Stranded in Fredericksburg

 

On a hot Friday morning in Fredericksburg, we called my parents and asked them to FedEx the newly-issued North Carolina tags and title for my car, lest we need to rid ourselves of it. Then, we walked over to the garage, which also doubled as the local impound lot. The idiot mechanic at Behrend’s (if you’re ever in Fredericksburg, avoid this garage) looked under the hood, told me all the coolant had leaked out of the radiator, filled it up again, and told me he couldn’t find any additional leak nor any good reason for one. The car started just fine. He took a small payment under the table…

Back at the motel, Mark and I were unconvinced by his diagnosis. Why, for example, had the car been running so smoothly and even so much cooler than usual over the past few days. Why did this happen all of a sudden and with no warning; it wasn’t as if we’d had a slow radiator leak which would have been gradual and noticeable. Our suspicions were confirmed when we realized we were still leaking. We drove to a Goodyear dealer on the outskirts of town, where the mechanic said, “I can’t work on this foreign car.” Mind you, he was talking about my 1991 Toyota Corolla, constructed in Fremont CA, which is one of the most common cars on the road today…

We then went to Chassis by Zach on his recommendation. We love Zach. He has a certain wry humor and a talent for finding what’s wrong with cars and fixing it (and Mark thought he was cute). He surmised that our problem was a busted radiator drain cap and a pinched O-ring. After one incorrect part delivery and one brief moment when he feared he might need to pull out the radiator, he sent us on our way with a fully-functional (in relative terms) car. Yay, Zach…

We stopped at the H-E-B and bought me a souvenir 100th anniversary bear to celebrate. And we went for a drive in the evening to test things out. So far, so good, although a significant damper had still been put on the trip. At least we slept reasonably well…

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