I needed to write this down so I remember all the details, It goes into TMI territory because this is more of a journal of what happened for myself with no edits of information. But since I wrote it I may aswell post it, as it is relatively car related and somewhat entertaining. There are no pictures.
Side note: I’m not a drug dealer nor are any of my friends. Take it for what it is, a story.
It was the end of 2015 I’m 17 starting my senior year in high school. I’d just seized the motor in my Lexus and had another being shipped to a local wrecking yard because they have a forklift.
A good friend of mine,”Doug”, tells me how he was planning on asking me to drive him down to Santa Barbara 600 miles south to see his ex(it was complicated) before my car broke. And after looking at the date when the motor was due to arrive and when he planned on leaving there was a good two week gap. Over a few beers it was decided that I’d shoot for that, the only problem being Id never removed or installed a motor or transmission and I’d be doing it in the mud on unlevel ground. But none the less I was determined.
The motor arrived at the yard. The owner call angrily telling me to pick it up ASAP or else he was gonna leave it outside.(there was no gate and it was at the back of town ripe for the addicts to pickup) My father was kind enough to help out, when I finally saw the motor I was excited until I realized how mopey my dad was. Apparently the tow yard had used a fucking backhoe to get the motor into my father’s trailer, but they also dropped it on the ground before finishing the complex procedure of moving a heavy pallet.(sarcasm) I was told the backhoe pilot and the yard owner had been pissy about the whole exchange(shock).
The damage was a sheered off oil filter pickup and some damage to the rear coolant passage. This meant Id have to spend a lot more time with the motor swapping parts over from the seized motor which was a PITA. I went to the tow yard and was greeted by the owner(a very abrasive old man) with a sly smile, I said I’d like some money for the damages to the motor because there’s not really any excuse. He seemed to revel in the my displeasure and said it wasn’t his problem so he’d take me to the backhoe operator and I’d have to the get the money from him(the way he said it was disturbing, he seemed amused) talked with the operator and got $200, they both protested saying that was ridiculous and I should just use the other motors parts, and I explained that i shouldn’t have too. The owner told me very angrily to never set foot on his business ever again.(which was a shame because they were the only yard in a 40 mile radius)
With that out of the way, the motor ordeal went fairly smooth. One of the motor mounts separated when I pulled the motor up, and due to the time constraint I had to get a local fabrication shop whip something up which took less than an hour.
And due to the muddy surface with my brothers help we hopscotched the motor/trans foot by foot. We’d have the motor in the air, pull it in the desired direction and lower it onto a crate, move the hoist and repeat. After getting that back together I realized that both driveshaft bushings(terrible idea IMO) had deep cracks along all three bolt points.
After dropping a friend off at school my cars alternator started to give up, then it would work again then it finally gave up for the last time.(also broke my door handle that day) I got a jump from my brother and the car ran fine for the next few days. At this point Doug’s got a little less than a week before departure, were talking and I’m telling him I’m not sure if the car will make it, telling him that the driveshaft could fall off in 5 miles or 5000 and that it’s it’s burning oil but the oils not an immediate problem, we decide it’s worth a shot.(I’m not too worried about the alternator stranding us because it can be replaced on the side of the road if necessary) At this point a friend of Doug’s asks if I can drive her too to see her boyfriend, her name was Jess. I agree because why not I’m already going and it increases my gas money pool which was important.
We leave around 4am for the 10-ish hour drive with a since of adventure embarking on a long journey in a loud car that’s venting hazardous fumes everywhere. We decide to take 101 as far as we can because I’m familiar with some of the highway. I should also mention that my friend planned on selling some weed down in Santa Barbara because it should be worth more down in a college town, I’m on board and bring a little over a half pound myself which brought the total to around a pound of trimmed weed. Doug in his infinite wisdom also brings some coke and Molly for his personal use, but it was alot more than a little bit. All of this was stuffed into a suitcase with a 1/5th and slapped in the trunk.
