Saturday, October 29, 2011

Guess Where Swanky Will Break Down(First)? Or – A Pool to Fund Repairs

Update: 11/3/11 - ALREADY, we have a winner... :(  What makes a breakdown?  hearing a sound that *doesn't sound good*  and deciding to have it looked at?  maybe not.  But then, after nursing the vehicle to a place to hold until the appointment next day, and then upon starting it, smelling a smell that *doesn't smell good* and deciding to tow the few miles - yeah.... that counts.

Our pool winner is Lauren P., who chose Morgantown, WV.  Swanky's getting looked at in Sheppensburg, PA, 169.89 miles for Morgantown.  What will be the diagnosis...?  

Stay tuned for Pool Round Two: Where Will Swanky Break Down(the SECOND time)?  Any donations/guess received as of now will be applied to that pool.

NOTE: For Updated List of *Official* Pool Entries, click this link, which will take you to a page on the ClimbAddict Designs website
 Last year, Swanky the van was brand new, to me. I bought it from a cop, and my mother(who was a nurse) once told me “Eye doctors can't see; ear doctors are deaf, and psychiatrists are crazy.” Well, I figure that line of thinking probably goes beyond the boundaries of the medical field, if you know what I mean. Now I know there are plenty of optometrists with 20/20 vision, just like most police are law-abiding citizens, but if the lies this guy told me about that van weren't a crime, I don't know what is!

Not that Swanky(which he became named due to his luxe interior of blue and cream-colored velour upholstery) broke down RIGHT AWAY, but within 20 miles after driving away as new owner, the Service Engine Soon light came on.


Then, two days later, when I was parked at the Trapps for a day of climbing, and I was showing my partner the carriage that would convey me out west for the winter, I noticed a drip... Coming from the rear side of the van, I hoped it was just condensation, but the sniff test resulted in an undeniable fact – Swanky had an ulcer that was eating away at his gas tank badly enough that I could time the drips. I was parked at an uphill incline, so turned him around with his rear tilted skyward and went climbing. Upon return, there was no gas puddle, or smell, which meant the hole was at least not too low.... Little consolation that was.

Of course, since I was traveling cross-country, I made an appointment with Beek's, the local car doctor(I don't know if the people at Beek's can drive well, but they sure doesn't fit with my mom's diagnosis of medical personae; they are really great, and honest, at auto mechanics and service). I was informed of worse than just a gas tank - poor Swanky was too sick to even pass inspection in his current state. The van this policeman told me had been babied apparently had a rather neglectful parent.

Yes – I should have had the van looked at by a competent person before considering buying it. You win no prize for that. But, we are headed back west again, and you CAN win something by guessing the nearest town where Swanky breaks down at first!

Last year, once on the road, we went all the way to Wisconsin, before losing the Serpentine Belt on the highway near Mossinee, WI.. Then, on to Sedona, AZ where a gash in the tire wall had me replacing it(but the guy assured me the slit wasn't bad and he'd personally drive on it. “That tire has MILES of tread left on it” he said. But I didn't want to risk having a blow out at 70mph on a highway in the middle of nowhere, on a hot desert day. So, that wouldn't count for a breakdown. Nor would the fact that I mentioned that the oil gauge seemed to be acting wonky, and the diagnostic they performed told them the oil sender unit was about to go. Breakdown averted, as was Swanky's appointment with the Reaper....

We got to Joshua Tree and one night, parked in the Pit, I smelled gasoline. In denial, since the tank and several lines HAD been replaced less than two months previous, I did what most women would do....ignored it.

Until the day the van wouldn't start.

Long story short, it was in Tucson, AZ where that occurred, and I had a pirate mechanic drop his drawers and gas tank, and replace the dead pump. That DEFINITELY qualified as a breakdown...

Not bad, for a 1988 rusted to hell and back van previously owned by a lying cop(he told me it didn't use or burn a drop of oil; that I could go to California and upon arrival top it off, and that he had just had the oil and filter replaced. Not true. Swanky was more than a quart low when checked a day later, and goes through a quart every tank. It turns out that was why the Service Engine Soon light went on. I was so conflicted between the words that man had told me and what the dipstick was saying that I didn't know what to do about oil, and nursed that poor van all the way to Jtree on sips and nips off the oil can the entire way.

So – two breakdowns in a trip from New York to California, and back, and no problems since. Something's BOUND to happen sooner or later, obviously. Which begs the question of how I am going to pay for that repair when it does occur.

