Monday, October 29, 2012

Broken Down Car Leaves Us Stranded

My car getting towed by a good friend of ours 2009.  

In about a months time, we've been in three different cars that have broken down...

The first time we were borrowing our friends car while she was out of town.  Jess and I were going to drive to the north shore and grab some sunset photos.  The first mistake was leaving when we did.  Honolulu has the worst traffic in the US.  We were in bumper to bumper rush hour traffic.  The car started overheating in Wahiawa, not the best part of Hawaii to be stuck in.  

We let it cool down and got back on the road only to have it overheat again.  We stopped for a longer time, parked the car in a gas station parking lot and walked a mile or two and grabbed some subway for dinner.  I left my camera gear in the car, in hindsight that was really dumb, I should have carried it on me.  

I made a phone call to a friend that knows a lot about cars, and he told me what to do.  I had to buy some water and refill the radiator with water AFTER it was all the way cooled down.  NEVER TOUCH A RADIATOR CAP ON A VEHICLE UNTIL IT IS ALL THE WAY COOL.  The system is under pressure, my brother in law accidentally nicked a cap while working on a car and burned his face.  

The sun was setting and it was starting to get dark.  A lot of different scenarios were going through my mind.  

I was wearing flip flops and carrying a gallon of water in a grocery bag.  What if I had to walk further than this?  I should have a backpack in my vehicle, so I can carry things easier, and I should have shoes in my vehicle incase I had to walk further distances.  

Jess had left her cell phone in the car.  What if we had to split up for something?  How would we get in contact with one another?  

I asked for a large stack of napkins from subway, because I didn't think there were any rags in the car we were borrowing and we were about to do some work on the car.  

I also watched as we threw a couple of food scraps away from our sub, if this was a serious emergency situation, we would have eaten every morsel crumb that we could.  

I was probably thinking this way because Jess and I had recently watched a survival show on netflix.  I honestly am pretty interested in this whole survival thing.  

This situation was making me think about my EDC.  (Everyday carry)  What do I carry every day on me, that if there is an emergency so I will be some what prepared?  

We walked back to where our car was parked, I almost took the wrong way back, but luckily Jess has a much better sense of direction than I do. I need to be more aware of my surroundings.  

My mother in law bought Jess and I these little flashlights upon my request.  We had been using some other keychain flashlights that she had given us but they were dying.  These new little guys go on our keychains and come in very handy, we use them almost daily.  They are sufficiently bright when the batteries are good.  I've had to replace the batteries once in mine.  

I was making phone calls back and forth to my friend Jhun who knows a lot about cars.  The battery on my phone was dying.  I should charge my phone every night, because one day there might be an emergency where I need my phone.  

The radiator was bone dry, we poured almost a whole gallon of water into it.  Jess held my tiny flashlight as I poured.  I had to buy another gallon of water from the gas station incase the car overheated on the way home.  I tried to pay with my charge card and there was a minimum purchase for cards so I had to pay with cash.  Luckily I had cash with me that day, usually I don't carry cash.  I should ALWAYS carry an emergency stash of cash on me.  

We started up the car and watched as the radiator hose spewed out water like a fountain.  No wonder the radiator was bone dry.  I made another phone call to ask what to do, we bought some duct tape and taped it up, filled the radiator back up again and were on our way home.  The duct tape was cheap, back home in my car that is sitting in Ohio I have a role of gorilla tape, along with some tools and flares and even reflective vests in my trunk.  We once spun around on I70 in the snow and ended up stuck in a snow bank, that scared me enough that I started putting stuff in my car incase we needed it.  

My friend Jhun helped me fix my friends car the next day, we bought radiator fluid and a new hose for her car.  

Then recently we went out to dinner with a friend on a whim, I ran back to my room to grab my wallet but didn't pick up my cell phone.  On the way home from dinner his car died in the middle of the road.  We had to push it out of the way.  Out of the four adults in the car, none of us had our cell phones.  Jess and I stayed with the car while my friend Minsoo and his wife and two kids got a taxi back to the YWAM base and brought another car back.  Luckily when he came back he messed with a wire in the car and it started right back up.  Why none of us had our phones with us is a mystery.  

I'll tell you about our third and most recent incident in a future post.  

Engage:  What do you carry on you every day that will help you in case of emergency?  What should you start carrying with you?  Let us know in the comments.  


  1. reminds me of another car breakdown somewhere in PA on the way to Baltimore. That one was fun too!  :)  Blessings to you and Jess!!!

  2. On my person, I usually carry my phone and wallet. In my car, I am prepared for most minor (mechanical and physical) disabling problems. I carry extra water and a first aid kit in my car. When I travel, I take a small first aid case with me that includes gloves, band-aids and alcohol wipes.

    Sorry you had car trouble but glad that you both are okay. :)

  3. One thing the more paranoid side of me wants to get is one of those little hammers designed to bust out your car windows if you're underwater.  I hope I never find myself in a situation where I wish I had that...

  4. yup, thats what the photo is from.  haha, good times.  glad we could share that adventure together :) 

  5. it sounds like you are pretty well prepared!  we have found that carrying a small flashlight is super valuable to have as well.  

  6. yeah, i asked my mother in law for one of those life hammers for my birthday which is coming up... i guess living on an island the likelihood of needing one increases.   better safe than sorry.  scary to think about though.  

  7. I keep a roadside emergency kit in the trunk of both mine and Colleen's car.  They're commercially available - Colleen's mom got them for both of us back when we were still dating.  The bag it comes in is orange and reflective, and the kit contains jumper cables, a flashlight (and batteries), some rope, a shovel, and a few tools.  Additionally, I like to take a small tool box with me if I'm making a longer road trip.  That's saved the day more than once.  In a pinch, a few screwdrivers, a crescent wrench, pliers, and some duct tape can go a long way if you have a minor mechanical problem.  You probably already have one, but they make a USB outlet/phone charger that plugs into your cigarette lighter.  It'll only set you back $5. You can charge your phone on the go so it's got juice if you need it.  I usually have some antifreeze and a little engine oil in my trunk as well... you never know... And toss a few granola bars in the glovebox.  If you have a breakdown, get stuck in traffic, or just need a snack on a road trip you might be glad you have a small stash.

  8. legit. thanks for sharing. i've got a stash of most of that stuff in my car on the mainland.

  9. What an experience! If I were in that situation, I would’ve just cancelled the trip and go back home! Anyway, at least you learned how to do basic car repairs because of this. Good luck on your next trip!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...