I make plans and God laughs.
Such was Saturday when JRTCA Nationals were to be held, with icy rains coming down not quite sideways, but with a 15-mile an hour wind nonetheless. I looked at the weather and decided to go up Sunday. It would be a smaller day, but at least there would not be icy rain and wind!
Sunday morning I was out of the house on time. despite the ice on my windshields front and back. Gideon was in the crate and the radio had passable music. All was fine with the world.
We got about half way there, and I realized I was running a bit early, and so I decided to take a short loop up through Cunningham Falls State Park. It was a good call -- the leaves were just starting to the turn, and the ice and snow pushed everything down into a kind of bowery over the road. Very nice. Yes some branches were down, making two lanes one at spots, but nothing too serious.
It was about this time that the tire warning came on. This is the valve gauge that lets you know you have low tire pressure, but one of my tire valves broke off a while back, and it was replaced with a straight stem, so now the sensor goes off for no reason every once in a while.
As I left Cunningham Falls State Park, the tire gauge tone and lights came on continuously, but my tires were clearly fine. What the hell?
Long story short, the truck died outside of Smithsburg (gateway to Cavetown) at an intersection not too far from Antietam Creek, the sight of the legendary violent Civil War Battlefield.
FORD -- found on road dead.
The good news is that a call to AAA brought out a truck within the hour, and he discovered two things: 1) I needed a new battery (pretty clearly visually, and I saw the test on it too) and; 2) my alternator was toast. That wasn't the tire sensor coming on and off, it was my "check electrical system" sensor. Oh. The damn thing was flashing so much I could not read it and drive, and I just assumed it was the tire sensor, since everything else is always fine Silly me!
My savior from Blue & Gray Towing swapped out a new battery and he volunteered to lead me to the place that could put in the new alternator because the battery was no sure thing over the distance. He called up the place before we left and got the alternator delivered while he packed up his truck. Twenty minutes later I was inside Mr Tire, which was a very busy place, large and clean, with a lady running the place that was pushing nothing. This was an honest and competent shop, and I would go back there in a minute.
A few hours later, and I had my alternator in, but now it was noon and I was still an hour away from JRTCA nationals.
I got the message God; I went home.