The fun starts 180 miles into the trip when I notice the battery lights on, it goes away. Then I look down again 30 minutes later and notice it’s on but I have no idea how long it’s been on. At this point I’m maybe 5-6 miles from a relative who’s right off the highway so I decide to start jamming for there before the car dies. It seems that higher rpm was helping save the dwindling battery power so I’m driving about as quickly as I safely can passing everyone(thankfully traffic was light) feverishly checking the lights and the intersections. Just as I’m withing sight of where I need to turn off the highway to the housing, Jess tells me that there are two cops with they’re lights on right behind me. My heart drops, I’d been paying so much attention to the intersections and traffic that I didn’t check my mirrors enough.
We slow and pull over at the right turn I needed to take to get to my relatives regardless. (luckily I had a greenlight to do so) The car dies as I’m getting to the curb in front of a 7/11 with smoke streaming from under the car. The cops dismount their motorcycles and walk up to the driver window, let me paint the picture of what they see. Three kids trembling Jess looking especially young because she’s 16 and looks young for her age, Doug and Jess looking straight ahead wide eyed which looks guilty AF. There’s a Santa hat laying in the center console, an unplugged radar detector on the windshield. The trailer rims are red as pictured and there’s a large badge on the back that says,”RUNNER” a 4runner badge with the 4 taken off.
All three of us know we are fucked, Doug most of all because he’s 18. I’m still on a provisional license and am not supposed to be driving anyone under 21 which makes me think we’re gonna be carted home in the back of a cop car. To top it all off its a weekday and were all supposed to be at school. I don’t exactly remember everything the officers said but he basically said, you were driving WWWAAAAAyyyyyy too fast, you should be in school why aren’t you? I explained what we were doing and that we all live 200 miles north. He went on about how my license was provisional and some other stuff. I told him why I was speeding and thanked the gods that my car was also smoking when they stopped us, because they definitely saw that too and knew I wasn’t lying. They question Doug for his age but didn’t bother to ask Jess. For a moment there was a squad car(a challenger the scariest looking cop car) that joined the officers, they talked to each other for a while. Then the squad car drove away, and the other officer came over and grilled me much more sternly then the other guy. They spent a lot of time writing something in there notes or something on my trunk, this is notable because that’s were the suitcase was and the trunk was emanating a smell of pot. There is no way the officer didn’t notice. But they went back to there bikes and printed up a fat ticket and left. My theory is that they truly did not want to deal with any of that, or whatever it would’ve taken to get us back where we live, more on that later.
The ticket read, Unsafe Lane change/no turn signal. Driving with passengers under 21. And 76 in a 55. We got out of that car with amazement that we had just gotten through that basically unscathed. Meanwhile a few people from the 7/11 came over to see what happened. I don’t smoke cigarettes but I smoked one on this occasion. We were able to get a jump from some nice person at the 7/11 and drove over to my relatives. Waited for her to get home, got a ride to Autozone and came back with an alternator. It was only during the install that we realized it was the wires going to the alternator that were all messed up (because the wiring harness was from a seized motor) so we fixed that and after a 5 hour delay were back on the road.
All of 101 (might not have been 101 i really don’t know) past San Jose was new to me, we got stuck in traffic at which point it was dark. Good time to point out how bad the low beams were, it was a struggle keeping up with traffic when everyone’s doing 75 at night with lights that are worthless, I was basically using other people’s lights to see what was happening. Another thing to point out, the front LCA bushings literally didn’t exist. If you hit a bump you’d hear the arm smack the bolt holding it from falling out. Doing about 70 in dense traffic with terrible headlights on a greasy highway and trying to keep the tram-lining under control when braking or going over road joints. Everywhere from Napa to the doldrums past San Jose was a white knuckle ride for me. After that as things got late I had Doug blather on about history (his subject of interest) to keeps me keen on those long straights. As we came into Santa Barbara on the exit from the highway, Welcome to the Jungle started playing, it was perfect. Eventually we found parking at Isla Vista, I think it was 11 or 12.
Now at the time I was a very anti-social person, it scared me to talk to people I don’t know (sometimes to the point of shaking) especially women. Well guess what, we were going to a small dorm that housed 6 all of which were women naturally. One of the big reasons that I wanted to go on this trip was to get more comfortable talking to people. We show up at the dorm and were greeted by Doug’s ex (who I already knew as we went to school together) and she led us into the housing complex and I got to meet a bunch of new pekple than I made a grave mistake.
