Sunday, February 17, 2008

A bad brake in Bingo

By K.J. Cardinal

It's 9:46 a.m. and I am coming to you live from the Sears Auto Center in the Oakdale Mall in Johnson City, N.Y. Pack Network was in town for yesterday's America East PackCast at Binghamton University's Events Center.

When we left my house on Friday night I noticed that my brakes appeared to be sticking a little and giving off a slight grinding noise. With a five hour drive in front of us and a later-than-anticipated departure time, Pack Network had to forge ahead with the trip.

We arrived safely at the Howard Johnsons on the Vestal Parkway (one of the worst hotels in America, by the way) around 12:30 a.m., slept for about six hours and then headed right to the Events Center. When we left the hotel for the arena, my brakes had noticeably gotten worse. They were grinding harder and louder and sticking more frequently.

What I should have done was taken the Xterra right to a mechanic to get it checked out, but with a PackCast on the horizon we stayed on course. After the PackCast, we packed up the Xterra and planned to grab a bite to eat before heading home.

As I put the Xterra in drive and started to head out of the Events Center parking lot...things had gotten horribly worse. The grinding was so significant that it took quite a bit of acceleration to even get going and then stopping was loud, choppy and inconsistent.

We still proceeded to head to get some dinner. As we pulled off Vestal Parkway, my brakes were coming and going. Thankfully I was driving slow, but on several occasions my brakes completely cut out...definitely a scary feeling

So, we were forced to get things fixed before the ride home. Being in Binghamton, N.Y. at 5:45 p.m. on a Saturday night, of course nothing was open. We had to get a tow to the Sears and wait for them to 0pen at 9 a.m. this morning to see if they can fix the Xterra.

Norm and Matt got a rental car and headed back to Boston last night as Norm had to work. Adam and I stayed in Bingo for the night. Adam's actually a Binghamton native, so we hung out with some of his old high school buddies last night, crashed at one guys house and now we're both on our dueling laptop and Sprint wireless cards from the waiting room of the Sears at the Oakdale Mall. We're total tools.

Anyway, as I was typing the above, things got progressively worse. The technician, Dwayne, came in to give me an estimate on the work and it's nearly $1K. Sweet! No other place is open today that can fix it, so our options are obviously limited if we want to get home today...which we do.

So, PackCast #8 of 9 was a disaster. Prior to the trip we talked about making the trip into a "Packumentary"...a documentary of the Pack Network trip. Regrettably we did not do so because it would have at least made this unfortunate trip somewhat worth it to have video evidence of this debacle.

Let's hope my next post is from Hudson...I can't take much more of the Southern Tier.

1 comment:

  1. Re-installing Anna's car seat in the Xterra this morning, I found an interesting little booklet that made me gasp...a Real Estate Guide for Binghamton, NY. After the guys' adventure to get the h-e-double-hockey-sticks out of that city, I knew this had to be a "curiosity killed the cat"-type of possession for Adam. Thank God!