18 August 2014
Almost Stranded In The Desert
In short, this rental car is THE WORST. We're still not even sure it's a rental car because it was insinuated that it may in fact be Steve's car or Bob's car, just on loan to us for a few days. "You know, like borrowing your friend's car" is, I believe, what we were told. It has nearly 100,000 miles on it. The engine temperature dances up and down as we traverse hills or just sit idling. It stalls standing still. The fact that we've nearly driven half-way across Turkey and back is, in many way, a miracle.
Without question, our biggest near-disaster on the trip as a whole took place just after we'd turned off of a dirt track that guided us through the mountains from one valley into the next, cutting off about an hour of driving time as we didn't have to go AROUND the whole mountain range. By the way, this dirt track was on google maps as a legitimate road. More on google maps later. Anyway, we were back on the main highway and cruising along at about 75 miles per hour which may or may not be the speed limit. We can't be certain about such matters because there are no speed limit signs, except when they want you to slow down to 30 miles an hour occassionally for no apparent reason (which nobody does).
So we're cruising along and start up a grade. I downshift from fifth to what I think is fourth but accidentally go into second for a split second. Well, this just enrages the car, which starts into a total fit. I go into fourth and attempt to accelerate up this hil to no avail at all. Then to third. Still nothing. In second we're able to crawl at about 20 miles per hour, inching slowly upward.
Now, it is approximately 1000 degrees outside give or take. We're in the middle of what feels like the desert. The gearbox is clunking out. I felt fairly confident this was an easy fix but the group were undestandably restless and concerned. My main goal was to get to the top of the hill, as it's always easier to get back down facing forward than slide backwards down the side of a mountain. At least that's what I was telling myself.
We reached the apex of the pass after what felt like an eternity. The car was just chugging and chugging upward, several lights on the dash flashing, several pings coming at us in multiple tones, lengths, and strengths. I turned the engine off, reset the clutch, waited a moment, then turned the key in the ignition. Nothing. OH. GOD. Again. Nothing. Holy F*$@. I instantly started to sweat. Everything bad that could possibly happen to us was running through my head. Did we have enough water? Was there any food? How far was the nearest town? If it came to ultimate survival, who would be eaten first? Of course none of these things would happen because we had five iPhones between us, GPS maps, and we were on a very well-travelled highway but still, the irrational stress when stuck on the top of a hill in the middle of the desert when it is a million degrees outside is seemingly uncontrollable.
With all that on my mind I fiddled with the clutch, depressed the clutch and brake and turned the key. The diesel engine slowly chug-chug-chug-chugged back to life. Everyone in the car erupted in cheers and applause. I put the car into first gear and away we went, as if nothing had happened. But something had happened, and it was the damn Fluence's fault.
This is, of course, not the only thing that makes this car THE WORST. A few more:
The trunk. It's small and the hinges swing into the trunk, which makes it a pain in the rear to pack. It's also like tetris. Everything only fits in one way, as exhibited by this photo.
The iPod input cable. It's mini jack to RCA. WHAT YEAR WAS THIS CAR BUILT THAT IT HAS AN RCA CABLE IN IT?
Finally, a note on google maps. We're alll fairly certain they haven't been to Turkey. There are roads on google that don't exist in real life. There are roads that exist in real life that don't exist on google. There is highway after highway that just ends in a pile of dirt. On google maps, they carry on into the sunset. It's like two different countries, which has just added to the excitement and the adventure, especially when it's 700 degrees outside. Oh, have I mentioned it's HOT?!
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