The end of the Torrent, Delta Airlines, Taxi rides to JFK in NYC, Snowstorm in Halifax
Right near the end of our last blog post we indicated enough confidence in the condition of the Torrent that we would likely spend up to a week in the Smoky Mountains. Well, that was a bit of a fantasy that was knocked out of us, as soon as we checked under the hood the next morning. The engine coolant was down, which meant that all was not well with our engine.
We were still 1800 miles from home and it was now crystal clear that we should get our ailing vehicle home before its resurrection came to an end.
We hit the I-81 and headed north, on the road before 8:00am with the plan to go as far as we could before the day ended. Our heater had now failed in the car and we were traveling cold, dressed in pants, sweaters and jackets for the early part of the day. We traveled 600 miles in a little over 10 hours, ending the day in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. We were mildly confident that one more day would see us in Bangor Maine and within sight of the Canadian border and perhaps a chance of completing our run home.
April 14, dawned, cold, but sunny and this morning it was necessary to add a toque and gloves to the clothing in the early morning drive. We headed onward, starting at 7:30am and headed east and north along the I-81 and the I-80. Around 11:00am we had to stop for gas. As soon as the Torrent came down to idling speed the heat gauge pegged itself at boiling hot...only by revving the engine were we able to bring the temperature back down. This was bad, very bad!
We quickly looked up Pep Boys, and sure enough, there was one just 10 miles away, in Chester, New York. We managed to make this short hop only to find the Pep Boys location was a distribution center, not a repair shop. Argh! The people at the distribution center sent us onward to Vin-J Automotive, a local repair shop. There, Vinnie, yes Vinnie, sent us across the street to a diner for lunch while the car cooled down enough for him to take a look at it.
When we came back, at about 12:30pm we got the final, fatal diagnosis. The Torrent would go no father. We were exactly 1000 miles from home, with no way to tow the boler another yard.
We needed some internet, and perhaps a hotel room. There was a Holiday Inn Express, not 5 minutes away on foot. We trudged up there to find it completely full, with a convention, and the rate would have been over $150 for the night if they did have a vacancy. Argh again!
They did let us use their internet to see if we could find another hotel, or perhaps a way home. We found a Delta Flight, #4178, from JFK in New York City, to Halifax, that evening at 9:00pm. How to get to the airport? JFK is 60 miles away. Bus, or train, to the Port Authority, or Grand Central Station, then lug whatever we needed to take home with us several blocks to the subway, then ride to JFK. Virtually impossible.
It was looking pretty grim, then the desk clerk told us there was a local taxi company that would take us direct to JFK, for $150. We booked the flight, booked the taxi. and then went to figure out what to do with the Torrent with Vinnie.
We then went to see Vinnie to figure out what to do about disposing of the car. The scrap dealer needs the title in order to protect himself. The title is in Nova Scotia, and the same rules about importing a car to Canada would apply to importing one to the US. Due to the short time available to us Vinnie agrees to keep both car and boler on his lot until we can sort out the details of disposing of the Torrent and getting back to tow the boler home with a new car. Vinne is a great guy and has been very helpful.
The taxi picked us up at 3:30pm and 2 1/2 hours later dropped us at JFK. The taxi driver was a font of knowledge about New York City and kept up a running travelogue the whole way to the airport. We were about 1 mile from the airport when something odd about the date occurred to me. We quickly checked our confirmation e-mail from Delta and sure, enough, in my haste to get us home I had booked the flight for April 15...tomorrow. One more ARGH!!
Luckily, there was room on the April 14th flight and Delta was nice enough not to charge us a fee to change our reservation. We were now in JFK with plenty of time to make our flight. We know that Stanfield International, in Halifax pretty well shuts down at midnight and our flight was due to arrive at 11:55pm, so, if we wanted a car rental we had better get that done. We phoned and rented a car from Enterprise beginning that evening when we arrived.
The flight was on-time and uneventful, We landed in Halifax in a blinding snowstorm, with predictions of 20+ cm overnight. We promptly upgraded our car rental to include full insurance. We could see us sliding into a ditch and incurring huge expenses to fix a rental car.
The snow was so bad that we stayed with relatives in Halifax overnight and only headed back to our home in Aylesford on the morning of April 15. we got home to the Annapolis Valley at 10:00am, showered and promptly headed back out the door to go buy a new car. By the end of the day we had purchased a 2016 Honda CRV.
We will write a final blog entry to summarize this whole trip. Suffice it to say that life is an adventure, and Jenny and I are living that adventure to the max. While the end of our trip was a bit stressful, we are now home, safe and sound, and the stress is dropping away.