Basil and the pothole from hell

Poor Basil.  He has suffered immensely this winter.  Still, our Mini Cooper has, like us, managed to survive this record-breaking winter and has been buried in snow more times than I can recall.  At least digging him out isn’t so bad most of the time since he is so small.  And it certainly makes it easier to park in narrow spots nestled between snow piles.

But getting through this winter unscathed was not meant to be, I guess.  Last night, on Route 99 where it goes under Rutherford Ave in Charlestown, we hit what was probably the biggest pothole I have ever seen, at least on a road that wasn’t being washed out underneath.

Since it was in the dimly-lit underpass, I didn’t see it at all until we were about 10 or 12 feet away.  This thing must have been at least 2 feet across.  In fact, its size was so impressive and its effect on our car so traumatic that I couldn’t believe that no one else had not had a similar encounter.  And it isn’t.  While running our errand in Everett, we ran into two completely unrelated random people who both knew where this pothole was, because they had both hit it before.  And one of these guys was a police officer (he was in civilian clothes when we talked to him, so I am not sure where he worked).  In fact, the officer said he had already reported the hole after he hit it himself.

So why then were people like me still hitting this thing?  I can understand if they hadn’t been able to properly fill it in yet, but this thing had not even been marked in any way.  It was large and deep enough that they probably should have marked it off with cones and one of those light-up signs telling everyone to get in the left lane.  On a lot of cars, that is probably the kind of pothole that blows out tires, maybe even breaks axles if you are going fast enough.  In other words, it can cause serious accidents.  And with a tiny car like ours, the jarring effect on our car was like we had been in a collision.  It actually broke fasteners on pieces of trim around the car.  Everything loose inside the car bounced crazily: the GPS bounced off the dash onto the floor, and the hit was hard enough that some rockhound tools I had in the back actually bounced out of their container, and those are quite heavy.   If we hadn’t had run-flat tires, the car probably would have not made it out of that tunnel.  As it was, we barely managed to limp to Everett to finish our errand to this place on Broadway.

Basil says "ouch".
Basil says “ouch”.

Good thing I always have a portable air pump in the car.  Once we parked and Kelly went inside, I grabbed the pump and my manual tire gauge and went out to check the damage.  The right rear tire had managed to lose a lot of air (it was down to maybe 12 PSI) but I managed to get it back up to something close to normal.  The right front tire was the tire that took the brunt of the damage, apparently.  I could not get that tire to take any air, and it was down as far as the needle on the pump  gauge would go.  And, by the way, all of this is taking place in a pouring rain, because why not?  If you’re going to have a bad day, better it be raining than sunny, I suppose.

 

Flat tires in the pouring rain are always fun.
Flat tires in the pouring rain are always fun.

And as I was pumping it, the trim around the right headlight just fell off.  I picked it up and then walked around, trying to find any visible damage.  It looked like there was some damage to both rims on the right side, and what looked like nicks and dents in other places I had not seen them before.  So Kelly and I put the hazards on and drove back to Cambridge quite slowly, trying to make it easy for people to pass us.  On the way Kelly started the claim with USAA on her smart phone.

Basil is falling apart.  Emotionally, that is.
Basil is falling apart. Emotionally, that is.

So Basil is, for the moment, not going anywhere.  And since the truck has been parked since sometime in February (when it got totally buried) and will probably need to have the battery jumped off at minimum, it’s not going anywhere either.  And all right around the time money starts becoming tighter.

-Geoff

 

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