Impromptu Road Trip To Help With a Dead Alternator

When we were sitting at Victoria’s grandparent’s house in Bryan, her cousin Chris called and said he had broken down on the side of the road. Victoria’s uncle Craig and her grandpa jumped up and so did her brother Michael. I jumped up with them and we loaded into Craig’s Explorer and headed to Craig’s house to pick up some tools.

After hearing a quick list of the symptoms the car was having, it was clear the alternator was shot. I’ve been there and done that. These are the kind of things I have the tools in my car to address and be prepared for. When we made it to Craig’s house, I knew exactly what to grab out of the garage.

Chris was broken down about 15 miles from Caldwell. Caldwell is another 20 or so miles to Bryan. I figured we could charge the battery enough to limp him back home instead of having to get the car towed. We searched for Chris on the side of the road and finally found him. That’s where we hooked up the jumper cables to start charging his car. It fired up instantly with the jumper cables on so it was clear it was the alternator.

After letting it charge 10-15 minutes. We told Chris to haul as much as he can back to Bryan. He took off like a rocket. I’m not sure how fast he was going, but we thought he may have been going too fast judging by the red and blues we saw ahead of us.

Chris broke down again on the side of the road. This time, we’d let it charge a little longer. Since it was late December, it was cold, even by Texas standards. I’m kind of built for the cold so I was still walking around in my t-shirt.

After charging the battery a while we devised a plan to make it to Caldwell and then buy a fresh battery from Walmart. I knew I was able to get about 90 miles on a fresh battery when my alternator went out, so 20 more miles wasn’t that big of a deal. Chris was running low on juice so he found a closed gas station to pull into.

We all jumped in Craig’s Explorer and headed to Walmart to get a new battery,

Luckily I was only in a t-shirt because it kept myself from getting dirty when I swapped out the battery.

It only took me a few minutes and we were back on the road. Chris was able to make it back to his parent’s house. We then proceeded back to Victoria’s grandparent’s house, where we eventually had a drink and some BBQ to celebrate. In many ways this was a fun adventure and brought me back to when I was 18 and this kind of stuff was the norm. It became such the norm, I am always prepared for it and it can be a lot of fun to relive some memories, even if it’s trying to get another immobile car mobile again.

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