How I Almost Got Stranded Twice This Weekend-Hampton, NH (Part 2)
In case you missed it, be sure to check out Part 1 of my tale where I almost got stranded in Portland, HERE.
After my near fiasco in Portland, I was thrilled to be heading down to Hampton Beach in New Hampshire to see one of my favorite bands, The Struts, in concert. This was my 3rd time seeing them and I was lucky enough to win an Instagram contest to hang out with them backstage!
Needless to say, I had a blast! I spent the night and had big plans for playing tourist on Monday. I went back and forth trying to decide if I wanted to stay and hang out in Hampton Beach or head north to Portsmouth as I've wanted to explore that area for a while. About an hour before check-out of my motel I decided to take a walk down to check out some of the shops along the beach. I didn't get to explore much but I figured I'd be better off exploring Portsmouth since I figured I could get my fill of beach shops in Old Orchard Beach. Plus, Portsmouth was even closer to home.
I set off with plans to go shopping and have lunch before heading home to unwind before my shortened yet busy workweek.
I get out of the beach area and on the main road. I noticed my AC wasn't quite as cool as it should be but I dismissed it as I hadn't been driving too fast and it was hot. Maybe I just needed to be patient.
Not even a minute after that thought entered my head the dreaded dinging started going off in my car and my temperature light was on. CRAP.
There was a safe place to turn off just ahead of me. I was fortunately/unfortunately (depending on how you look at it) familiar with the situation after it happened in the middle of the night on I-295 leaving a concert in Portland last year. All I knew in my car-stupid mind was that I needed coolant.
I let my car cool for a bit and Googled the nearest gas station. I walk in and all they had was coolant for big diesel trucks. Assuming this coolant is different than the coolant I needed I set off to find the next gas station. I ended up at a very nondescript Citgo.
I was a tad disheartened to discover that it was a gas station/garage and not a gas station/convenience store. In my head, I just needed a bottle of coolant and I could be on my way, but I went in to see if they'd sell me any. I was also concerned that they'd try to take advantage of me. That's the stereotype, right? A clueless gal traveling alone and desperate. That's the perfect recipe for big bucks, right? The guy said no they don't sell coolant but he said let the car cool and he'll look at it. Not even a question, a statement. And one I appreciated. He seemed genuine. I sat in the stereotypical tattered garage waiting room chair wondering why can't I just enjoy a day off?
A couple of the guys go out to look and they show me there's coolant everywhere. Again, CRAP. He suspects it's a hose/tube part noting that car manufacturers these days are idiots for thinking hot liquid will fare well in plastic. I hear you, dude. He assured me this is a very routine issue and a simple fix. He just needed to get the part.
He then called for the part. Looks like it was my lucky day as it was the LAST part available in the region. Ironically, the part had to come from Portsmouth, the very town I was on my way to.
I sat and watched The Price is Right and waited and thought about how lucky I was. Circumstances happened just so that I ended up at this garage where I surprisingly felt safe. It can be daunting traveling alone as a female and even more daunting with car troubles. These guys made me feel incredibly comfortable.
It took a while for the part to arrive. I could tell the employee who had been assisting me from the start was annoyed for me that I was waiting for so long. He was apologetic for the wait and confirmed it was on the way. I was just happy to have the part, no matter how long it took.
The mechanic then came in after bringing my car into the garage and asked me if I had anyone work on my car recently.
I thought for a second and I told him that I just had an oil change and inspection within the last month.
He said, "I thought so."
He must have seen the confusion on my face because he went on to explain in mechanic terms that basically, my other garage (that will remain nameless) was likely to blame for my troubles. It appeared that the crack in this tube wasn't where the crack typically appears from routine wear and tear and is likely a stress crack from when they, the other garage, went in to access what they needed for the oil change.
I was livid but at the same time glad that my car wasn't just randomly having it out for me.
After spending hours in this garage and almost $180 later, I was on the road again. I can't sing enough praises for the guys at the Citgo/Established Towing & Repair in Hampton, New Hampshire. They were helpful and compassionate from the moment I walked in. They explained everything they could in hopes I could get reimbursed from the other garage.
I made it to Portsmouth mentally and emotionally drained. I didn't even feel like finding lunch despite the fact that all I had eaten that day was a Clif Bar and a bag of M&M's. I walked around town for a bit but I just wanted to go home.
I made it home realizing how easily my trip could have been worse. Had I hung out at the beach longer I may have missed my window to get the part. What if they didn't have the part? I remember thinking about how I could piecemeal rides together to get me home. I know person A in the Portsmouth area, maybe they could bring me to person B in Portland, who could meet with person C for the final leg home. Thankfully, it didn't come to that.
They say bad things happen in threes. Here's to hoping me and my car have smooth sailing, or driving, from here on out.