Friday, September 4, 2009

Dry run

November 19, 2008 - Wednesday

Speaking of the Bonnie claiming it's running dry... Well, I've learned the limits of the ol' ghetto cruiser.

The Bonnie's gas gauge can swing from empty to full or backwards in a second, depending on how ornery she feels or how fast I'm driving. I usually figure that after 400 km, I need to refill; that's about when the light comes on. So the light came on yesterday, but I wanted to wait until lunch today, when I drive by an Avia station so I can use my card or Reka checks.

That didn't end up being such a good idea, especially since Florian drove Joshua to his guitar lesson last night and then rescued Selim somewhere in Zürich when the Hyosung's battery died for the umpteenth time.

I left home around 0600 - a bit later than usual - rolled down the Büchel hill to the bus stop, halted to check for traffic... And suddenly there was a "bing," the car demanded "Engine Service Now," and died.

That is to say, the MP3 was still playing, lights were still on, but I couldn't give any gas. I rolled it across the intersection and got it up on the sidewalk, out of the way of traffic, tried to start it, was unsuccessful, and called Florian.

He was none too happy to have to play a 24-hour rescue service for me. He'd been up until 2 a.m. that morning programming his new 700.- phone/navigation system/mini computer and thought he could sleep in before school. But, like the kind brother he is, he rode on down on the Tweety Bird, tested the battery, found it had 13 V and was fine, checked the oil, sat in the driver's seat and started up the engine.

No problem.

Then Dad turned up, on his way to Opa's, looked around too, asked what had happened, and the Bonnie started to cough and spit and finally died again. "Well, maybe there's something wrong with the starter motor," suggested Dad. "Or your compressor... Or maybe you've got dirty gas in there and it's pulling at the dregs."

I was thinking, Achim, if you don't have my bike ready today I'm going to be upa creek. Florian said I should take the Tweety Bird home and he'd wait until the car cooled off a bit and we'd get it home. Dad went on to work,

I donned my motorcycle gear from the trunk of the car, and Florian tried to start her. She whirred, but there was no spark of life. I went over to investigate. Florian looked at me suspiciously. "There's 450 km on the tacho. When do you usually refill?"

"Er... 400," I said, in a very small voice.

It's okay, you can laugh. Cinzia was roaring for a good five minutes when I told her the story this morning.

Yeah, so Florian fetched ten liters from home, and the Bonnie purred to life. I refilled her right away in Adliswil, and that's the end of that problem. I might have the most reliable car in the world, but it won't run without gas.

And hey, in my defense, I didn't forget to refuel. I just thought she couild go a bit longer. The light always comes on fairly early, and the gas gauge travels its semi-circle at will. But from now on, 400 km means refuel. Now.

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