View Full Version : Road trip from Hell!

04/15/2008, 08:25 PM
I've been off the site for some time now other than a few hit-and-runs but hopefully am now back full time.

This past month (March) my wife and I drove my 2001 ebony VX 1190 (new specialty plate from forum input) from here in Lenexa, Kansas to Gulf Shores, Alabama by way of St. Louis, MO, Jackson, MS, Memphis, TN and Mobile, AL then back home with a two day stopover in New Orleans. That was 2,500 miles on the odometer and we didn't see another VX the whole time.

And now the Hell part.

Hell, Part 1. We were packed up and ready to hit the road back home when I pulled into a BP station in Gulf Shores, AL to fill up. When I pulled the key out of the ignition the tip of the key broke off in the switch. Holy s**t!!! It must have been fractured or weakened along the narrowest part. It was the original key, the only one I had with me and it was 7:00 PM on a Saturday night. AH...HA! I have a backup key right here in my wallet, only it didn't work because is was the key to my other 2001 ebony VX 1320. Dang!!! The attendant at the station said there was a local locksmith close by. I called and he was there in 15 minutes. He was a mobile-only locksmith. After the usual "What the fox hat?" he dug the end of the key out of the ignition switch somehow and tried to duplicate it. While this was going on the guy's partner pulled up so there were two big white locksmith vans there and we were getting a lot of attention from the brisk business the station was doing. Before I knew it there were several pickup trucks and a flat bed all loaded with "Dukes of Hazzard" types (Gulf Shores is known as the Redneck Rivera) asking what was going on and "What the fox hat?" Next thing they're out of their trucks and looking all around the VX and wanting to see under the hood, so I popped it. Then there was some shouting coming from the back and there were two guys on the ground looking under the back with a flashlight going nuts over the Independent4X lower suspension links. If you haven't actually seen these Extreme Duty links in person they are awesomely beefy at over 2-inches in diameter and very heavy. Anyway, somebody shoves a can of Bud in my hand and the crowd is growing then the station attendant comes out and tells everybody (by their names) to take the party around to the side of the building because customers can't get to the pumps.

After many attempts, the locksmith finally got one of the two keys he made to work. He only had 2 blanks that would fit the VX. But it wouldn't work every time, maybe 1 out of every 10 turns of the key before it would turn far enough to start the engine. That cost $75.00. Eventually we got on the road (leaving the party behind) and I was a nervous wreck at every fill-up all the way back because I had to take the key out of the ignition to open the locking gas cap and I was never certain that the VX would start again.

Hell, Part 2. We made it into New Orleans for a 2-day stay at the very elegant Soniat in the French Quarter and had a terrific dinner at the Bayona the first night but a not-so-terrific dinner at a 5-star restaurant the second night, as it turned out, because 24 hours later somewhere in the middle of Arkansas we came down with food poisoning and were absolutely "DEAD-IN-THE-WATER"! Holy s**t!!! We crashed and burned at a Hampton Inn in Blytheville, AK. 24 hours later we crawled to the VX and after 12 to 14 turns of the ignition key it finally started and we limped back home.

Hell, Part 3. Sick, weary, shaky, dehydrated, and with heads spinning we made it to within three miles of home when the engine started to over rev and the CHECK TRANS light went on. Holy s**t!!! Called AAA. After the "What the fox hat?" the tow truck driver dropped us off at our house on his way to Dan's Auto (the Certified mechanics that have worked on all my cars for over 20 years and love the VX). We dragged ourselves and our luggage into the house ready to collapse when we looked at each other and said simultaneously, "What's that smell?" I opened the basement door, turned the light on and went down the steps. There was 2 inches of raw sewage in the basement. Holy s**t!!! Before our departure there was some kind of blockage in the drain line between the house and the street and everything that was flushed down the toilet or drained out the sinks and bathtubs and showers and the dishwasher went right into the basement and sat there for a week. The plumber spend an hour clearing it all out and then the HazMat guys spend four hours pumping out the basement, and cleaning the basement, and spraying chemicals on everything, vacuuming and carrying damaged items out in yellow plastic bags that had a smiley face on them. There were big blowers in the basement all the next day drying things out and for the second time in 24 hours we were crashed at a Hampton Inn.

About the same time that the huge HazMat truck and suited-up crew were pulling up in front of the house, Lee from Dan's Auto gave me the bad and sad news that the transmission had shot craps in a major way. Holy s**t!!! Well they put a rebuild one in with a 3-year/50,000 mile warranty from a rebuilder with a history of no problems and replaced the rear main engine seal that was leaking badly and some other parts for $2,800.00 total. I got it back last week. I missed not have it more than the pain of paying the bill. Joyce and I have recovered from the food poisoning but she still cannot eat a Caesar salad yet.

It gets even worse but this post is already painful enough.


04/16/2008, 02:41 AM
That's just crazy! Sorry to hear about your troubles - let me tell you about my first and only camping trip to Edesto Island some time.

-- John

04/16/2008, 06:09 AM
WOW... that was a hellish trip. I hate going on trips sometimes just cause you never know what your coming home to.

04/16/2008, 06:17 AM
Sorry about experience.....there's got to be a siver lining in there somewhere.

04/16/2008, 06:45 AM
Wow, Nav - Crazy story!

With all of that behind yo now, you should have at least three years of good car-ma!

04/16/2008, 07:01 AM
Ya had to tell us that story BEFORE our campout this weekend???:)