Today, I took a page from @Miss-Mercedes and the Best Way Towing Handbook.
I left Richmond, CA in the Miata to head home to Carson City (normally a 3.5 hour drive) at 1:15pm. I had run some errands around the Bay Area to tie up some loose ends there (Amazon return, cancel and return AT&T equipment, etc) in the morning without any issue.
When I got to Davis, CA, something went very wrong. The Miata abruptly shut down. Like... someone flicked a light switch to off. I coasted the car onto the shoulder. I was kind of bewildered. It cranks but won't restart.
Anyways, I called a tow truck with the Hagerty app. It went fine - the app is a little weird on my phone and seemed to kind of ignore the locations that I put for where I was. I set the tow destination to a parking lot with an O'Rielly. I immediately hit the call button in the app since it didn't get my start location right for the tow. While waiting for the call center to pick up, I checked my mileage. I was 141mi from home and I have the 150mi tow service. When Hagerty answered (maybe 2 minutes on hold), I had them fix the breakdown location and asked about changing my destination to my house. They confirmed that it was within the range and all good.
While waiting, I plugged in my laptop. One key piece of evidence is that TunerStudio doesn't see any RPM when cranking. That leads itself towards the crank sensor (or the chip on Megasquirt that reads that signal). No dice on solving that on the side of a highway.
So the tow truck arrived, loaded me up, and started out. The tow truck driver was thrilled to be doing a long tow. That was until about 45 minutes later when his dispatch called. Apparently they had only noted the updated origination and not the updated destination. So, on speakerphone, in the tow truck, dispatch told the tow truck driver to take the next exit and "get rid of that car". I can tell the guy driving the truck was mortified. If he finished the tow, he would probably not have a job anymore. If he didn't, he was an asshole who abandons a person with a broken car in a random location. I can't blame him for choosing his job. I didn't direct any anguish towards him.
I had enough pull in this situation to at least direct him to drop me at a location that didn't completely suck if I thought fast enough. I saw a sign for a Target and said "Drop me at that Target".
The car wasn't even off the truck and I was back on the Hagerty app requesting a new tow. They had a box for "additional details" where I explained the situation. Apparently those details were also passed to the responding tow company. They immediately called me to say "hey, don't worry, we're going to get you home. We're an hour and a half out but don't give up on us because we're not giving up on you." Honestly, that was the coolest response I've ever heard from a tow company.
The plaza that I was stranded in (near Placerville, CA) had a bunch of different stores. I ended up grabbing dinner since it was now dinner time and an ice cream. Then another ice cream. The girl at the burger and ice cream place gave me the second ice cream for free (apparently I looked like I needed it). That was super nice of her and I dropped a decent tip in the jar.
While I was waiting for the new tow truck, I got a call from a manager at Hagerty. He had seen my additional note in his normal routine of case review. He was shocked to see something like that had happened. He apologized, outlined actions he had taken against that tow company, and let me know that someone might call me for more details. Another Hagerty team member followed up just before the tow truck arrived to assure me that this tow would get me home. Big Kudos to Hagerty Driver's Club. How you deal with something going wrong is what makes the biggest difference. They were classy, action-oriented, and went above and beyond. I can't imagine a situation where AAA would have had the same reaction. I feel super vindicated in regards to having made this switch. I'll probably be a Driver's Club member for life.
The new tow truck showed up and the driver was great. He was a pretty Oppo dude who has a plane, a boat, and builds 1/2 scale RC aircraft. It was a pretty nice ride back, even if I was dead tired. I got home about a half hour ago, making this another 9 hour trip. I will need to try and sort out the Miata tomorrow. Hopefully it's nothing major. But I did just buy a house, which means it's probably something major (that's how it works right?).