Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The $17,000 Triathlon--Deuces Wild Triathlon Festival

"When's Jimmy going to buy a new car?" my dad asked Thursday night.
"I don't know. When we've saved up enough when I'm done with school. Like in a year--it has to last one more year. That's it." I said.
"It's going to stop running pretty soon."
"Thanks for your faith in the Blizzay Wizzay, padre. It's gone this far, I think we can get one more year out of it."


There is nothing 25 miles West of Blythe, CA. It is a hot desert, with bushes so sparse, they can't be used for shade, nor to hide your bum from mooning passers by on the I-10 when you have to pee. I know. I sat out there for an hour Friday. And I really had to pee.

Coachubby had been filling his coolant up regularly lately, as it seemed to keep disappearing. Sparky, my car, had had the same problem. However Sparky was incontinent, and his mess always appeared wherever he was left alone for a little while. The Blizzay Wizzay seemed to be more of a coolant gourmande.

Had we been people, like, say, my brother or dad, who listen to their cars instead of driving them into the ground, we might've thought twice about taking the Blizzay Wizzay across the desert with such a coolant binge disorder.

So when the engine started overheating around Palm Springs, we dumped more water into the coolant tank, and kept on keeping on. Almost all the way to Blythe.

When the Blizzay died 25 miles West of Blythe, we knew we had to do something to keep him going a little farther--basic AAA only covers 7 miles of towing.

5 different cops hung out on a freeway on-ramp with us, waiting for a call from an airplane I couldn't see so they could take down some highly unsuspecting speeders. After letting the Blizzay Wizzay cool down a bit, he fired up again, and we used the on-ramp's downward momentum to try to get closer to Blythe so we could save a buck. Or $100. We certainly weren't worried about being busted for speeding. Impeding traffic? Yes.

The Blizzay finally started to clank and rolled to a stop next to a call box. It might've been just about 7 miles from Blythe.

Two chatty AAA tow truck operators came to rescue us, telling us how it was nice that we stood to the side, because some dumb stranded people stand directly behind their cars while the car is being loaded onto the pickup bed and the operators don't trust the hydraulics and the car could roll back at any time and have you ever seen the Darwin Awards? because that would be a stupid way to die and man it's freakin' hot I want a milkshake what's wrong with your car?

I realized later that God had three goals for me this past weekend. This was the first of God's Goals for Erin (GoGoFoE):
  1. To get me to stop calling Blythe, CA, "the Devil's Ball Sack", by proving friendly people live there.
After an $85 diagnostic check, Shain, a skinny, grease-covered mechanic about my age, told us it was bad.
How bad?
The Blizzay needed a new engine. There was coolant in the oil. The engine block was cracked.
How much?
How much is the Blizzay worth?
Right... Can we rent a UHaul and haul the junker to my parents' front yard in Phoenix?
No UHauls left.
What do we do?
There are UHauls in Quartzite.

We rented a Kia Minivan--available only for 2 hours that afternoon--to drive 20 miles East to Quartzite, pick up a giant UHaul, drive it and the minivan back to Blythe, pick up a tow dolly, strap on the Blizzay (but only after paying another $25 to have Shain take apart its drive train, since it's a rear-wheel drive truck, and we didn't want to destroy the drive train...I don't know why it mattered, really), and start driving the 150 miles to Phoenix at 55mph.

The late-afternoon Kia renters passed us 10 miles into our trip.

We got to Phoenix at 7pm. We had left LA at 6am. There was no way we were driving (and in what would we drive?) another 3.5 hours to Show Low. Poof! There went 2 half-ironman entry fees, and a hotel reservation.

After filling up on mom's good cooking, we passed out hard. Just as hard as if we had raced on Friday.

There was no way we were going to miss the Xterra race, too. We needed a car and needed it now.



  1. You can't leave us hanging like that!

  2. Haha! It's coming. I got tired :)