Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Supra Arrival

In the beginning........



And then the driver from Reliable Carriers called indicating Ms Swan had been picked-up, and was on her way to Colorado!


The original plans for the car were to park it at my son's place, drive the Jeep towing a trailer to Colorado, rest a few days, and then fly back to LAX or LGB, have my son pick me up and take me to his place, check the car, and then head back to Colorado.

Well, between seeing the "Next Services 134 Miles" signs while I was pulling the trailer, and planning the trip back in the Supra, I realized I had some deferred maintenance on the engine that really needed to be done before heading out on an 1100 mile trip through some pretty desolate and uninhabited territory. There are "soft items" on this engine that need regular maintenance/replacement at specific intervals, like the timing belt and tensioner, and if you want that legendary Toyota Reliability, you follow the schedule. And since ALL the hoses and clamps appear to be original 33 year old items, they need to be replaced, too, along with new belts and a new water pump. It's pretty silly to tear down the front of the engine to replace the timing belt AND tensioner (another "$25" part), and not replace the $25 (gasket included!) water pump. I have all the parts sitting on the shelf now, but last September I found myself out of air speed, altitude, and ideas all at the same time, so the car got bypassed.

Then we got packed and moved out here, found and bought a house, and had some issues requiring our full attention, including a garage, basement and house full of boxes, and that  meant the car sat longer.....

And longer....

And longer....


So I made the decision to get it shipped here, and went with Reliable Carriers, based on their media exposure (TV and print), their 50 years of experience moving cars, and little else. Went online, requested a quote, and received a reply a short time later. I bit the bullet and accepted the $1407 cost for door-to-door enclosed transit. My credit card was charged at the speed of light, and I sat back and waited to hear from them.

And waited....

And waited....

And waited some more. After almost 4 weeks, I called them to see what was going on and was told it hadn't been assigned to a truck yet. The person I talked to was very helpful, and explained they had a big auction in Scottsdale, a major car show in L.A., and business was up 25~30% over last year. He made a note in my file that I was getting very concerned that a month had gone by, and NOBODY had contacted me. If I would have called to get the quote and spoken to somebody, I probably would have been given some kind of rough estimate of time-to-pick-up. But I didn't, doing the whole transaction over the web. What caught me totally by surprise was the complete LACK of communication. HEY! It's the year 2018, and modern Enterprise Software makes it pretty damn easy to autogenerate emails at the conclusion of an electronic transaction. I don't know how many times I've bought something online, and was bombarded with emails containing order status, shipping status, and delivery status. Yes, I know shipping a car is different than buying a new TV, but the software managing such transactions should do more than just accept your order and charge your credit card. Their website also has NO provision for a customer log-in or creation of a customer account. Pretty crude stuff for 2018.

Now being a "Sample of ONE", I'm not going to slam them, as it's always possible I'm the one that fell through the cracks. But as Rev Paul noted in a comment to a previous post, all those "reality" car shows on the Velocity Channel make it look like you call them, and POOF, a tractor-trailer appears the next day. *Maybe* for Wayne Carini, but sure aint gonna happen for me!

Last Tuesday I received a text from the ex saying Reliable had called her, and would be there to pick up the car in a couple of hours. The truck showed up, and other than a completely dead battery (son triggered alarm, couldn't turn it off, battery died under load and was never disconnected), the loading process went smoothly, and the driver called me that night from somewhere in Utah ( ! ) to give me an update and introduce himself. He called again on Wednesday and Thursday night, and on his last call he said he would be there Saturday late morning or early afternoon. Friday morning he called from Johnson's Corner in Loveland, about 20 miles away, and asked if I knew what the weather forecast was. I read him the NWS report for Fort Collins, and he decided that he'd rather get the delivery out of the way today than wait for Saturday and fight the snow.

So, about 90 minutes later he calls for final vectoring in, and I went down to the corner to flag him down. Since we live on a cul-de-sac, he parked on the road in to our section so he could unload. The hand cart on the side walk has the new battery I bought the day before.



