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Posts Tagged ‘jumping a car’

I told this story (the short version) to a co-worker last week and she insisted I need to share it on my blog. And since I need a good laugh, here it is. Count this one as “Jaci’s Driving Adventures”.

We used to live in a little trailer park set on the side of a hill. The drive through was a one-lane loop down hill (I taught my best friend’s daughter how to ride a bike on that hill, before it was paved – fodder for another blog). There were seven homes along the loop, and we were a pretty tight-knit community living seven miles outside the city limits. There was a blackberry infested “pasture” where I kept my two horses.

We were between cars. Well, we had a car, but not a pick-up truck. We didn’t have a good place to store hay and hay by the ton was more than we could afford. So when I ran low on hay, I would borrow my girlfriend’s little red pickup truck. Then we stowed the hay under our unfinished deck until I needed to make another run.

For the curious: we fed out horses alfalfa when we could get it cheaply. Second and third cut are the best. My husband liked to purchase Timothy grass, but I couldn’t handle Timothy: my arms would break out in hives and I’d be a sneezing, wheezing, eye-swelling mess. Orchard grass was next in line and the horses loved it. I am not allergic to Orchard grass.

I digress.

My girlfriend’s then-husband was notorious for switching out batteries among the several dead and half-dead vehicles around his trailer. He liked to go to the auctions and buy used cars and then fix them up for resale. He would move a battery from one car to another, sometimes not quite tightening the cables. It was always a guess as to whether or not the truck would have a working battery in it or not.

It didn’t on this particular day. So my husband and I pushed the truck out of it’s parking spot and aimed it downhill. It was a cute little five-speed, so popping the clutch on the downhill was not much of a problem. I had it running before we passed the first downhill neighbor’s house. My girlfriend had this truck for several years before she got married and she swore it was powered solely by the Bible she kept in the glove compartment.

I should note here that this same man who was always switching batteries around, hated to loan the truck to me, even though it was not, technically, his truck. It was my girlfriend’s truck from before their marriage. His objection to loaning it to me was that it was a manual transmission and he had some idea that women cannot drive stick shifts. See me roll my eyes? I had a private opinion of this man that I shared with my husband (who is either too cowed to admit to any such foolish chauvinism or who (wisely) shares my eye-rolling).

Anyway. I digress. Again.

The feed store was about 10 miles away. I drove and my husband rode shotgun. We wound along narrow two lane country roads, stopped at a couple stop signs and finally dipped into a narrow canyon where we passed the hobby rancher who kept a few bison. (Digression: the same girlfriend’s oldest child got confused between buffalo and bison. She called them “Bisaho”. Soft ‘i’. We still call them ‘bisaho’.)

The road stopped at a T where it met Redland Road. We stopped. The truck stopped. Everything stopped. Turn key. NOTHING.

Great. We got one of the half-dead batteries and it wasn’t charged enough to start the truck! Fortunately, there was a fire station directly across the highway – all we had to do was push the truck over there without getting hit by the 45-mile-and-hour traffic through the little “don’t blink you’ll miss it” town of Redland, Oregon. Not a lot of traffic and we were shortly in the parking lot of said fire station.

The fireman who came out to see what we needed was a nice young man. We told him we just needed a jump and he brought out a truck and cables. Then we popped the hood.

And all three of us stared.

“You drove this here?” the fireman finally said.

“Uh. Yes.” And then the fits of giggles hit us. How do you explain to a perplexed fireman that you just drove ten miles without a battery in the car?

The epilogue is we had to call my girlfriend to come rescue us and she had to figure out in which dead vehicle her beloved had stowed the truck’s battery. There is a mechanical explanation (all quite logical and techincal) as to how we were able to pull off this feat, but I find that logic often ruins a good story. My girlfriend’s theory about the Bible in the glove compartment is just as good.

Besides, I can still see the incredulous look on the faces of the fireman and my husband when they peered under the hood with me, jumper cables in hand.

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