I didn’t make it to Floydfest today


This is Tommy Bell winching my van up onto his tow truck. I had a complete transmission breakdown on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is one of the more scenic places to drive but there is generally no cell phone reception.

After a morning of chores, I had finally got things wrapped up and headed for FloydFest. The sun was still out and I was happily driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of the scenic wonders of Virginia. I did not have a care in the world and I would easily make it to FloydFest in less than a half hour.

Suddenly, the van sighed, at least that’s what it sounded like, and I lost all forward motion. The engine was running fine, but the transmission just quit working and I had no way to get off the highway.

After turning off the engine and restarting it, the transmission started working again for a few minutes and I was able to ease the van onto a grassy shoulder which was firm enough to support the vehicle.

I pulled out my cell phone and saw no bars at all, but the phone worked well enough for me to call Gretchen and ask her to send a tow truck. This was an absolute miracle because the Blue Ridge Parkway has really bad cell reception in this area.

It turned out that I was luckier than I knew because I could not receive incoming calls! My phone would chirp and tell me I had missed a call and had a voice mail from Tommy Bell’s Road Service. I would try to call him and I could only get his voice mail. We went back and forth for about fifteen minutes leaving messages for each other.

Once he knew where I was, he called the Parkway Service for permission to pick me up and arrived in about 15 minutes. The Blue Ridge Parkway does not allow commercial vehicles so tow trucks have to get permission to tow stranded motorists.

The rain started just as Tommy arrived. He brought the van and me down into Floyd where Protocol Automotive set about determining what was wrong.

Gretchen picked me up and I spent the rest of the day helping out in the studio under the Winter Sun. I figured if I can’t get to FloydFest, I might as well be doing something useful.

I will make it to FloydFest tomorrow.

Incidentally, I would have been OK even if the cell phone had not worked at all. Several people stopped and asked if I needed help and the Parkway Rangers stopped by to check up on me and to tell me that Tommy Bell was on his way. People are really helpful in this part of the country.

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