Road trip: Part 2

June, 30, 2007
Editor's note: Right after Watford's season finished and before he reported to the U.S. squad for the Gold Cup, Jay DeMerit took a road trip across America. This is Part 2 of his account.

So despite our worries about the car, thankfully we made it out of the city. Once on the freeway, Ty got on the phone to AAA. He told them what had happened and AAA advised us to get off at the next exit, and go to a repair place nearby. However, there was no guarantee it'd be open since it was 6.30 p.m. Sure enough, when we got to the repair shop it was closed. We drove past in dismay, expecting that we'd have to stay the night in Union, N.J., and would likely fail to make it in time to his sister's grad party in Indianapolis the following evening. However, just as we drove through a light, we saw a one-stall garage with an auto repair sign above it -- and it was open. We couldn't believe our luck and pulled in.

Once inside, the old guy at the computer said,"Even if we can fix it, we won't be able to get the part until tomorrow." So again Ty and I gave each other the look of despair, but a young repair guy came in and said he'd take a look if we popped the hood. He tested the battery, and confirmed it -- no juice -- and headed back into the garage. Ty and I once again gave each other the look, but then the guy came back out, this time holding a hammer.

I was more than a little apprehensive when he told me to rev up the car. But I gave it a little gas, and he started tapping the alternator with the hammer -- still nothing though. Finally he tapped it one more time, a spark went flying, and the battery started to charge.

I gave the girliest scream of delight ever, and see that the GEN light has now turned off. We gave our new best friend big handshake hugs and thanked him for keeping us on the road -- we were set to continue our journey.

So, back on the road after about another hour, we decided all this stress was making us hungry and stopped at Wendy's. After a few JBC's and pretty much half of the 99 cent menu, we went across the street to the gas station to get some fluids for the ride. As we were walking out, we saw a police car with its lights on, heading towards the intersection. The cop said something we couldn't understand on his loudspeaker, and then proceeded to get out of his car and closed off the street with road flares. As we tried to figure out what was going on, we saw that the road he just closed was our ramp to get back on the highway.

Naturally, with our positive mental attitude and adventure pumping through our veins, we looked at each other and realized we needed a map. As we tried to find our detour to get back to the highway, more and more people started coming in and asking the clerks how to get around it.

We were feeling confident and said that we were working on it. One girl came in with her boyfriend, who was wearing pink fuzzy slippers and looked like he had just woken up from a roadie nap, and said she'd follow us. So we found our route and headed to the car. As we pulled out of the gas station, it seemed the word had spread, because when we looked behind us, we were now leading a five-car convoy. They were obviously the trusting sort, because it was about 40 minutes later -- complete with a five-car U turn in front of state patrol cars when I took a wrong turn on a toll entrance -- before we got them all back on the highway safe and sound. They all drove by at that point, with flying fists and waves as they got back to their own personal journeys. On the other hand, our journey was just beginning.



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