Tow Squared

We were driving back from Ormond Beach today after some fishing and a nice lunch at Greggs. We were west bound on 40 about a half mile east of 95 in nominally heavy traffic and I put on the brakes as we approached a traffic intersection. The brake pedal continued on to the floor as I pressed, stopping the truck ok but clearly failing. We were in a line of traffic with no option other than to procede on, virtually brakeless. The traffic was such that you could never really get any speed up so by using the gear shift, the clutch, and the emergency brake, I was able to get us safely to Walmart, a couple of hundred yards east of 95. We knew they had an auto center there. What we didn’t know was that they only did tires. I took this opportunity to figure out what the problem was – a ruptured brake line was my best guess and a roll under the truck proved that to be exactly the problem. So now we have to navigate that parking lot without crashing into anyone. Of course running stop signs all the way. We were told there was a Mobil station with a repair shop a few hundred yards west of the Interstate on 40. That meant some interesting navigating across lanes and thru a series of traffic lights to get to the garage. Not sure how, but we managed to make it – only to find that the guy was too busy to deal with us for a couple of days – that was unless we paid an added $100 to move to the head of the repair line. I think it’s illegal to punch a guy like that but I was fairly close. Instead we called AAA for a tow. The game plan was to find a local garage, a Goodyear place, and have the brakes repaired. A call there found that it was too late in the day and we’d have to leave the truck overnight and figure a way back home. Instead we opted to have AAA tow us to a local garage in Deland that we’d used before.

The tow truck eventually showed and we took off westbound on 40. We got a couple miles past SR 11 when the tow truck started whining and within a few minutes, jammed up totally. The transmission failed. The driver said he had been concerned about the noise the truck was making for a few days and called back to the base station for assistance. They sent two flatbed trucks, one for us and one for the tow truck. That left us sitting on the side of 40 for about an hour. After loading the truck on the new tow truck, we headed for the house where we dropped off Nancy and then headed to Deland to drop off the truck at the mechanic. Nancy came to pick me up just a few minutes after all the transactions at the garage were completed.

I guess, all things considered, we were lucky to get out of the whole thing with just some inconvenience. I’m guessing that if that brake line had given up a few minutes later, we could easily have been in a position where the failure could have had nasty consequences.

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