The Road to Cinci, Part 1: Car trouble

Several weeks prior to CinciClassic, I got into my car at work and proceeded to try to head home. I turned the key and everything started as it normally would: the lights came on on the dash and the dome lights were bright and cheerful. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, except for one thing: the car refused to start. Now, I'm not talking about a sluggish, half-hearted attempt at starting. Nope, this was a full-on, light-dimming silence. Nothing. Nada. Zip. I turned the key again, only to be greeted with uncanny and unwelcome silence. I repeated the exercise, and still didn't get a single turn-orver from the starter or the motor. "Crap, it must be the battery" I thought. I turned everything off in the car, and tried again. Still nothing. Stranger still, everything in the car powered up fine. The lights were bright, and didn't show any signs of dimming. Now I was really confused. If I had had something on in the car, I would expect it to not start. One time I left the lights on from a rainstorm, and the car didn't start. I expected that. I knew I messed up, and I knew the only way to fix it was to get a jump from someone. No big deal. This was different, though. This time, I hadn't left anything on. It wasn't my fault this time. I should have had a working car, but I didn't. Fortunately I got a jump from one of my co-workers. The car roared to life, and I drove straight home. (I didn't even stop at Meijer to pick up some jumper cables, figuring that would be the great irony if it didn't start up again). So, with the car parked at home, I went to start it again. The car roared to life again. Very strange.

We drove JoDee's car for the balance of the week. On the weekend, we drove my car (which started up again, thankfully) to my parents to try and fix the problem. My dad picked up a battery for the car, so we swapped out the battery for the new battery. I went to start the car. Nothing. I tried again. Nothing. We swapped batteries again. Nothing. The car refused to start in my parents driveway. Lucky for us, it managed to get to this point before starting it's madness again. We borrowed my parents car to get back to the apartment, and my dad took my car in for service.

My dad took the car over to an electrical specialist he knows, (who doesn't my dad know in the auto repair industry?) and the car proved once again to be puzzling. Even the specialist couldn't get it to consistently mess up. What was going on here? The prognosis came that it probably was the starter, but there wasn't a 100% guarantee that the starter was the problem. Great, so now we have an unreliable automobile? What to do?

Around that time, JoDee's car must have felt neglected, because it decided to set the Check Engine light. Thanks alot, vehicle... now we were stuck with an unreliably starting vehicle, and a vehicle that we had no clue what the problem was. What to do? Cinci was going to be a bust unless we rented a car, or borrowed my parent's vehicle.

Fortunately my parents, bless their hearts, just took delivery of a new Mercury Montego. While I question the sanity in getting another Ford vehicle after the issues we had with three out of the last four vehicles, it came at the right time for JoDee and I to ask another huge favor of my parents...

So, we borrowed my parents car, and drove to Cinci.

On the plus side, it has a tape player, so we didn't have to use the FM transmitter to listen to the MP3 player. :)