We were headed down to the Centurion Reunion at Lake Norris last weekend. We were about 23 miles from Tennessee when I noticed the Transmission Hot warning on the info space on the instrument panel of my Avalanche. I was towing my Centurion Enzo with my Chevy Avalanche. I stopped and called AAA for information – no help there. Then I called my Chevy dealer back in Columbus. They said to run the engine to help cool the transmission. Once cooled run the truck in 3rd – Tow mode rather than D – Tow mode. A tow truck also pulled over looking for business. The tow truck driver was friendly but I sent him on his way.
I also called Roy to let him know we were having problems. Roy suggested avoiding Jellico Mountain on I-75 and taking the first exit in Tennessee. Jellico is a killer mountain, long and with a steep grade. I took the first exit, 25W; we were good until we reached the top of the first major incline. We again ran the engine to cool down the transmission. I unhitched the boat and left two of my crew with the boat. A lot of locals stopped by to check on the boat. One said it was a good thing that we left someone with the boat because he had a trailer hitch.
The truck made it in to LaFollett. Roy called while we were on the way in to town and drove over to meet us at the Chevy dealership. We emptied our gear out of the truck and left the truck for the dealer to check. That was Friday afternoon. Then I called AAA to find a tow truck to tow the boat to the Shanghai Marina. The tow truck driver picked up the boat and launched it for us. All of our group, my crew and Roy’s family, met for dinner at the Shanghai Resort. We met with Josh at 77 Marine and Joe B.
The Chevy dealership couldn’t tell me anything until Monday. So what to do until Monday, surf that’s what. We surfed Saturday and Sunday. The dealer recommended a remanufacturered replacement but they wouldn’t be done until Tursday. I could probably do better back in Columbus but I wasn’t sure the truck could make it that far. I also didn’t want to leave the truck with a non-Chevy shop since I was far from home. I couldn’t believe that after 65,000 miles I lost the transmission in my truck, I’m a little disappointed.
Roy was helpful the whole time. Sunday afternoon Robbie took the rest of my crew back north and I stayed back with Roy and Family waiting to hear about the truck. One of my crew offered to pick up the boat Monday but I decided to leave it at Roy’s. Roy was headed back north Tuesday so I hung out at the cabin, started reading a book and of course we surfed. After three days of surfing my legs were getting a bit tiered. An old group of Roy’s friends were on the lake that week. I had dinner with this group twice – thanks guys. I coached Peg so she could pop a little air on a wakeboard. Then on Tuesday we took Roy’s family wakeboarding behind the Mighty Enzo. Later we took about five, mostly kids, from Roy’s old group of friends out wake surfing behind the Mighty Enzo. Teaching or helping people wakesurf, ski, wakeboard – whatever behind a boat is one of my favorite activities. We got everyone up wakesuerfing and at least free riding. Peg did better than Mark. The kids all did great.
Somewhere in the middle of Monday afternoon we also went to the jumping rock. The jumping rock is a cliff that’s maybe 25 to 35 feet above the water line. Kay jumped with Roy for the first time. Then I took Kay for a second jump, my first. The jumping rock was pretty cool.
Our annual family vacation was supposed to start that Monday. I didn’t get home until Tuesday. Man was I going to be in trouble back home! The only penalty is that my kitchen pass for the week before vacation has permanently been revoked. Once home I hurried to pack to get on the road to recover our vacation plans. Our plan was to visit three colleges with my daughter; that school in that state up north, Illinois, and Wisconsin then site see at the Wisconson Dells, House on a Rock, The Frank Lloyd Wright Teresian House, and so on. My wife and daughter did that school up north Monday without me. We got to Illinois Tuesday evening and now we’re basically back-on-track. Not too bad.
When calling home to work out plans Roy overheard me explain to Kelly, my daughter, that we wouldn’t be able to take a group of her friends out on the Mighty Enzo on the Friday after vacation because I would have to drive back down to Tennessee that Friday to pick up the boat and truck. Within about two minutes Roy invited Kelly and her friends down to the cabin on the recovery mission; spend the whole weekend at his amazing cabin. Kelly is working Face book and getting her friends on board for the trip, she’s excited.
Anytime you have a vehicle break down is bad news. Breaking down away from home is worse. On this occasion I can’t think of a better place to be stranded and I can’t think of a better group of people, Roy’s family, my crew, Roy’s friends, to be with. Boaters are just the best people.
Roy and family, crew, and others - Thanks!