Weekend amusements…

Ah weekend trips. They can be such…fun.This last weekend (Saturday, to be precise) we were heading off to Oak Glen to pick up something we had ordered at a small shop there. Oak Glen is basically a tiny town intertwined between apple orchards – historic ones – about seventy miles away from Pasadena…or about an hour and a half if you take it leisurely. It used to be quite isolated when my parents brought me there as a kid, but now the town of Yucaipa – just off the freeway and south of Oak Glen, which was about two-thousand people back then in farmland – has grown to more like forty-five thousand and newly built retirement condos and housing developments are filling in the empty between it and Oak Glen itself. Sorta depressing.

Anywho, we’d gotten a later than I wanted start that afternoon – which is of course, normal – but by 2:15 we’d done sixty-five of the seventy miles and were on the final stretch up from the freeway to Oak Glen itself when we came upon a road block by a couple of police cars. Obviously, something was happening ahead, so like everyone else on the road I slowed to a stop, pushing in the clutch to take it out of gear…

…and the clutch pedal went straight to the floor.

After pumping it a couple of times to assure myself that – yes – it was no longer doing anything with the clutch, I realized that the clutch cable must have broken (experience talking there: this is not my first rodeo…). I flicked on the blinkers and – using the slope of the road – rolled it over to park by the curb…

…then I called Auto Club for a tow. They said a truck would be there “in thirty-five minutes” – or about three-o-clock by that time.

They in turn called a local towing place who called me back (sometimes, I just love cellphones…) asking where I wanted to go. I said “Pasadena” (which I can do, since my Auto Club membership’s good for hundred mile free tows). They suggested a local garage instead…but then demurred when I asked “can you assure me they’ll have it fixed today.”

Surprisingly, we did not want to spend the night in Yucaipa.

Anywho, they went “well, maybe we better arrange for tow to Pasadena then.” I said fine and we both hung up.

Somewhere around quarter of three – with (we thought) about fifteen minutes till the truck arrived – Auto Club’s automated system called us and let us know the “truck will be arriving by four-oh-five…”


Note that we’re sitting by the side of the road, in a no parking area as it’s on a curve, basically amusing ourselves by guessing if any of the big SUVs coming around it at fifty mph will hit us. There’s a housing development on one side of us and a big arroyo on the other. The nearest stores, fast food, etc., are about a mile and a half back down the road. Oh, and I’ve had a super big gulp and thus could really use a bathroom by now.

So “three” becomes “four (oh-five)” and instead of fifteen minutes to wait, we now have an hour and twenty. I consider walking back down the road to hit a fast food place or something (we were going to eat in Oak Glen), but am not that clear on just how far “back down the road” is and I don’t want to risk being in route somewhere when the tow-truck comes.

So we sit and wait…and wait…and wait…

Around 4:15 – with no truck in sight – I call Auto Club again to basically ask “why?” They inform me that the first company they called couldn’t do it, so that they had to call another and the truck would be there “by 4:58.”


Note that it’s getting dark by now – and now the SUV’s are whizzing around us in the gathering twilight. Dee Dee at least had a book with her to read during this time, but by now I’ve been reduced to assembling the new cat box we’d bought before we headed out here…a process which is excitement personified and nearly lasts three minutes. Note also that – had we known – we would have had loads of time to walk down to stores and stuff and then walk back to the car long before the truck would arrive. But that now – once again – we are just short of having enough time to do that, so we’re stuck.

Finally at about 5:10 (and just shy of me calling Auto Club again) I get a call that the truck is “looking for us” – because he’s been given rather vague directions. We clarify them and two minutes later, he’s starting the process of pulling the car up onto the truck for the trip home.

That takes a while – as does the drive back – so it’s two tired, hungry (and in need of a bathroom) people waiting at 7:00 in my mechanics parking lot (closed by now, of course) for Dee Dee’s son to pick us up for the final two miles back to home.

Note that it’s Saturday night. The garage won’t be open Sunday, of course, so I’ll have to go down Monday morning and give them the keys so they can look at the car. The car itself won’t be done until 2:30 on Monday – long after I’ve gone to work – so I need a ride to and from that too. Heck, there were things I wanted to do this weekend…but they all had “driving to (here)” as one of their components. Instead, I’m out $120 bucks for a new clutch cable (and I just replaced the thing a year and a half ago!), with pretty much nothing on my “to do” list for the weekend done.

And we never did get to the shop in Oak Glen…


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