With Rob behind the wheel, we were all reasonably certain Ol Pompey would hold up just fine. We had gotten her checked out by a mechanic earlier that day and despite the smoke we’d seen coming from the front brakes, we were assured this was just from over-use and the breaks were good to go.
Although Charlie had made the trip to the glacier that morning without any difficulties, apparently Pompey didn’t like the way Rob was driving because, after about a half an hour of driving, shit got real.
Since every bridge in New Zealand is one-lane, one direction of traffic must stop and give way before getting on the bridge. I knew this, Rob knew this, and our American travel companions knew this; however, in this particular situation, stopping was a little easier said then done.
As we got closer and closer to the cars in front of us, Rob still wasn’t stopping, and slowly cries of “Rob! Rob! Rob! STOP!!!” started coming from the backseat drivers. Thinking he was perhaps just being a little careless, we were all put on full alert by Rob’s response of, “I can’t!!!!”
Luckily for us, there was an area of the side of the road and Rob was able to glide the car to a complete stop while avoiding hitting any cars or driving us straight into the river.
A little shaken by what just happened, we had a Team America Pow-Wow to debate where to go from here. With no one really wanting to make a decision potentially endangering the lives of every passenger in the car, we spent about an hour on the side of the road before eventually deciding to drive the car, super-slowly, back 10 minutes to the town of Fox and hope that a mechanic was still open.
Charlie had gotten pretty good at the whole “not using the breaks” thing so the group trusted him to get us back to the town and hope from the best from there. Driving outrageously slowly and testing out the breaks from time to time to ensure they were at least somewhat functioning, we made our way back to Fox and to the local garage.
To our relief, the garage doors were still open and Charlie went inside to explain our current situation to the mechanic and see if there was anything he could do to help us out.
I think it’s safe to say we were all pretty surprised when a couple of minutes later Charlie, normally an extremely “chill” kid, walked out of the garage shouting over his shoulder, “Yea, thanks for the help you fucking asshole!”
As you can imagine, our reaction went something like this.
“WOAH! WOAH! WOAH! What the hell just happened in there?”
Charlie responded, “I told him about our breaks not working and told me to learn how to drive you fucking American. Then I just asked if he wouldn’t mind looking at our car really quickly and he said he was going to charge us double to look at it.”
“Then what happened?!”
“Then I told him he didn’t have to be an asshole and he told me to get the fuck out or he was going to kick my ass.”
We all sort of stood there in shock trying to process the outrageous interaction Charlie just described to us. I’ll admit, I found it a little unlikely that things had gotten so heated so quickly. As a fairly levelheaded person, I considered going back into the shop to see if I could play mediator, diffuse the situation, and get our breaks looked at.
These thoughts were quickly squashed by the mechanic emerging from the shop, wiping the grease off a 3 foot steel rod, staring directly at Charlie, and saying, “You better get the hell out of here before I shove this rod up your ass!”
I can now confidently say, nothing makes you forget about shotty breaks quicker than a scary looking mechanic wiping grease off a steel rod barking threats at you.
Getting into the car, we made a game-time decision that, despite his threats, the second mechanic’s advice of “learn how to drive you fucking American” was his way of saying go easy on the breaks. Since this matched the “over-use” explanation we received that morning and we didn’t have much of a choice, we got back on the road and headed for a town in New Zealand were there wasn’t a big scary guy threatening to kill us.
Since you never know when the next time we are going to post on the blog I think it’s probably worthwhile to end this post with a spoiler alert. That was the last time we experienced any car issues and, even if we had, we probably wouldn’t have gone to a mechanic anyway because apparently they are all dickheads in New Zealand.
Moral of the Story: If, on the off chance, you are looking for a greasy mechanic to shove a 3 foot rod up your ass… we know just the guy for you!