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The Trip to Florida: The Terror of I-95


Well, it sorta began. Around 2pm on Thursday, I went to the rental store to pick up the auto transport I'd reserved. I was using my light pickup, because even though we had a Jeep Grand Cherokee (Limited Edition 5.2L V8, with optional Towing Package), we couldn't get to it until 8:00pm (after closing). This was deemed "all-right" by the good folks there, except for one thing.

The auto transport had been sent to the body shop that morning.

The manager, visibly embarrassed, spent a good half hour calling all the "connected" locations, trying to track down an auto transport. The closest one was in Fayetteville, an hour away. I got directions from the store down Fayetteville store, and we were there by 4:00pm.

But they couldn't rent us a transport, either

It turns out that when you rent any tow vehicle, you must always tow it with the same vehicle you rented it with. If you get in an accident, or other altercation with the law, and the tow vehicle is different from what it should be, the transport/dolly/trailer is considered stolen, and you go downtown. The Raleigh office didn't have a problem with that, since we were literally going around the block. The Fayetteville office did have a problem. By 6pm, we were back in Raleigh with a rented tow dolly, and behind schedule.

The Voyage Begins

Turns out we didn't get started until 11:00pm, anyway. Since we had a dolly, we had to remove the drive-shaft of the Monza for towing. This didn't happen until we got the tow vehicle. Then we needed food, and the only thing open was the nearby Waffle House. On the drive there, Rob (the owner of the Jeep), who'd never towed anything before, expressed concern over the handling of the Jeep. Ominous sings were coming fast and furiously.

Sean took the wheel after the Waffle House and pronounced the handling good. We took off for Florida, calling our gracious hosts and telling them not to wait up, or even get up early.

There's Something About Rest Areas

Lord only knows where we stopped. I'm remembering that it's the welcome center for South Carolina or Georgia. Anyway, we all stop and head for the rest room. I do my business, and hit the vending machines, arriving back at the Jeep to watch the car as Sean leaves to take a smoke break. Rob and (other) Sean show up, and the following conversation takes place...

Rob: "Did you see him?"

(other) Sean: "Man, that dude was strange."

Me: "Who? What? Where?"

Rob: "The guy in the bathroom. He was standing on the toilet, peeping over the wall of the stall"

Me: "Yeah, I saw him after he came out of the stall."

(other) Sean: "Didn't you notice how you kept running into him outside the bathroom?"

Me: "Not until now!"

Jesus is Lord Over Greater Orlando

At least according to the suburban baseball field wall just north of the city. Rob had been driving since Jacksonville, the sun had come up, and I was partially awake in the back seat. All these factors made seeing that sign the funniest thing. Believe me. Hysterical.

We pulled into the scenic apartment complex shortly thereafter, unleashed the car, got our stuff in the house, and lay down for a short nap. Our gracious hostess arrived shortly after we'd scouted out something to eat. After wrestling with the Monza on the tow dolly for about 10 minutes (after putting the crankshaft back in), we gave up and hooked the Jeep back up and made short work of the whole ordeal. A few minutes spent collecting essentials and we were on our way to the drag strip.

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