I’d been smoking weed every day since I was in 8th grade and at this point in the dorm I thought it’d be a good idea (some attractive women asked me if I wanted to) I said yes because I thought it may take the edge off. Cut to 40 minutes later I tell them I’m gonna go sleep in my car. The paranoia and anxiety had a strong hold on me and I knew I wouldn’t be able to stand people much longer. Once I was back in my car I finally let go, I was shivering violently and uncontrollablely. About 30 minutes into that Doug and his ex, come over and tell me that I need to come back to the dorm, that there’s a beautiful Israeli lady who thinks I’m cute and wants to hook up. My friends at this point have been trying to get me laid for years and the most I could do was tell them what’s happening, that I cant even keep my arm from shaking let alone talk without stuttering. It was Really bad, from that point on I decided I wouldn’t smoke weed again around peaple (I should’ve sworn it off all together)
The next morning feeling much better and happy to be in a whole new place (I’d not strayed far from home my whole life) I began just walking around. I had no way of getting into the dorm because it requires a card and once I woke up there was no way to fall back asleep if I even slept at all. (around 6) I must’ve walked a good 5 miles everywhere around Isla Vista with nothing to do, the whole time trying to feel comfortable and get a grip on the night before. Eventually got bored enough to go drive around Santa Barbara which as far as I could tell is actually really small. Sometime in the evening out of pure luck while I was walking around again I ran into Doug. This was good because it was probably 6pm and I hadn’t really spoken to anyone all day. That night we got fairly drunk and I met a guy (think he was trying to become a rapper among other things) who was interested in buying my half pound more on that later. It was interesting when one of the ladies who lived there got back from work and started counting her money, she was a stripper and was doing that job to get through college. That night alone she made upwards of $400, this points worth noting because Id never seen anything like that growing up as a hillbilly. A lot of the details from those few days are missing because I don’t remember that’s why I’m writing this.
So there had been a plan brewing all day to have a party in this dorm room, the problem was that it’s part of a complex that has gated doors that require cards and often has official people standing around (I think to make sure unauthorized people don’t get in without being around someone with a card) and the dorm was was on the second floor. This wasn’t a huge problem for a party but it was a problem for a keg. For whatever reason they enlisted me to help them smuggle the keg. After lots of texting back n forth and driving peaple around at night (dangerous with my headlights, college students in the streets for no reason, and tons of cyclists) I dropped off two twenty something’s at there friends car.(which took them forever to locate and led to lots of backtracking and unnecessary driving). A few hour later we arrange to meet in a parking lot to some other housing complex a few miles away from the dorms were staying at. The mastermind of this whole plan (a particularly crazy friend of mine) hops out the truck with the two twenty somethings and says one will drive the truck back, him and the other guy will accompany the keg with me to the dorm parking (which is reserved and directly next to the complex’s personal entrance) Anyways they slap a coat over the keg that’s In the bed of the truck and barely stuff it into the SC’s back seat. The way they did it was hilarious though because they were so sure they’d be caught so they were trying to be stealth and quick which they were neither, especially because they thought it’d fit it the trunk which they found out it can’t.
So there we are keg laying sideways crushed up against the 6ft twenty something in the back and my crazy friend in the front. We only have to drive for about 5-10 minutes but it’s at night and again my headlights are making it hard to even see where the road is to pull on. So after nearly causing a wrecking thinking it’s a two lane when really I merged into a bike lane next to the real Lane, we were on our merry way. We make it to the dorm parking and I back into one of the reserved spaces. There are about 7 peaple milling around the car muttering to each other suspiciously with a trash can in front of it. A janitor walks by and says nothing....We haphazardly get the keg out of the car and into the trashcan, throw a bag on top and cooly walk the damn thing up into the dorm. I go and park my car somewhere where it won’t get towed.
Get back to the dorm to find out the keg won’t open(something along those lines, I remember the words,”tap won’t work” being uttered) Later that night I’m able to sell my weed, but the guy buying it was wanted to buy per ounce and I didn’t have a scale so I had to basically put wwway more than an ounce into each bag. He thought he was being slick, I knew what was going on but considering weeds worthless where I live I had to just go with the flow. That bastard ended up getting a little more than a half pound for like $500 which this being Santa Barbara and the weed being high quality was worth closer to $1000. It was kinda a win win though because I didn’t need the weed and don’t ever sell drugs other than this trip where a demand for it actually exists(I’m not a drug dealer, I just had an opportunity).
