12 June 2005

A slight change in plans

We left Peoria in the morning and arrived at our stop in Illinois, just across from St Louis Missouri. We had a great time meeting a new family and having a travel break before the last leg home.
Although they had four girls and a new baby on the way, the boys were happy as they had light sabers!
We left and decided to push on home. The thought of our own beds and going to Mass locally was very appealing.
We had gotten as far as 20 miles out of Chattanooga, near stop 143 on I24, at about 10:30pm when there was a pop and the sound of burning rubber. I still had control of the car so I knew it wasn't the tires. I exited off the next ramp less than 1 mile away and went to the gas station and fireworks store we noticed in our September trip last time. As I went up the ramp the power steering failed and we barely coasted to a stop in front of the shop.
Under the bonnet/hood was a badly melted accessory belt, with melted rubber splattered everywhere, and traces of smoke. Later we learned that the accessory belt connects the power steering, battery, air conditioning and engine cooling.
And if it hadn't snapped it may have caught on fire.
And we had just passed through some very heavy rainfall, but now it was dry.
And if it was any further from a rest stop we wouldn't have made it.
It could have been worse.
But now we had to co-ordinate a few things. I called AAA (being very glad I was a member) who arranged for a tow. But the tow truck could only be paid in cash. Anything over 5 miles away was charged at $2.50 a mile. We did not have enough cash. Also, we had 8 people to get to a hotel somewhere. And it was now after 11:00pm on a Saturday night.

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