I got on the road around 4ish. I noticed my air bag light was on as I reached HWY 65 from my parents and thought, well don't get in an accident. Then I went another 20-30 miles and noticed other dashboard monitors also misbehaving. The speedometer worked intermittently. The radio started turning on and off. The car started revving at higher rates (I was up to 4 and only going 40 MPH). I called my brother and he said, "Well there's nothing I can do about it." NICE.
Then reaching HWY 10 my check engine light came on. CRAP. Unlike my father who simply covers the CEL with a sticker from his morning apple so as not to concern himself with the matter, I knew this was different. I wanted to make it past St. Paul since I was in rush hour traffic and didn't want to be charged St. Paul fix-it and tow rates...
I shut off anything taking energy, A/C, radio, fans, lights... I called my friend Kathryn when I began the trip and originally planned on watching her riding lesson in Hudson. I called her again and said, "Can I have Bob's (her husband) number?" I knew this wasn't good. I saw the Woodbury exit and thought it looked like a good place to be stalled. I was correct.
I tried merging three lanes of I-94 that was already in stop-and-go. This would have been fine but I only had intermittent go and semi-trucks were trying to merge the other way. I made it over safely but was going 20 mph at this time. I rolled up to the top of the hill at the off-ramp and stopped.
At this same time Kat's husband Bob called me back and I must have been slightly freaked out ( more annoyed than anything) as I said, I'm sitting here and my car won't go, I have no energy and the flashers won't even turn on (the just made an eeeeerr sizzle sound). He could tell I was flustered and I told him I would call him after I talked to Geico.
Luckily a nice man in a business suit who drives an Audi stopped and pushed my car out of the turn lane onto the side of HWY 13. He made sure I was ok and had roadside assistance. I love Minnesotans. The last time I broke down near Quad Graphics in south eastern wisconsin the sheriff (who had already drove past me twice) stopped and said, "M'am we had complaints that you were on the side of the road." Not one person helped me that time.
This time I had several motorists stop to make sure I was ok and to see if I needed a ride. Two walkers stopped and offered me their cell phones. Awe - Minnesota Nice isn't so phony after all.
I called Geico and get this, they cover towing up to 15 miles. That's nice, I guess but I didn't even know the address to Bob's shop. The Geico lady took care of it for me. She phoned Bob and got his location and information. Lucky for me his shop was 14 miles away. Perfect.
Bobby the tow truck driver took about an hour longer than anticipated, but he hooked up the Kia and we were on our way.
Kat picked me up from the shop and Bob ran the diagnostics that night. He had an alternator and belt expressed in from Kia and tested and recharged my battery. I was gulping hard as I had only budgeted enough for the summer to get buy with a little on the side. I looked up how much the job should've cost (between $750 and $1,100) and was a little sad. Instead Bob only charged me a fraction of that price. On top of it I got to hang out with my childhood friend. She's a beautician so I also got an eyebrow wax and color on top of it all.
I must say this was one of the best break-downs I've ever had :)