The night before my physics final exam, I went home to the observatory as usual. It was raining and there was a slight bit of fog. Later in the evening, I was talking to dad on the phone when he asked for some paper that I had in the car, I went out to get them. When I laid across the seat to get the papers, I looked over and saw the headlight knob was still pulled out. I thought “oh, crap”. I grabbed the keys and tried to start the car, but it was totally dead. I then went back inside and told dad. He told me to use my AAA card and call out a tow truck for a jump. I told him I would and that I would call him right back. I hung up the phone, but when I picked it back up again, it was dead. Soon after the power went out! I waited for a while, but the phone didn’t come back, nor the power. I remembered I had a CB radio in the car, but its batteries were dead and I couldn’t plug it into anything, so it was useless. After about two hours, about midnight, I decided that if I was going to make it to my exam in the morning, I would have to walk to the nearest town, Deep Gap. There was a small gas station there, but the walk was about 10 miles.
I grabbed my parka, some food and my 6 cell Maglight and started to walk. It was so foggy, that pointing the flashlight in front of me just blinded me, so I pointed it upward. After about an hour of walking, I could hear a car coming up the Blue Ridge Parkway. I waved it down with the flashlight and it pulled over. When the driver rolled down the window, I ran over and asked “can you help me?”, then I realized it was Dr. Mamola, my physics professor! That was a surprise! It turns out that dad had called him after he couldn’t get a hold of me. We drove, slowly, back up to the observatory and he began to help me jump my car. He had a small car, so it took a while to charge the battery enough to get mine started. But it was great when it did. We decided to run my engine for 10 or 15 minutes to give it a good charge when the radiator hose exploded on Dr. Mamola! We shut the car off and saw that luckily the hose just split at one end, so we cut the end off and were able to reconnect the hose.
At about 3 AM, the car seemed be running fine, so I thanked Dr. Mamola and he drove off. When I went back in the house the power and phone came back on….how convenient, so I called dad and let him know everything worked out ok. I then went to bed, setting my alarm clock for 6AM, giving my self plenty of extra time, just in case.
The next morning when I got up, the power was on, phone worked and the car started right up. Everything seemed suspiciously right as I locked the gate and drove away. I was thinking that I will be there in plenty of time. After driving about a mile down the dirt road I came around the corner and had to slam on the brakes! A tree, 3 feet across was laying across the road. I got out and looked for a way around. I measured the height of my roof and the height of the tree over the ditch on the left side. A match! Theoretically, I should be able to cut the small branches off and make it underneath. So, I did just that, broke off all the small branches, backed the car way up, took off the antennae, and floored it! As I entered the ditch, I felt the tree hit the top of the car pushing me further down in the mud, but I had enough momentum and made it! I stopped and got out to look for damage. Just a new scratch on the roof from a branch stub. Not bad!
I got to school and got into the exam with 5 minutes to spare! Afterwords, I went to thank Dr. Mamola for helping me out. We were talking when someone came in and said that someone had left there lights on in the parking lot. In a bit of irony, it was Dr. Mamola’s car. We laughed.