Day Trip To San Diego (or Driving Disasters)

This past Saturday I went down to San Diego to spend the day with my grandparents. I hadn’t seen them since Thanksgiving, so I was way overdue for a trip down there.

The drive from my house to my grandparents’ place usually takes exactly 2 hours from my door to their door. There’s always a little traffic, but I usually can time out my drives to be when there’s the least traffic.

My drive down was pretty bad. From my house until Disneyland I was going at full speed. Then all of a sudden, traffic was ridiculous. I averaged about 20-30mph for the rest of the drive. It took me 4 hours to get there, and once I did arrive I was pretty exhausted.

As soon as I got to San Diego I picked up my grandpa to take him to the grocery store. That was a very easy and quick errand and we were back to my grandparents’ place within 30 minutes. Then I got to spend some nice quality time with my grandparents just chatting about anything.

We discussed my job situation, Tucker (who my grandparents haven’t met yet), politics, and lots of other random stuff. What I found most interesting was my grandpa talking about his time in WWII and the Korean War. I only learned recently that he was in WWII (it’s not something that’s ever really ever been discussed in my family) and I only learned on Saturday about my grandpa being a part of the Korean War. I know that my grandpa has been working on a book of all of his stories, and I really hope that he gets to finish it. There are so many things about him that I don’t know.

I also got to go to dinner with my grandparents. It was nice, but nothing too fancy. After dinner, it was time for me to drive home.

There was no traffic on the road when I started so I figured I’d be home in 2 hours.


After about 30 minutes of driving, my car chimed and in the dash it had a warning that said something like “Hot Engine Temperature”. I’ve had this warning once before and it went away after a minute of driving a little less aggressively. So I thought it might be the case again. Instead, after a few minutes of driving, the car chimed again and the warning now said “Stop Car Now”.

It’s never a good sign when your car says to stop. I pulled over to the shoulder of the freeway and then my car shut off by itself. The first thing I did was call my parents. I’m not sure what they could have done from a distance, but that’s my reaction when anything bad happens.

My dad told me to tell my car cool down for a minute and then to drive to an exit and get a tow back to LA. Fortunately, when my parents renewed my AAA membership they got me AAA Plus. That allowed me to get up to 100 miles of free towing (my old membership only had 5 miles of free towing).

When I called AAA, the guy who answered the phone knew exactly where I was from my description (it was an abandoned parking lot off of an exit near Camp Pendleton) so he could give the tow truck very clear directions for me.

Then I had to wait about 90 minutes for the truck to arrive. I tried to not be too upset or mad because I didn’t know what was wrong with my car but I was pretty sure I didn’t do anything to cause it. At least I had a nice view from the place I was waiting.


The tow truck finally arrived and I’ll admit that it was a little sad watching my car get put onto the tow bed.


2 hours riding in the tow truck later (which by the way I had the most awesome tow truck driver, Bob), I was home and my car was being unloaded.


I was able to drive my car into my driveway and when I did the warnings had all gone away. But I knew that there was something wrong with my car and I didn’t want to drive it until it was fixed.

Fortunately, I found a repair shop close to my house and open on Sunday! It’s called Fix Car Now and they have a couple of different locations. I took my car in Sunday at 8am and the shop gave me a ride back home so I didn’t have to wait there. At 9am I found out that the water pump cooling system for my hybrid motor (the electric motor, not the gas one) was broken. It’s a known issue for my car so they were able to get parts for it pretty easily.

It took until yesterday for them to finish my car, but I did get my car back and it’s running even better than before. My car had issues over the past few years switching from the gas engine to the electric engine. But now that my car was fixed, it’s switching as quickly as it did when I got it!

The lesson in all of this for me was to stay focused on positives and being grateful even when things seem to suck. I’ve owned my car since 2008 (I got it used) and besides having a dead battery once (the normal battery, not the hybrid one), this is the first problem I’ve ever had with this car. And since I’m not working yet, my parents were willing to help me the cost of this repair. And while I was sitting in the tow truck really mad about everything, I tried to find a really good positive about this situation. The one I came up with was technically the tow ride was saving me gas money since I didn’t drive my car home.

Even in the worst circumstances there’s always something positive you can focus on. Even if it’s something small or stupid, that’s what I need to think about and not all the negative things.

3 responses to “Day Trip To San Diego (or Driving Disasters)

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