First peek at her after FIVE MONTHS.



Ms Swan was escorted on her trip out here by this brand new AMG Mercedes "V8 biturbo" that the driver picked up at the Mercedes facility at The Port of Long Beach after he loaded Ms Swan on board.


It was quite an operation getting this ready to move to it's new spot on the trailer. The car was covered in thin plastic (like "Painter's Plastic Sheet") besides being strapped down with a ratchet strap over each tire, which was securely attached to the trailer ramps the car was parked on. After completing a checklist, he fired it up, backed it out on the loading platform, then raised the platform with the remote control you can see hanging by the coiled cord, and drove the car all the way forward into the truck.


At this point, I was allowed on the trailer so I could help him swap the battery out, and then after he instructed me on EXACTLY what to do, and what his hand signals meant, *I* fired Ms Swan up, and backed her out on the ramp. He lowered me to the ground, and I drove the car onto our street, headed for my open garage door, and promptly got stuck in front of my own house......!

It turns out that big, wide "Extreme Summer Performance" rated tires don't work very well at 38* on 2" of packed snow over ice. It took about 10 minutes of surprise, anger, frustration, and humor before my "Illinois Winter Driving" program got loaded from the archives, and I remembered how to properly rock the car with whatever little traction was available.

I finally got enough forward momentum going that I was able to get off the ice and on dry pavement, and then over the insane curb we have, and up on the driveway.

The end result?



And we finished just in time, as the snow started to come down pretty heavily as he was leaving.



So, the pack is all back together, and when Pebbles came out in the garage and saw Ms Swan the first time, her tail started to wag.

Sunday is the grandson's first birthday party, and we're having it here. It's the first family event of many more to follow in our new place, so we're in deep clean/declutter/spit shine mode here. Even though the weather is quite nice and things in the backyard are drying up, the vertical antenna project gets pushed to the right some more due to family obs.

14 comments:

  1. In every vehicle I own is some ice melt. One big bag broken down into smaller containers. When you have no traction, a couple of handfuls spread in the direction you want to move should give a rough enough surface for traction. Can't recall how many times this has saved me aggravation over the years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And I'll make up some containers of it for the wife's car and the Jeep.

      THANKS!

      Delete
  2. Pardon me while I pound my head on the keyboard over the fact I have an open 25 lb bag of it in the garage.......totally forgot about that stuff, AND the large pieces of cardboard on hand AND the large piece of carpet in the garage......

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And the ubiquitous ice scraper individually assigned to the Supra.

      Delete
    2. It's never going to be intentionally driven in weather that would require that gear aboard. I'd grab the one out of the Jeep, the wife's car, or grab one of the spares we have in the garage.

      BUT...there are times in the winter when it's been cold and dry with no precip, and the roads are bone-dry. Taking your car out on nights like that, and having all that cold, dense air feeding the engine, can be a very nice drive.

      Delete
  3. Woo Hoo! Baby is home! Now you'll have to wait three months to drive her... sigh... :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup. The Tribe is all together again.

      See reply to LL about waiting.

      Delete
  4. Good News! Glad you got her home safe and sound. I didn't know about the ice melt stuff, guess it would be in my best interest to be getting some for the Rav4 and the pickup,Hank.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, yeah! The only thing I have left to worry about in SoCal now is my son.

      Delete
  5. LL. Yes to the scraper, and we have found out that the "two is one, one is none" thing really applies to ice scrapers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OK, everybody, I'll get a couple of more scrapers.....

      Delete
  6. I'm happy to see Ms. Swan in your new home, and apparently in the same condition as before. Congrats!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She's pretty filthy from sitting outside uncovered for 5 months, but appears to be in the same condition as when I parked her at my son's house.

      Since it's going to be SEVENTY degrees on Saturday (tomorrow), I'm going to back her out and scrub her down!

      Delete
  7. "The only thing I have to worry about... is my son" -- I totally sympathize!

    ReplyDelete

Keep it civil, please....