents a mile. Great car that was. 


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