It was time to get out of town again, so this past weekend I took Friday off and we packed up the car and drove west on I-70, tunes a-blazin’, possibilities in the air. We stopped in Glenwood Springs for some weekend food supplies and continued along highway 82 toward Aspen, in phone contact with Dan’s cousin making some dinner plans, arriving at our destination at what we thought was 5 PM (by Dan’s watch) but was actually 6.
Sadly, the Maroon Bells wilderness area only takes cash and checks, so we had to drive back into Aspen to get some of that (Aspen, as one might guess, is full of people driving very expensive cars. It is also kind of twee.), and back to Maroon Bells, set up our tent at Silver Bell #12, then realized we had no cell phone coverage to let Lori know we were set and ready for dinner. So we drove back out to Aspen AGAIN and met up with Lori and her husband, who both got a kick out of the Flying Spaghetti Monster car emblem and learned that it was not in fact 6 PM but actually 7 PM. We feasted at a local watering hole and heard a harrowing tale of the WORST customer service story ever, so much so that my gast was completely flabbered. After dinner, we said our goodnights and our thanks for hanging-outs and got into the car, only to determine that it didn’t want to start.
Like, at all. No turning over. No nothing.
Luckily, they hadn’t gone far, and when I called they turned around and came back to help us get things figured out. We attempted a jump start, which didn’t work for quite some time. Finally, after quite a bit of finessing, Rich got the car started. Both cars sat there idling for a while as we decided what to do. The final verdict: Rich and I would go back to the campground in their sweet-ass Audi TT convertable and break down camp/get our stuff, while Dan and Lori would head to their house in poor Moxie, who up to that point had never given us a moment’s trouble; in case something happened during the drive, Moxie wouldn’t be at the campground out of cell phone range. Rich and I motored up, broke down our camp, stuffed everything in the wee tiny trunk, and made it back into the car just as the crazy rain and thunder and lightning started.
It wasn’t the evening we were expecting: sleeping on the pullout couch, loved on by two doggies, sipping port and watching a guy on stilts on Conan rather than a tent under the stars and me beating Dan at gin. But it was a lovely evening nonetheless. In the morning, we found a place to bring the car, but couldn’t get it started again, even with Rich’s magic fingers. After some internet research, a few more things were tried, but ultimately we determined that poor Moxie was just not going to start. Luckily (and seriously, this was REALLY lucky), Lori and Rich had everything necessary to tow Moxie down to Basalt to the car repair place – tow cables, a Land Rover, tools, etc. and saved us $200 in towing fees.
I have to say here that riding in a car at highway speed when the car isn’t actually on so you have no idea how fast you’re going is extremely weird.
So we got to the car place and about 15 guys ran out and started poking around under Moxie’s hood. While we waited, Lori and I took a 5-minute trip over to a convenience store to get some supplies and when we got back we were greeted by two sheepishly grinning men. “Guess how much it cost,” they asked. “Two dollars!” said Lori. “Off by a factor of ten,” said Rich, relating that someone finally figured out that the floor mat had wedged itself far enough under one of the pedals that it couldn’t engage when we were trying to turn the car on. Twenty bucks for five minutes of troubleshooting, and two red faces, and a bunch of laughing Mexican guys. Hey, it could have been exponentially worse (and ridiculously expensive). I would have been mortified if we’d paid to have the car towed.
So all was well, and Dan and I headed back into the Maroon Bells area to go hiking, laughing and wondering what we could do as a thank-you to Rich and Lori for putting us up for the night and towing the car into town. Any ideas, internet?