Friday, July 16, 2010

Bad month for breakdowns

Well sometimes you just can't win for trying. A few weeks ago my cousin was married in Rexburg, ID. The morning before the wedding I climbed into Leo, my trusty Saab 9000. I didn't make it 1/4 mile from my house before the car lost power. I limped it home, cursed a few times (Under my breath if memory serves me right...and since I was alone that's the story we're sticking to), popped the hood...tapped on some stuff, disconnected some stuff, reconnected some stuff, and tried again. Mercifully the second time Leo fired up and I drove cautiously towards Salt Lake. I didn't make it. As I got to downtown Salt Lake my car stalled and I coasted off the freeway and called a tow truck. Bummer that I ended up towing; but the good news is that the tow was only 2 miles. Over the weekend I read horror stories on the Internet of failed engine computers and throttle bodies...repairs with $1,000 price tags; but when the mechanic called he had good news. A clogged fuel filter which he described as "probably original." yeah, after 17 years and 205,000 miles I think it probably was past time to replace that. So today. Today I joined my parents for a trip to Sun Valley, ID for my grandpas 76th birthday. Just outside of Snowville Utah catastrophe occurred as the worst case scenario unfolded. As we were climbing a hill at something like 85 MPH, my dad lost power and the red oil pressure light came on. This is a light you hope to never see, because by the time it comes on damage is usually already done. (A quick aside: My dad thought the car was overheating. This is much more serious. If you don't know what your oil light looks like, go look in your owners manual now. If it ever comes on SECONDS count and you need to get off the road and get the engine turned off ASAP. Go look. Don't delay.) Well you know it's a crappy situation, but for a catastrophe it could have been a lot worse. My aunt was headed up too and because of where she lives it wasn't too far out of her way to help us. We towed the car to Tremonten and left it with the towns best mechanic. My dad drives a Saab 9-5. It's HARDLY an exotic car, but it's times like these you sort of wish you were driving something a little more common rather than pulling in (or rather, towing in) something the Mechanic has probably never seen before. So there it sits. These cars had a glitch in the engine for a few years, my dads year included. They were prone to oil slugging that could eventually lead to oil starvation. We've put 80,000 absolutely trouble free miles on this car. I hope it turns out to be a minor issue, but with something as serious as an oil light...I'd be lying if I said I'm optimistic on this one. This post composed on the road from my iPhone, which is a pleasure to type on.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Getting out of Provo is about to get a bit more difficult...

The first few times I drove from Salt Lake to BYU, I followed the route you'd get from Google Maps, a GPS, or any other uninformed routing device: I exited at University Parkway and drove through Provo, past UVU and the University Mall. It's something like 13 stop lights and inevitably you catch more of them red than green.

Imagine my delight, nay, glee when I discovered I could get on and off I-15 at Center Street! It meant driving a little south before I went north (About 1/4 mile) but I could be on the freeway in half as many stop lights! Hurrah!

Well I-15 CORE has begun now...and unfortunately it looks like it will be done about the time I'm done with BYU. Yay for road construction becoming a permanent part of my college experience!

They're rebuilding the Center Street interchange, which for some reason is going to take 2 YEARS!!, and so I've spent the last few minutes deciphering what this means:

Weekend of July 10 -- You can get ON I-15 at Center Street, but to get off I-15 you'll need to exit at University Parkway (Southbound) or University Avenue (Northbound) because I-15 will actually be CLOSED at Center Street

July 14th on -- You can no longer get ON I-15 at Center Street. Best to go even further south and get on at University Avenue by Provo Town Center Mall (Which is awkwardly at the south end, not center, of Provo). You can get OFF I-15 at Center Street, but the beautiful Flyover will be gone, so you'll have to go through a signal. This is probably going to be a nightmare at peak times; fortunately, I'm always coming back to Provo in the middle of the night.

2013 -- We'll have a new interchange, more lanes, and Unicorns will make us Cheesecake on Saturday nights. I'll hopefully be done with BYU.