A few months ago I wrote a couple of posts telling about the adventures my old Dodge Intrepid and I shared. I’d intended to tell how she died. As I mentioned, when I was working in the Adirondacks the car would sit by itself for about a week at a time in the forest. I injured my back that summer and although I finished the job, I ended up spending a fair bit of that fall and winter laid up and doing physical therapy, getting to the point where I could walk without pain most of the time.
Now, a little common sense would have told me that leaving a car sitting in the woods for a week at the time would attract critters. But I didn’t have any car problems all that summer. I never ran the car more then perhaps 50 miles that winter, but come the spring I accepted a position down in Oxford Mississippi. I packed the car up and headed south for what should have been a two day drive. When I was about fifteen miles north of Cincinnati I got off the Interstate to find a quick bite and top the tank off. As I hit the cross road the engine died. I called AAA and had it hauled to the tow company’s garage. I found a cheap hotel nearby (and I mean crappy) and in the morning walked back to the garage. They did some sort of work and charged me for the work. Fifteen miles later it happened again. Naturally I shared my thoughts with them over the phone, and got it towed yet again, this time to the dealer. Fortunately another person who’d been hired for the same job was on the way through Cincinnati a couple hours behind me. We tossed my main luggage in the back of his Subaru and headed south aiming for Oxford.
A week later I heard back from the dealership. The actual problem wasn’t what the garage had claimed. Which wasn’t a huge surprise after the car failed again 15 miles after leaving the shop. Instead, mice had moved in under the hood, and over time had chewed off the insulation from foot upon foot upon foot of wiring. All told they suspected that several hundred feet of wire had been chewed and were causing random short circuits as I would hit a bump or pothole, freaking every electrical system in the car out. It wasn’t possible, or at least not cost effective to replace, and the car was effectively totaled by mice.
Now, as it turned out, the place we were all living in Oxford barely had parking for four cars, let alone five, so perhaps it was a blessing we didn’t have a 5th there, but losing the car was a hardship, and honestly it was a ridiculous way to have a car totaled.
If you’re interested in seeing photos from my time in Mississippi follow this link.