In case you missed it, Part 1 of this post featured a dead car 3 hours from home, followed by a tow truck driver that hit a car, blew a toll, and dropped us off at a concert promising he’d find a place to park the car. Now it’s time for my other two stories.
2. Meteor Crater, Arizona
In 2003, two friends and I embarked on the quintessential American road trip. We acquired a 1983 Chevrolet station wagon from one of the guy’s grandmothers. The thing had 14,000 miles on it and we paid her $750 — not too shabby.
The car held up like a champ as we traversed between 15 and 20 thousand miles over the course of seven weeks driving through 34 states. But when we were down in the Arizonan desert, I thought we might not even make it out.
While driving near Meteor Crater, we decided to take a quick detour to check it out. Instead of paying the $20 admittance fee, we decided to test our luck on a dirt road that ran alongside the crater to see if we could hike to the rim of the crater a different way.
Long story short: We got a flat tire in the middle of nowhere, and as fortune would have it, Grandma’s car didn’t have a jack.
Luckily, some guy with a flatbed happened to be passing by like fifteen minutes after this all happened. Otherwise, we would have been left stranded in the hot Arizona desert in the middle of July with hardly any food or water. (Cell phones weren’t as ubiquitous all the way back then, kiddos.)
3. The Highway 360
One winter, I was heading up to Burlington, Vt. on Interstate 89 during a snowstorm. Snow was coming down hard, and the left lane of the two-lane highway was impassable.
I had nearly reached my destination when I saw a cabbie merging onto the highway from a rest stop. I was probably going about 30 mph and figured he had to see me. It was my right of way and I didn’t really want to slam on the brakes in the snow.
But he cut me off. I had no choice but to hit the brake.
I ended up 360-ing across the highway until my car got stuck in a ditch in between the northbound and southbound lanes. While it was certainly as scary as it sounds — and maybe even scarier —I somehow wasn’t injured at all, and neither was my car. Go figure. However, it was bitter cold and I was as stuck as you can get.
A state trooper eventually came by and let me wait in his car until a tow truck arrived. This was a much better experience than in Chicago. I think I tipped that tow truck driver like $50. It was worth it. Now, if I could only track down that awful cabbie…
Now it’s your turn. Do you have any great stories about getting stranded on the side of the road? Let me know in the comments below!