Best Worst Day, Pt 1

Lately, it seems as if the universe was malevolently conspiring to keep Jaime and I apart. We haven’t seen much of one another as work and other personal commitments have kept us apart. It was really starting to wear us down.

Hoping to makeup for lost time with one another, we had a nice lunch together on Saturday, ran some errands and then watched “X-Men: First Class”. We were both pleasantly entertained.

Afterwards, we drove home with the thought of taking a short road trip. We went home, changed clothes and took the top off of the Lotus. It was about 7:30pm as well pulled out of our neighborhood.

Driving across the Tail of the Dragon from Tennessee to North Carolina, we had planned to enjoy the sunset, have a nice fun drive, eat dinner in Cherokee, then head home through Gatlinburg and back to Maryville.

After coming down the mountain and passing through Robbinsville, about 7 miles east of Bryson City, I noticed the oil light appear on the dash. I turned off the stereo in a panic and noticed the horrible noise coming from the engine. The sound my my stomach turn. As I pulled over on the side of the highway, the engine light came on.

In the absolute middle of nowhere, with barely any phone signal, no illumination of any kind except for lights creeping out the windows of a few homes in the area, I didn’t know what to do. Jaime and I walked to several homes to ask for help – a least some oil. I had no idea what the problem was, but the the dipstick demonstrated the engine was bone dry.

One old man wearing an oxygen canula opened the door but had nothing to offer us. Several other homes had people at home, but they wouldn’t answer the door even though they were. One went so far as to leave their flashlight on their front porch – still turned on – as they retreated back into their home so quickly.

Despaired, we walked back to the car. I was able to get a brief dint of phone signal and called a BP Gas station that appeared on my phone’s GPS. We had been on the side of the road for over an hour and it was now 5 minutes untill 10:00pm. The station attendant answered. I explained my predicament and she said she would send her husband with four quarts of oil.

Dozen of cars had passed us on this empty road and none even gave us a second glance. About 10:30pm, a Ford Edge stopped and two young men offered help. Finally! At least they had flashlights which was the first illumination we’d had since leaving the last front porch. About this time, the station attendant’s husband arrived with the oil.

I was hoping there was a simple leak that I had failed to notice and that oil would at least get me somewhere that I could evaluate my options. After pouring in 3 quarts, I started the car to see if the engine noise would be supressed. Much to my chagrin, the young men immediately yelled for me to kill the engine. They were standing at the front passenger side when the car started spraying oil everywhere.

I took their flashlight and looked into the small grille under the passenger parking lamp andf noticed what looked like an oil cooler hose completely separated from its crimp.

The young men were no help to find a tow because they were from out of town. The older man, that had lived there all his life, was no help either. I found a spot to call back home to a friend. He worked for about an hour until he found a tow operator that would come get us.

The young men left us to get us something to drink. As a testimony to their kindness and how far out in the middle of nowhere we were, it took them about 45 minutes to return. Not only did they provide us drinks, but chocolate as well! They kept us company until the tow arrived.

This made us feel better because during the time we sat there in the pitch black staring at the beautiful starlit sky, not a single person stopped to help.