Friday, August 10, 2007

The Journey to 479

The following story is true, but very strange, and features multiple synchronicities and a prophetic dream that predicted an unlikely occurrence years in advance.

In the predicted events, the number 479 was featured prominently. The prediction concerned me personally, and was not about the world at large.

Toward the time of the fulfillment of the prediction, the number kept occurring in different forms, always in events that were related in some way to the prediction itself.

I will mention now that the numbers are miles, and that 479 needs to be multiplied by 1000.

Other things will be included in the main narrative, both as background and as their own little stories, some with their own predictions and/or synchronicities.

And it does need the background information, in order to properly understand and appreciate what happens later. Even so, much of the story will seem very unlikely to many people, and others may think I'm either extremely lucky or surrounded by guardian angels.

I have been lucky, at times, but I think those guardian angels are there, too.


In the late spring of 1988 I came into a situation where I had to do a lot of travelling. The car that I used then, a 1970 Cadillac Sedan DeVille, gold with a white vinyl roof, was old and had a lot of miles on it, and had some major problems. It was a car that I had purchased, used, in the late summer of 1973. Though it had made some trips in the past, it was years, now, since it had been taken out of town. There was some doubt as to whether it was up to it at all.

It did it, though, in spite of everything. The travelling, however, though initially thought to be short-term, became extended, and finally became indefinite. I had repairs done from time to time, but the repairs were frequently unsatisfactory, and new problems kept surfacing. The miles seemed to be accumulating at the rate of 50,000 a year or more, and I knew that this couldn't continue.

Over a year later, in the late summer of 1989, I bought an upscale version of an Oldsmobile Delta 88. It was used, a 1987 model, 4-door, dark blue in color, with a little under 22,000 miles on it.

I had originally intended to split the driving between the cars, so that each car accumulated mileage at a more reasonable level. As time went on, though, I more and more drove the newer car

Initially, it was a difficult transition. In spite of the deterioration of the older car, the newer felt like a big step down. It was much smaller and lighter, with a much less powerful engine, and felt much less immune to what the road could give it. It was years before I really felt comfortable in it.

The newer car, the Oldsmobile, had to last, though, in spite of the rate that the miles were now accumulating on it. By the time it was even paid off it would have more miles than the Cadillac did.

I didn't know how well the car would hold up, but in spite of the expected mileage, and in spite of the cars apparent light-weightness, it would have to last. I couldn't afford to buy another car while still paying off this one.

I tried to keep it maintained, and changed the oil frequently, but things happened from time to time. It had an early problem with a sensor, that occasionally caused it to abruptly run very poorly and usually die. If it did die, it had to set for a while to cool off before it could be restarted. The waterpump was replaced several times in the early years, and then never again. Two of the struts went bad, one was leaking and one collapsed. Replacing them didn't cure the bobbing ride, though. Much later, I had air-cushioned struts put on, which stopped the bobbing and improved the feeling of the car immensely. From time to time some of the fuel injectors had to be replaced. Much, much later, I had to have the oil pan replaced, because the threads were becoming stripped where the bolt went in. Lots and lots of oil changes had taken their toll.


Once, over a period of days, it started running worse and worse. Initially, it just sometimes made a little jerk and cough while going up mountains. This became more frequent, and sometimes happened while accelerating on level ground. By the time I got home, it had become very worrisome. Lots of problems in the mountains, and then making it through the city and past all the traffic lights. The problem turned out to be half of the electronic distributor going bad.

Another time, it developed a problem starting when it was cold. The weather was cold at the time, but this hadn't bothered it in the past. Now, I had to let it crank and crank before it started. It also developed problems similar to what had happened when the electronic distributor went bad.

It was a very difficult drive home, but I made it. Going through the city was bad, though, and it was difficult to keep the car running. Once, it died when I tried to accelerate after stopping at a traffic light, and I had some difficulty getting moving again after restarting it.

I did make it home, though. A day or two later, we took it to the dealer. It was night and we were just going to drop it off there. It died in the dealer's driveway and did not restart. It turned out that the problem was a fuel filter that was mostly blocked, and that the strain of trying to pump fuel past the blockage had burned out the electronic fuel pump.

I had driven it all that way, past the deserts and the mountains, almost a thousand miles, maybe even more, and it died in the dealer's driveway.


Then one night, when the Oldsmobile had 271,000 miles on it, I stopped at a service station to get gas. Afterwards, the car would not restart, no matter how much I tried. The engine turned over, maybe even a little too fast, but it would not start.

