Palm Springs Again: Roadside Assistance

Odometer (Legend):  532,000


Odometer (ILX):  107,466


Trip Distance:  536 Miles


“Quartzsite tow” I googled on my iPhone.  When the representative from Everett’s Towing answered the phone, I told her my situation.  “I’m at the Bouse rest area eastbound on I-10 about 30 miles from Quartzsite with a dead battery.  Can you send a truck to give me a jump?”  Meanwhile I was reaching out of my comfort zone by walking up to random people at the rest area: Tourists in a rental Caravan, a guy in a white PT Cruiser, a couple in a black Acura TL-S, and a family in a Ford pickup.  Nobody carries jumper cables these days!


Location reference.  AKA:  Middle of nowhere, smack-dab in the desert.


My predicament happened because while my friend Justin was in the bathroom, I left the car’s ignition turned on so that I could stay in the car and use my work laptop which was plugged in to recharge.  I guess the laptop sucked a lot more power than I thought it did.  When Justin came back and hit the red START button on the instrument panel, lights flickered, the engine jolted briefly, and then everything went dark. My heart sank as I realized what had happened.  At over 107,000 miles and with 2.5 solid years of daily use, the ILX’s battery has been getting a little more tired lately so I should have known better.

Stressed out about making it home to Phoenix (still a 90-minute drive away) so Justin could make it to a volleyball tournament, we anxiously watched the clock as we awaited help from the tow company.  Then, a light bulb went on.  We remembered that stick shifts can be push-started.  It was a long shot, but we decided to try our luck at doing the same with the ILX.  Because of the angle of the parking lot, it made the most sense to conduct our experiment in reverse, so I took the driver’s seat and released the parking brake.  Justin gave the car a hearty push from up front and I started coasting rearward in reverse with the clutch depressed.  When I felt like I had some pretty good momentum, I kicked my leg off the clutch pedal abruptly and the car came to life.  Genius!  Saved by a manual transmission.

Meanwhile, I felt bad leaving the tow driver high & dry so I called and offered to pay him for the time he’d already spent heading my direction.  Lesson learned:  I’m putting jumper cables in the car tomorrow.

It was a quick out-and-back weekend trip to Palm Springs, California for a party hosted by my friends Scott & Sandy.  Their beautiful home was dressed to the max and bustling with dozens of people, Christmas music, and plenty of cheer.  Justin and I had the chance to take a spin in Scott’s nicely restored 1966 Mustang in the perfect top-down weather before making our return trip to Phoenix the following day.  Here are a few quick pics from the weekend.

Pit stop in Desert Center, California


Interstate 10 westbound


Backyard with a golf course view


Party hosts


Home exterior, with the palms decked out in blue lights


Following Scott in his new 1993 Legend LS coupe


Taking a look at some old iron.  Pictured here is Scott’s 1959 Mercury Park Lane.  Massive!


Out for a spin in the 1966 Ford Mustang 289 V8 with “Pony Package” interior.


Mustang in rare “Emberglo” color.  A real beauty!


19 Responses to “Palm Springs Again: Roadside Assistance”

  1. I was having a tough time trying to figure out what to send you for a Christmas present. No longer an issue. When the box arrives from Duluth, Georgia, You will know what is inside of it.

    • Haha! I used to have a set, but can’t remember where it ended up. One of these days I also want to equip each of my cars with a full size spare. Coupe and sedan are already covered.

  2. autoscribe74 Says:

    Pop-starts: long live the manual! And I love the shot of Scott’s Merc next to your ILX. Which looks more futuristic?

  3. Who knew modern cars can still be started the old fashion way. Still very impressive after 2 1/2 years, most in Arizona only last about a year.

  4. Tyson, I never knew push-button ignition cars could still be started that way. Good to know. 😉 I guess this goes down in your stats as the first time the ILX left you stranded? Scott has some nice metal there!

    • Yes, this was the first time the ILX has failed me. Though, it was kind of my own fault. In order to do the push-start, we had to have the ignition “on” (START button pressed twice, so the dash lights came on with what little power the battery had left). I was actually quite surprised it worked, too. Pretty sweet.

  5. The previous Integra battery lasted 6 1/2 years . . . complete miracle.

  6. The old jump start on a manual transmission trick. I remember doing that several times when I used to drive a stick.

    The lighter the car the better in order to push it. 🙂

    I also used to have an Acura Integra from 1987. The battery lasted me more than four years once. However, with modern cars and their power hungry ways, you can’t expect that anymore. A lot more electronics on cars nowadays consume more electricity. I try to change batteries nowadays every 2 years. Life will treat you good this way Tyson. 🙂

    I hope you have a fresh battery in March for your San Francisco and hopefully New Orleans trips 🙂

    • That sounds like a good rule of thumb to do the every 2 year interval. Do you have any pictures of your old Integra? I’ve been thinking of picking one up. Perhaps a 2nd generation model (1990-1993). You have a good memory – yes San Fran is on the calendar for March, and hopefully NOLA around then too!

  7. I did remember you mentioned traveling to San Francisco during your last post. I have never been there but would love to one day.

    I have some pictures somewhere. I have to look for them. I loved that Acura Integra. It was the first generation Integra from 1987 with the pop up headlights.

    It looked just like the one pictured in the link below:

    Are you planning to buy a second generation integra to keep for yourself or to fix it up and sell it like you have posted on your blog in the past? I remember you buying a red car within the last year or two and fixing it up and selling it. It looked beautiful after your fixed it up. I forgot the model.

  8. LOVE that mustang!! Mine doesn’t even look close to that one.

  9. I had no idea modern manual’s can be roll-started! I thought that because of all the electronics for ignition, valve timing and fuel injection it required some type of power. Good to know! Sorry it happened to ya!

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