Sunday, September 25, 2011

My knees are still shaking

We are down in the city for the weekend;  Leaf had a Dr's appointment Friday, boys had a cousin's birthday party on Saturday, and visiting my sister's today to meet brand new baby Jaide.  Absolutely adorable, and so tiny.  You always forget how little they are.  After a nice visit, we headed home.

About half way home and there is a slow down on the 401.  I generally leave lots of distance (the Stay Back 2 Chevrons! campaign being big in my area during teenage years) between me and the car in front and anticipate needing to slow down rather than wait until the last second.  Luckily.  I gently press the brakes to slow down.  Nothing.  Press harder.  Nothing.  Press all the way to the floor.  Nothing.  I quite literally said "uh oh!".  Also quite luckily, traffic had previously slowed down enough that we were only going about 80km an hour.

I think just about every option ran through my head in a split second - including the absolutely inane thought 'turn onto the runaway truck ramp' that somehow popped to the surface so many years after all those cross-Rockies trips.  I swerved into the shoulder to miss the guy in front of me.  The shoulder ended 30 meters later at an on-ramp, where - again the luck - there was a gap that I managed to cut across to get to the side of the highway.  We roll along for a bit, but seems I'm getting some brake traction now and come to a stop on the shoulder.  The lane beside us is one of those shared on-ramp/off-ramp lanes, so not really part of the highway, but still not the safest place to be stopped.

Dilemma.  We can wait to be ripped off by an unscrupulous tow truck driver (is there another kind on the 400 series highways?), or move forward a few hundred meters and get safely off the highway.  Since the brakes were now giving pressure, we decided to at least get off the 401.  Started a slow roll, tested the brakes a couple times & they worked fine, so onto the off ramp and away. Naturally the brakes turn to jell-o again at the end of the exit ramp, so into a parking lot and stopped for good.  I detest motor vehicles.

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