Our last day down there was interesting because there was some sort of sorority games going on (I really don’t know). But it was fun to watch peaple knock each other into the water with sticks. Me being anti social I stayed inside all day and watched Rick ‘N Morty with this ridiculous German guy, Doug, and this lady in the dorm that everyone hated (because she got around and was kinda an idiot) She told me how she once was walking home drunk and got harassed by an officer but they let her go, and she was mad that they inconvenienced her. I was thinking, !!!!????? You didn’t get arrested for drunk in public you should be happy. Later that day Doug being a homie was still trying to get me laid, telling me said lady wanted to have sex. I continued watching Rick ‘n Morty. Partly because I was too nervous to talk to her much and mostly because I didn’t want to have sex with her.(To this day I haven’t heard the end of it) The whole day we were trying to get alcohol because we were bored/terrible peaple and eventually reached paydirt with someone willing to buy it.
Had my crazy friend with me and picked up some basketball player who needed to go to the store anyways. It was funny seeing someone who was at least 6'2 folding in n out of that backseat. Dropped him off and proceed back to the dorm to get sloshed with my two 1/5ths of fireball. Showed up at the dorm and naturally now no one wanted to drink. Memory gets kinda hazy as within 10 minutes I’d polished off the first quarter of the 1/5th (not an exaggeration). One of the distinction memories is Doug trying to get more coke (as he had been able to sell his weed too and had money to blow). I’m next to he guy selling it and he’s got a bag of it that would fit nicely in ones palm. (it was a large amount) I don’t know anything about coke because I didnt do anything besides weed but even I knew it was some of the lowest quality stuff money could buy, it looked like baking soda and felt about the same. I look at Doug and tell him it’s a bad idea because it’s shit (dealer wasn’t even mad) and Doug tells me that he knows but, fuckit.
The headache was immense and I felt like someone put me in a toaster. Then I realize I don’t remember most of the night, which is not a comforting feeling. There’s cups and bottles strewn about and it’s a complete mess. There’s the last 1/5th with a little more than a splash left... After getting my head straight I’m remembering that today is the day were supposed to leave. Doug gets up, it’s maybe 7:30 were both completely hung over so we do the only rational thing, walk to Starbucks for coffee. Doug’s got no shoes on and a partially buttoned up shirt, I’m not in much better shape. As we walk he fills me in that the night before I’d had at least a 1/5th and a half to myself and had been a bit of a dick, but no one took it seriously because i was clearly gone. I ask him about the coke at which point he informs me that he spent All of his money that night, every dime. I let him know he’s an idiot. This was aggravating because he had at least $600 and $200 was supposed to pay for my gas. I couldn’t be too mad though, there was some comradery in the fact that we both were idiots. We get to Starbucks, Doug’s too tired/over-it to stand in line so he lays down next to a lamp post looking like a hobo, it was hilarious in a sad way. We meander back to the dorm pack up our stuff and start cleaning up, because at this point we both know we’ve probably overstayed our welcome. We say goodbye I apologize and we leave for the car.
