Thursday, October 29, 2015

Alternatively Exhausted

Wednesday, October 21, 2015, 11:36 AM

What follows being Part IV of a Racer's Final(s) Diary

For nearly three hours I have been watching the slow drop in voltage showing on the gauge.  From 13 to 12 to 11 and now to 10 volts, I know there is a problem.  The closed fist to the top of the dashboard did nothing to move the steadily downward creeping needle in the other direction.  A quick sojourn at a trucker's only rest area that reeked of urine revealed nothing amiss with the serpentine belt.  I know that leaves basically the battery, the alternator or the connections between.  My gut tells me alternator.  At this point it doesn't matter, if the battery is losing voltage, in the very near future the ignition will cease to function and I will be truly dead in the water, looking at not only the cost of repairs, but towing my carcass from the highway.  My heart began to quail at the possibilities.

Determined not to become the roadkill victim of a tow jock's exorbitant pricing, I lumber on down the road, knowing I must find an Advance or Autozone before the battery reaches terminal stasis.  These places are generally not visible from the interstate, so I exit somewhere about 50 miles out of Knoxville, TN and begin my Grail search.  The first few miles take me from gas stations and hotels to utter, rural oblivion (cue Dueling Banjos).  It is becoming readily apparent that I might have to commit an act that could potentially get my Man Card revoked, I am going to have to stop for <gasp!> directions....

Without fail I get a woman at the gas station whose first and quite possibly even second language is not English.  The words "auto parts store" bring only a blank look with head cocked in canine confusion.  I say, "Advance.", and "Autozone", hum a few bars of "get in the zone" and finally the light-bulb comes on.  Without a word she points in a direction that is utterly unclear, somewhere between west and straight up.  A few hand gestures later I have a less muddy picture of where to go and hop back in the van which I left running in the parking lot hoping no one would steal it.  No one did.

This is the last ditch attempt to make it anywhere before the vehicle stalls for good.  I say a little prayer to a god I long ago stopped believing in and shortly thereafter I am answered.......

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