When Sunday Driving Goes Wrong
posted Aug 6 2013 5:50PM
On Sunday I was waiting in line at the approach to the toll plaza at the Fort McHenry Tunnel when my radiator cracked. Steam began to pour out of my hood and the temperature needle shot into the red. I got through the toll and into the tunnel. I turned on my heater and cranked it up. The temp gauge began to go down. I relaxed a little. Then the needle began inching upwards again.
Once out of the tunnel I got off at the first exit and found myself at a shopping center called McHenry Row. I found a grocery story and purchased a jug of coolant. I poured it into the coolant reservoir, which was bone dry. I let the engine cool off for about a half hour, then started it up again. Everything seemed normal at first, then the steam and high temp again. I parked the car again and opened the hood. There was a four inch crack in the top of the radiator.
I called a tow truck. The driver couldn't figure out where I was because the shopping center didn't appear on his GPS. Eventually he got there and took my car and me to a shop, where they told me they could do the repairs but not until the next day.
The next day I went back to the shop and waited outside on the curb because they were replacing the ceiling tiles in the waiting room. Eventually they called me. I paid them. I picked up my car. I drove straight here and went right on the air.
What's the lesson here? There is none. Cars, like all mechanical devices, are prone to wear and breakdowns. But I'll tell you something: the Ft. McHenry tunnel is a very bad place to break down. Next time I break down I hope it happens somewhere else, like maybe right outside my house. That'd be great.