Today, while turning a corner, I heard a jolting noise and the car stopped – just past the intersection, but still blocking other traffic trying to turn. My first thought was “Oh, oh, I had hoped my transmission problem was fixed, but apparently it’s rearing it’s ugly head again!”
Just last night I received an email from a couple asking me for advice since they had read my posts about the problems I’ve had with my Ford Escape. See blog post 2009 Ford Escape Dinghy – Flat Towing Problems for that whole saga and documentation.
Once I realized the car would start but wouldn’t go, I got out and got on the phone trying to call Ford Roadside Assistance.
Meanwhile, a nice man came over and I told him I thought it was the transmission because I had issues with it before and he said, “Ma’am, you just lost your entire front axle and it’s laying in the road!”
After being on hold for at least 10 minutes, by that time a policeman was there to direct traffic, and I explained I was trying to reach Ford so they could call the tow truck but they weren’t answering and he said it had to be moved now. The nice local man who showed up at first, Bruce, said he would call a service that would take it to the nearby Ford dealership.
When the woman at Ford Roadside Assistance finally answered, I explained to her what was happening and that because she took so long to answer the phone, a tow truck was already called. I gave her all the information though, and asked if she had everything she needed so that I wasn’t charged for the tow. After driving me crazy asking for everything twice, she finally said she had it all and I told her I was going to the Ford dealer now, told her which dealer and where so she could send them the information.
But of course when I got to Soo Motors, they didn’t have anything in the system and the tow truck driver was asking for payment. The Ford service advisor, Sandee, was very nice, but said since the request didn’t come through Ford Roadside Assistance, I would have to pay and get reimbursed. Sandee reached them on the phone but they said they didn’t have anything in their system about my call! Great job with roadside assistance when it’s really needed, Ford!
OK, so I paid the tow guy his $60 and called Kathy, my contact at Ford from all the problems I had in May. Hearing her voice answer the phone and that she remembered me was like a blessing from heaven. She assured me I had a free rental car and she would personally talk to Sandee and do everything she could to get me on the road safely again.
However, Sandee said she couldn’t even get the car into a bay until Thursday at the soonest and that’s if the necessary parts were here then. As I found in the past, the Ford reps are very nice and try their hardest to be helpful – and I really, really do appreciate everything Kathy has done in the past and today, but I still think this Ford product sucks!
Now here’s part of the weird story that helps me think everything does happen for a reason, even this craziness that I really do NOT appreciate, no matter that I am grateful that it wasn’t worse:
In the last couple of days I’ve heard from two people telling me their tales of woe about their Escape transmission problems, one couple with only 23,000 miles on it and on their third replaced transmission – not to mention the disruption to their travels.
Same deal with another couple that got tired of replacing transmissions (with lengthy delays for parts, etc.) and having trips ruined, so they bought a Honda CR-V and asked Ford to repurchase the Escape, but they have refused.
Here is link to a document with those emails in full (without names).
So I went to bed last night after having emailed the last couple saying that I was grateful my last fix was still fixed and that I just hoped it held out at least until my big Michigan summer tour was over. My schedule is already jammed and I just couldn’t afford any interruptions or delays if I were to be able to see everything I really wanted to see.
I headed in to Sault St. Marie today to do the Soo Locks Boat Tour I’d been looking forward to. By the time I was almost there (about 14 miles from Brimley State Park) I looked around and thought I had left my camera at the RV. Oh wow – I can’t do the tour without my camera – I can’t believe I had left it behind! While I remembered to check if I had extra batteries, I really didn’t remember putting the camera in the car and I didn’t see it on the seat or in my purse.
So I started to head back to the campground to get the camera. I was trying not to get too worked up and pissed off and said a little prayer, “Lord, please help me to understand that this delay will work in my best interest and by tonight I’ll be saying a prayer of gratitude that if I hadn’t forgotten the camera, the good that came out of this delay wouldn’t have happened.” I remember smiling and wondering what good I would discover that would come from this later because I still wasn’t too amused in the moment.
The very next moment when I turned a corner after being stopped at a red light, I heard a sickening sound and the car stopped. My immediate thought was that my luck with the transmission had just run out. But I just hoped to get out of the intersection at that point because I was stopping other traffic from turning. I was able to start the car again, but it wouldn’t move. I put on the emergency flashers, got out, motioned “sorry” to the people behind me, got on the phone and started calling for roadside assistance as outlined above.
That’s when Bruce came over and said he had seen what happened from his office window above the Dairy Queen at the intersection. Once he showed me that my axle was actually laying on the ground and the wheel was all cockeyed, I was really mad I didn’t have my camera to take pictures and document this. I did think to use my cell phone, but I knew it didn’t take very clear pictures or video, and by the time the tow truck came and he was having trouble getting it onto the truck because the wheel wouldn’t stay on good enough to get it on the bed, I was really mad that on this one day I didn’t have my camera. I ALWAYS take my camera with me – what’s up with that???
So Bruce went and got his cell phone which he said takes good video and let me use it while I recorded the process because I was concerned that the car was going to be more damaged getting it on the truck. And in fact it was – the wheel jacked up the bumper so now the driver’s door makes a nasty noise when opened.
My poor little car all jacked up on the tow truck! That’s my angel Bruce walking away. If he hadn’t helped, I don’t think the tow guy could have done it by himself the way the wheel wouldn’t stay on right.
And the entire time, while I was trying to be brave and not cry (pretty hard at that point), Bruce kept assuring me that everything was going to be alright – that in fact things were alright at this moment. The situation was being handled, I was out of danger, the policeman was directing traffic around my car, and he would stay with me and take me to the Ford dealer once the car was on the truck. And he would get the video to me via flash drive from his phone. He even treated me to a Dairy Queen ice cream cone!
And here’s the kicker: by the time I got the rental car and started moving things from my Escape, I found my camera on the floor of the car! Don’t even ask me to explain that one!
So I really can’t say for sure at this point what the good is that came from this delay. Maybe it was that if I had gotten further up the road and into the more rural U.P., I wouldn’t have been able to get it towed or fixed as easily. Maybe it was that if I hadn’t turned around, I would have broken down in a worse spot without a Bruce there to help me get through it.
I do shutter to think about what would have happened if I had been driving faster on the highway when the axle broke. Or if I had been towing the car behind the motorhome…
So I totally know it could have been a lot worse.
And I continue to affirm that miracles and angels follow me around even when I’m not aware of them. And the Park Ranger who is managing Brimley now, Trisha, just sent a worker over to check on me after telling me there was no problem extending my stay while I’m dealing with this drama. That actually brought tears to my eyes. I’m still constantly amazed at how incredible people can be, and especially so in Michigan.
And Bruce just emailed me to say he had the video I took on his phone on a flash drive for me. I’ll go pick it up and will still make that Soo Locks Boat Tour another day.
And he just emailed me this parting message:
“Sometimes I have found that life sends us calamity so that we can appreciate the quiet times. Or so that we are made stronger for navigating through them. I sense that you are a navigator.”
Sometimes a reluctant navigator, Bruce, but I will just keep on truckin’ … and try to keep grateful for it all, even when I don’t really understand anything. Thanks for everything, everyone, and for all the words of encouragement and support – it helps, it really does!