The Washington Times-Herald

September 28, 2013

A NASCAR trip with more right turns than left ones

By Lindsay Owens
Times Herald

---- — So it begins the tale the beloved boyfriend would rather go the rest of his existence without hearing. Our trip to Bristol for the NASCAR race will be embedded in our minds forever.

When I arrived at the home of the beloved boyfriend late Thursday evening, I didn’t see a rental car. Instead I saw a car borrowed from his sister. When questioned, he quickly said,”Well I thought if I borrowed Kara’s car, it gets great fuel mileage, we’d have extra spending money.”

OK, I can go with that.

We left early Friday morning and the trip was off to a great start. Very little traffic, he actually let me stop at the Cumberland Gap National Gap and he got to stand in three states at once. He was happy, I was happy. After leaving Cumberland Gap, I decided it may be best for the both of us if I took a little nap .

I snoozed for about 30 minutes before I was abruptly awaken by the car frantically jerking back and forth while creeping along at 35 miles per hour. Immediately I asked my beloved what seemed to be the problem. Naturally, he wasn’t sure and decided to pull off the highway and onto a hilly two-lane road. He found a driveway to turn around but when he tried to put the car into reverse it wouldn’t move.

Looking around the surroundings, I left like I was trapped somewhere on the set of “Deliverance”. Not realizing the severity of the problem, the beloved one decided to wait, nearly an hour mind you, before he decided it was necessary to call for a tow truck. Luckily, since there was no cell phone service, a nice man (with all his teeth and not holding a Mason jar filled with moonshine) stopped and asked if we needed help. When I asked the man where we were, his reply was,” This here’s Daniel Boone, Va., ma’am. You sure don’t look real happy with him.”

Clearly, being stranded with no cell service was making me a little edgy. After all, I was standing near a car overheating and dripping fluids next to some very foul roadkill that could not be identified when I should have been 15 minutes from the track getting ready to watch qualifying.

Luckily, the tow truck (which only cost $60) was able to take us to Fort Blackmore, Va. (near Gate City) where we sat for over two hours waiting on a taxi to come take us to Kingsport to get a rental car and it was confirmed, the car we had was a goner. There was nothing we could do but get a taxi. When the taxi arrived, I honestly wasn’t even sure it really was a taxi. I was kind of thinking it was someone who was coming to rob us and dump our bodies in the woods or down a mountain side.

The taxi, a white minivan, clad with a Hello Kitty steering wheel cover, rolled to a stop and a plump, woman in yoga pants and a cartoon character t-shirt emerged. “Oh, no, ya’ll can’t open that hatch,” she said to the beloved one as he tried to load our bags. “Walmart’s done busted it up bad.”

The woman quickly slid open one of the doors exposing a dirty, smelly Cheeto and marker stained interior. I eyed the beloved one (after all he’s supposed to protect me from harm right?) and stepped into the “taxi” knowing it was my only hope of ever making it to the track that is if I made it to Kingsport alive.

Nearly 30 minutes later, we slid into the rental car business with just minutes to spare and $125 later I had all my possessions removed from this so-called taxi.

The woman tried to hand the beloved one a business card and he took it. I shot him a steely look. Never was I going to step into that taxi again. I’d rather walk and at this point, he may be walking to Johnson City (Yes, the place in the song “Wagon Wheel”). I was tired, hungry, mad and most importantly missing the race.

We drove in silence. I’m pretty sure at this point the beloved one knew better than to speak. He knew what I was thinking but i didn’t say it. Those infamous four words were running laps through my head. “I told you so!”

I wanted to say it so badly but I refrained and eventually we made it to the track in time to see the Nationwide race.

It was decided (and not by me) that we would return the rental car to Kingsport and find an alternate way back to Indiana. Bright and early Sunday morning the beloved one’s parents left Nashville and aimlessly drove pulling the trailer for the dead car. Several hours and a few wrong turns later, we all found one another and the car (which by the way, decided to move on its own again).

We’d be on the road about three hours when the trailer and truck started clanging about. Father and son exited the truck to inspect the situation. Our tire had blown. We waited what seemed like an eternity to have the tire fixed. After three quarters of a day on the road, we had made it back to Nashville and I came to the realization that from now on, I must plan and book all travel arrangements on my own.

Chalk it up to bad luck. The beloved one’s money saving techniques had cost us nearly $300 (including the $25 to send to the keys back to Tennessee since there was no key drop).

Staff writer Lindsay Owens can be reached at lowens@washtimesherald.com