Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Long Day's Journey into Night

I had one hell of a weekend.

On Friday, I took the day to drive up to Portland to see my parent's, as well as Papa who is visiting for the week while Aunt Jan and her family are in Cancun. I had a nice visit with the folks in Maine. We didn't do much, really, but it was very familiar and pleasant. I hadn't seen Papa in a while, so that was a especially welcome.

On Saturday, I stuck around 'till lunch then drove for Boston. The plan was to stow Stella at the Wonderland T station overnight, stay at Ryan's, then visit Tyson's parents and pick up the boat he is giving me on Sunday. I'd get a head start on the drive back, and be home Monday night, with plenty of time to spare.

As Moltke said, no plans survive contact with the enemy.

On the drive to Boston, I started hearing a rhythmic thumping. It became worse, and developed a squealing, frictional background. I did some tests (coasting in neutral, braking, etc), to try to divine the problem. Based on the noise and the apparent direction of the source, I suspected something to do with the front wheels or axle.

I get to Wonderland and found out they tow if you park overnight. So I drove, with Ryan's navigational assistance over the phone, to Alewife. I T in to his house, and we I join Ryan and Chris for a night of dim sum, video games, and catching up. It was good.

On Sunday, we started calling around for mechanics, but were shocked to find no one open on the Sunday of a long weekend. What happened to the American work ethic? Even AAA was no help. So we spent the day seeing Ryan's office at BC, emailing my supervisors to let them know I would be a day late getting back to work, and visting Beth at Brigham and Women's Hospital. We even got to watch Beth take blood samples from a sleep study subject.

Memorial Day we actually found an open repair shop near Alewife. Ryan and Chris were good enough to come with me, so I wouldn't be stuck by myself all day while it was fixed. It was hot, with blazing sunlight. We hid in a movie theater, seeing the matinee of X-Men III. Meh. Then we had something like a 2 1/2 hour lunch while we waited for the car to be done.

Turns out I wasn't quite right. Chris was closer - he suspected a CV joint. It was the left front hub - the one or more of the bearings wore out. So, one $300 used hub later, we're on our way. I dropped of the brothers at Ryan's and said my goodbyes. I made it to Tyson's parents at about 5, and they were extremely helpful getting me on my way with all the boat's equipment. They even packed me a dinner!

I was on the road by 7 PM, and ended up driving straight through the night. I took regular breaks to take naps, and let the trailer tires cool. I got home at about 5:30. Definitely not bothering with work.

At first, I was disappointed in my weekend. Plenty of bad luck, uncomfortable weather, and now I'm tired and it's still too hot. But in a lot of way's, I was very fortunate this weekend. I got to be in Portland while Papa was visiting, which was lucky. My car had a mechanical failure, but close to family so I had a place to stay. It was hard to find a repair shop, but the wait let me spend extra time with my brothers. The mechanic was close to the Alewife station, and he had a used hub on hand at a cheaper price to effect the repairs. Tyson's folks were incredibly helpful getting me everything I needed, including dinner and directions. They even offered their spare bedroom if I wanted it. And since I had stayed up late the previous two days screwing around, I was able to stay up and make it back to Alexandria in one shot. So, yeah, I'm hot and tired and out $300, but it was still a damn fine weekend.

An Odd Building in Portland; the brick and clapboard facades are part of the same building - the second story is rotated about 30 degrees off from the ground floor

Chris, Dan, and Ryan, waiting for T to Alewife

Everyone, meet Pegasus Posted by Picasa


Kelly said...

Sounds like you had an interesting trip! But at least you got your boat home safely! When are you going sailing??

Shadetree said...

I just want to go on record, the first possibility I brought up was a wheel bearing (hub), and conceived that it could also be a CV joint or an inner driver. You may have been in a pessimistic mood (difficult to avoid when your Saab is out-of-sorts) and were convinced that it was a CV joint or worse. I'm still a little surprised that the hub went from "noiseless" to "needs replacement ASAP" as quickly as it did (within 100 miles), but whatever. About 1/3 to 1/2 of that price was labor, BTW.

Congrats on making the whole drive in one shot. I find it difficult to stop driving once I get going - just feel like you can make it a little farther, a little farther, and seven hours later...

So can you fit Pegasus into your garage? Are you keeping the name or re-christening? Will you rig the sail on your street to set it all up before you take it out on the water?