It’s around 10 the heats starting to pickup, we’ve been trying to contact Jess since we woke up but she’s not awnsering. The Hangover is very real at this point, like we are practically hobbling. We decide we’ll wait until noon and if we get no word were gonna have to leave Jess, with that understood to go get Sandwich’s. It must have been amusing to watch two clearly hungover men struggle though the door, when asked what they want a series of muttered words and bacon,” A Bacon sub?” Followed by, sure yeah two...bacon, and a mass of more mutters and grunts followed by clutching his stomach. “That’ll be $18:86" pulls out wallet, mutters fuckit. It was the best sandwich I’ve ever had, and water never felt so refreshing
Noon rolls around and Jess still hasn’t gotten back to us, we didn’t feel too bad for leaving without her though, she had wanted to stay with her boyfriend(the crazy keg friend) longer anyway plus she knew we were leaving today. So we left her 600 miles from home because we basically had (obviously there’s always a choice) no other choice. Finding the highway was nice and easy and I’m fairly sure we took 101 North the entire way back. The only complications were getting gas on the outskirts of San Fransisco where getting over to the gas station and back onto the highway required much more thought and effort than should’ve been necessary. The whole ride back we’d noticed an uptick in noxious fumes (which did wonder for a hangover) At the gas station I checked under the car and saw the entire exhaust system covered in ATF and oil. Which explained why the transmission had gotten notchier, or rather the midget with the sledgehammer in there had gotten more aggressive. The driving became a real PITA when we got to San Fransisco where the whole highway splits into a thousand different directions, lucky for me Doug is practically blind and also shit at being a co-driver. So with luck on our side we made it into SF still on 101, at this point it was dark making sign reading whilst driving in SF traffic extra fun. Ended up taking the wrong turn, or rather not turning in the right place which led us down a long Street where I basically had to wait for the right spot to just pull a u turn (that place is a maze, at least at night) besides that everything was fine and we were able to roll the windows down and have some fun in one of the tunnels. We got home safe and sound with a new ridiculous story under our belts. All in time for school 6 hours later.
Two or 3 months later my Mother graciously drives me back down to Napa (not Napa but somewhere around there) to go to my juvenile traffic court hearing, I got lucky enough to have the last hearing if the day with the Judge. While waiting the peaple across from us, a father his daughter and later a chipper lawyer. The Daughter was there for hitting somebody while texting and driving drunk, but it was clear that neither the father or her felt she’d done anything wrong. She was saying how it’s unfair because she wasn’t on the road yet (it sounded like she was in one of those shopping centers or something of the like with lower speeds) She was literally crying to the lawyer about how she’s not sure she’ll get accepted into college and how unfair this was. The lawyer reassured her that she could postpone everything for a long while basically by being a PITA for the courts. They went in, came back out about 30 minutes later and sat down. It was clear that they were going to take a while and the court didn’t want to make us wait for an hour. I was called into the room and seated. She laid down the charges and what the maximum penalties were, then asked how I pled. I agknowleged the penalties and pled guilty on all counts. She asked me to explain what happens to which I told the truth. I said I was driving my friends down to Santa Barbara to see their partners when my alternator started to go out just a few miles from a relatives place. That I thought it would be safer to try and get there than be stranded on the side of a busy highway. I said the only way to keep the motor going was to keep it at higher rpm in excess of 3000 rpm and that I’d have to be be in 3rd gear because 2nd would be too slow. I said that high rpm in 3rd put me at around 76 mph (said that to explain the speed, it wasn’t a lie) at which point I said the lack of blinker was likely due to the cars lack of battery power where it systematically turns off parts of the car such as headlights blinkers in order to conserve power for the motor, I told her that this was backed up by the fact that the instrument cluster was not working at the time.(I’m still surprised the car is capable of doing that, hell maybe it’s not but it sure seems that way) I went on to say that I was paying extra attention to the cars in my immediate surrounding and any cars I passed
Her Reply was that most of what I said was more technical than she could understand (not making this up) but that she believed me. Than her and another person looked at paperwork for a moment and said she would dismiss the blinker/unsafe Lane changes for there was nothing I could done, and it seemed I tried my best. For the speeding charge she said she’d go easy because it was my first offence and that the conditions were different than speeding for no reason. She said I could pay $200(it was around that number) or I could take traffic school which would wipe the point off my license and that would be $130 plus another $40 for a total of $170, I took the traffic school. She said that next time I should pull over to which I agreed. Than for the last charge the one I was most worried about, driving people under 21 on a provisional. She looked at the paperwork for a while flipped through something, spoke to the the lady next to her than after a little while she turned back to me and literally said,”Welp Looks like this is your lucky day” She said something about how the officer failed to put the 21(maybe it’s 25) and under in his paperwork or something to that effect. She said she’d dismiss it.
I walked out of there with a $170 speeding ticket and renewed faith in the Justice system. I currently have no points on my record. That experience did a great deal of good for my anxiety. And that is the story of my Trip down to Santa Barbara