And THAT is why I have devised this contest! Now I KNOW that in most pools, the money goes to the person who makes the correct guess. But for this purpose, that would be – well, stupid. The winner of this pool is going to be the mechanic who gets the luck of the draw when Swanky stumbles.

What will YOU get? Well, you'll be able to say you were right, for whatever that's worth, Hey – some people really get a buzz off being able to say “I told you so.” In fact, this year the trail crew I work with has nicknamed me “I Told You So Terrie.” I know what I'm talking about! But you'll ALSO get your choice of prizes: You can choose a chalkbag from the ClimbAddict inventory, or $25 worth of hair accessories from Talisman Studios, or $25 in goods from the ClimbAddict shop on Cafepress.

Seriously – the truth is that I am doing this trip on maybe a little less than a wing and a prayer. This is maybe an idea that some will find offensive – ridicule away! I can take it. But it is MY idea, and I think that it is not only mildly humorous, but displays ingenuity.

Here's How to Play:

  • Make a Donation of $5 to my PayPal account - click the Donations Button Below
  • Include in the note with that transaction, the city and state you believe Swanky will break down in for the first time on this adventure. Get creative and be more specific if you like... "Outside the NoTellUm Motel in Naughtyville, Nebraska," or "at the 3rd traffic light in dowtown Amarillo, Texas" or what have you!
  • Include your email address so you may be contacted if you are the winner. I WILL NOT use your email for any purpose other than to contact the winner, and will NOT share the information with anyone. You can rest assured you won't get added to my business emailing lists or anyone else's on my account.
  • You may make multiple guesses, with additional donations of $5 per guess.

Here's the approximate route I intend to take(most likely I will be varying from this trajectory at times, as I go with smaller roads, get lost on those smaller roads, and pull off into towns and such, but this is the general idea):

I will be updating this blog post as often as possible to include a list of people's first name/last initial and the town they guess. You can also post your guess to the comments section below, but if you don't put in funds to the pool, I am going to either not include the comment or make some snide remark about you trying to get over or something.

When Swanky breaks down(and you know he will), the person who guesses the city, town, milepost marker on a highway or correct Yucca Tree in the desert, nearest in miles to the place where Swanky ends up at a mechanic, will be the winner.

In the event that more than one person chooses the nearest locale, the one who submitted their choice first will win, so long as that first entry has been updated in the blog post. If more than one wins and they didn't have the benefit of viewing the previous once via updated post, both will win(hopefully it won't be more than two...yikes!)

How to know the status? You can keep up with Happiegrrrl's travels and travails by watching the ClimbAddict Facebook Page. I'll post frequently there, so long as my computer doesn't break down...(that happened already about a month ago, and the motherboard was replaced, so we should be okay on that front – at least for a while.

And – one final note: I can REALLY use all the help I can get. Why not throw me a bone and link this blog pots to your own Facebook, Twitter or blog? I know it's not likely but if the thing goes viral and massive money comes in I promise a spanking brand new, fully-rigged, Sportsmobi....ummm, no. Just kidding. Excess funds will be equally divided as donations to the Mohonk Preserve, the Access Fund, and the 401C(3) registered charitable organization of choice of the winning guesser(s).

So – this really COULD be a pretty cool way to raise funds for some very worthy organizations, on top of the much less than worthy, me. Please DO help get the word out!

If you'd like to help Happie on her roadtrip, there are a few ways to do that! You can choose to support any of her online shops, such as ClimbAddict T-Shirts and Giftware for Climbers, Talisman Studios Hair Accessories or Or, you can send her a (very much appreciated) donation in any amount via PayPal, by clicking the button here:
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1 comment:

happiegrrrl said...

Yesterday I got an anonymous comment to this post which I inadvertently deleted instead of publishing. Well - okay - truth be told, I deleted in intentionally, as I was having a difficult time at the moment, very stressed, and reading "Are you for real?" didn't help.

But, that was the comment. So - yes, I am for real. And so is the Swanky Breakdown Pool. But nobody should feel ANY sense of obligation. Outrage? Well,m that's your issue, not mine. But, look at it like this: YOU are the one who has gotten something for no more than a bit of your time, since you have read the post(and now this comment). I know my writing is okay, and I know this post has some merit, as a creative work(It was done in one pass, no editing, by the way). If you enjoy reading, you've gotten more than your money's worth already. So - anyone who is peeved about this concept - certainly do not join the pool and give money to a person whose stance you cannot abide by. But do take a moment to realize that I have, in fact, given something to each and every one of you. Maybe you think the writing here's not worth much; not a problem. You paid very little for it - you got a bargain!