Adventures in Ohio

Yesterday, Hubby and I climbed into my beloved old pickup truck (affectionately nicknamed The Beast) and headed to Ohio’s Amish Country to pick up the dining table and chairs we’d ordered back in July.

The Beast, by the way, used to be my primary source of transportation. We bought her new in 1990…a fully loaded ¾ ton Chevy Silverado with all the extras for hauling our horse trailer and fat Quarter Horses. Back then, I remember complaining that it took $26 to fill the gas tank. Yes, I was horribly naïve.

These days it takes well over a hundred bucks to fill ‘er up, not to mention the Beast has close to 200,000 miles under her belt, so we mostly leave her bedded down in my mom’s garage. The last major jaunt she’d been on was three years ago when we hauled our camper to Confluence. She’d groaned a bit, lugging that thing through the Laurel Highlands. But we figured Ohio is mostly flat and the old girl should be able to handle a table and four chairs.

I should mention something here about Hubby being too cheap to pay for delivery, but I won’t.

Off we went, rolling down the road, keeping a close eye on the gas gauge. We made it from Pennsylvania, through West Virginia, into Ohio before we decided the Beast needed fuel. For those of you who aren’t from this area, Pennsylvania, through West Virginia, into Ohio takes about half an hour.

The rest of the drive to Sugar Creek was uneventful. We made our usual first stop at our favorite Amish restaurant for an early lunch. The plan was to continue into Charm to browse at the most incredible lumber yard I’ve ever seen, then swing through Farmerstown and pick up our furniture before heading home. We figured we’d be back in time for supper.

When we came out of the restaurant, Hubby squatted down behind the Beast and gazed, frowning, at her undercarriage. “What are you looking at?” I asked him. “You’re making me nervous.”

He pointed to a small wet spot and mentioned something about brake fluid. Then he looked under the hood and continued to frown. That’s when he announced we had a leak in one of our brake lines. “Just a pinhole,” he said. We should be fine, but we probably ought to just get our stuff and get home. And he said we shouldn’t make any hard stops.

I wasn’t feeling especially happy right then. But he assured me we’d probably make it home just fine. Notice the use of the word PROBABLY.

We drove directly to Farmerstown, loaded my beautiful natural wormy maple and rustic walnut table and chairs into the Beast’s massive bed, and headed cautiously toward home. Hubby geared down at every stop sign and used the emergency brake to hold her still at the few red lights along the way.

All was going well. Until about a half hour into our two hour return trip, when we approached a stop sign at a T in the road. A car was stopped in front of us, and when Hubby put his foot on the brake pedal, it mushed to the floor. No. Brakes. He jammed her into low gear and jumped on the emergency brake and got the Beast stopped before we’d accumulated a new hood ornament. Any trace of a tan, however, was gone from Hubby’s face and his eyes were bigger than I’ve ever seen them.

We crawled a few hundred yards to the parking lot of a bar and grill, where we eased off the road, and gave up all hope of babying the Beast home. What was left of the brake line had blown.

After a few foul words, Hubby marched into the bar to find out where we were. Then I called AAA.

No, the adventure was not over yet.

After a two and a half hour wait (there had been a rash of traffic accidents, our AAA driver later informed us), a flatbed arrived. While the young driver winched the Beast aboard, he told me I could go ahead and climb into the cab of his truck. But the door was locked.

Unfortunately, so was his. He’d locked us all out of the tow truck. No problem, I thought. When I lock myself out of my car, the AAA guy comes and pops it open.

Except his tools for doing just that were LOCKED IN THE TRUCK.

At this point, I broke my diet and pumped some coins into a pop machine for a can of Mountain Dew. I was tired and hungry and figured the hell with it… I needed sugar and caffeine. Meanwhile the AAA guy had gone into the bar to call AAA. I assume. Maybe he was getting a drink. I couldn’t really blame him. Hubby had climbed back into the Beast and found a coat hanger and was doing his best impersonation of a juvenile delinquent, attempting to break into the tow truck.

And bless his misguided youth, he did it! He got the door open. The AAA guy told the dispatcher “Never mind!” And off we went.

Our driver was a really nice guy, but I admit he made me more than a little nervous when he nearly clipped the backend of another truck who was squeezing in front of us at a construction zone. Hubby and I both screamed “Watch it!” and he swerved just in time.

Mind you, my brand new (already paid for) furniture was in the bed of the Beast through all this. It wasn’t supposed to have that “distressed” look, but I feared it might by the time we reached home.

Alas, we made it the rest of the way without any problems. We were a tad under our 100 mile towing limit with AAA, so there was no bill. Hubby said, “That’s ONE way to save gas.”

If he hadn’t saved our lives back at that stop sign and then successfully broken into the locked tow truck, I might have slapped him.

In case you’re wondering, the table and chairs are fine and look super in our kitchen. The Beast sits in our front yard awaiting a whole new set of brake lines. And I fully intend to pay for shipping the next time we order ANYTHING.


Holy mother of adventure junkets, Batman! That was a wild day. Glad you're both home safe along with your furniture!! Thanks for sharing. It actually made my opinion of my Monday climb up a few notches. *wink*
Storee Wryter said…
Sorry you had to live through all that but it makes a great story. Just saying.
Annette said…
Barb, it was definitely memorable.
Annette said…
And I admit, I was thinking what a great story this was going to be...provided I lived to tell it!

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