I think I'll have it made into a bumper sticker: I Survived The Drive From Hell. Thursday morning I left the house at 6:30 AM and pointed the car north toward Ohio. The first two hours were easy-peasy. Coffee, music, and 65 mph.
Once I hit the mountains in VA though, things changed. Snow flurries were constant and road conditions alternated between wet, slushy, and blowing snow. The outside temperature dropped from 28 to 16 in about a six mile range, and my windshield wiper fluid froze. This left me having to get behind semi's, relying on flying snow from their wheels to hit my windshield enough that I could run the wipers and see where I was going. I pretty much sat clenched and shallow breathing behind the wheel for 3 hours. (Although when I dared risk a glance to my right or left, the scenery was STUNNING. It looked like a pristine winter wonderland.)
To add insult to injury, once I hit Charleston the "CHECK" engine light came on in my car. It wasn't the check oil or check engine, but instead a funky symbol I'd never seen that looked something like a TV camera. I pulled out the manual. The little symbol said, "Take immediately to dealership."
Great. I kept my eyes peeled for a Toyota dealership and found one an hour outside Charleston. I waited for 30 minutes and then they said it may be the alternator, but first they'd try to do something else b/c they may have to order a part. It would be at least an hour and a half wait before they could start work on my car.
CRAP. I asked to get my laptop out of the backseat and am SOOOO grateful I did. Some kid had diagnosed my car but when I went back there, a senior manager pulled the paperwork.
"No, no no," he said. "We don't need to do all this. This is a waste of money."
Turns out there's just something off where the car's computer isn't correctly reading emissions output. It needs fixed, but is nothing that I can't drive around with for quite a while.
Bless this man. I paid my $50, hopped in my car, and left. I still had 3 hours left in the drive, but I was actually in a great mood, considering I thought I was going to be stuck for hours at this Toyota dealership.
So I'm here in Ohio. My concern now is getting back. Snow is forecasted for all stretches of the trip from Saturday through Wednesday. I can't be here that long! Too much work to do. So regardless of weather, I plan to climb into the car early Sunday morning and slowly, slowly, inch my way home.
I really didn't think this trip through. But it's wonderful to be here with my best friend and I'm glad I have the sort of flexible schedule that allows me the luxury of being here. I just hope I'm allowed the luxury of going back home. =)