I had it towed to a local repair shop. I was in a small town, far from any big cities. It was left in a dirt lot by the small repair shop, while the mechanics tried to figure out what was wrong with it. Initially, they thought it might be the electronic distributor, but replacing it didn't solve the problem. They did eventually get it running again, but after it was turned off the original problem resurfaced. They thought, then, that it was probably the timing gear and chain. When they took the plate off the front of the engine, the timing gear had most of it's plastic teeth gone, and little bits of plastic were everywhere.

This occurred close to Easter, and I ended up trapped there in the little town for several days. I also ended up going with one of the mechanics to the nearest big city to look for parts. Then I had to wait for them to find time to repair it. Meanwhile, the car sat in the dirt lot, with a cover over the open front of the engine.

One night, I walked over to the local Safeway. It was cold outside and a little foggy. In the parking lot, a small young woman came up to me. She looked up at me and asked if I were an angel.

I am very tall and I was wearing a heavy coat, and at the time my hair was a little longer than normal. The fog and the lights in the parking lot probably contributed to the effect. It also probably helped that she had been drinking.

It seems that she was married, and now they were in a bad financial situation. Evidently the stress was getting to her husband, who sometimes hit her and had once thrown her down some stairs. I noticed that she had at least one of her front teeth missing.

I went with her to a phone outside the Safeway, where she called a friend, and then walked with her to the apartments where she lived. I waited, then, on the sidewalk while she walked up to the apartments. She was quickly lost in the darkness, and I couldn't tell if she made it to where she was going. I finally assumed that she did, lacking any information to the contrary, and left.

As the days passed, I kept checking on my car, and eventually it was fixed. It seemed to have suffered no ill effects from the trauma.


The recent problems with the timing gear concerned me, though, and I wondered what else might lie ahead.

Then, one night, when the car had 279,000 miles on it, I had a dream.

In the dream, I was told that two major things were going to happen to my car, and that the second one was by far the worst. And the problems would be made much worse by not maintaining the car properly.

The times that the problems would happen were given to me, in terms of mileage intervals. The first would happen 38,000 miles from now, and the second would happen 162,000 miles after that.

At least I believe that those were the figures I was given. I knew them at the time, but the passing of time has made my memory less sure. Even if they are not exactly correct, I know that I realized after I woke up that added together they made exactly 200,000 miles.

And 200,000 miles added to 279,000 miles made 479,000.


479,000 miles is a long way for a car to go. I didn't know if it could actually do it, but there was no way to know for sure until I got there, or failed to make it. Other things were bound to happen along the way, too, even if they weren't major enough to warrant being predicted in the dream.

Time passed, and one time when I was home, my mother borrowed the car for a while. She complained, then, that the brakes weren't working properly. They were too low, and she had to really stretch to push them. I hadn't noticed any problem, but my legs are long and I would not have to stretch in order to reach the pedal, no matter where it was. My mother insisted that something was wrong, though, and didn't want me to go driving off in the car while it was like that.

I knew that the mileage was now somewhere around the mileage of the first prediction, and so I finally relented and left the car to be fixed while I drove the other one. I was mindful, too, that the dream had said that the problem would be made much worse by not performing the proper maintenance.

The dealer said that the brakes were almost entirely gone.

And so the first prediction came to pass, but the damage was minimized by getting the proper maintenance in time. If the maintenance had not been done, the outcome might have been very different, as the dream had warned.


One night, when the mileage was in the early 300,000's, I was driving along through the desert, wondering again how long the car would last.

I looked at the odometer and thought of the future. If the car made it to 479,000 miles, how much longer could it go? What mileage could it reach?

I saw the odometer in my mind, with a reading of something like 506 or 507 thousand. I felt that it was true, and that the car could make it that far.

I tried, then, to change it, to make an odometer reading up around 580 or 590 thousand. I couldn't do it, though. The image wouldn't come. I kept trying, and finally forced the image to come, but I knew that it was false.

So the car would make it to the early 500,000's, but for whatever reason would not make it to the upper 500,000's, at least not while I owned it.


Although I spent many long hours driving, the driving was not the work itself, but a means of getting to the work. Driving was not my job. Combined with the job, though, it meant that I often spent a lot of time with little sleep.

With the passing of time I gained in stature at my job, and also made more money, but the money was not nearly as much as it could have been elsewhere. I kept hoping that something would open up that would let me work closer to home, but it never did. I was hesitant to leave, too, knowing that things would not be the same without me. There was no one there who could do what I did, and never had been. Not even close. I was also able to fix problems that other people couldn't. Sometimes, they couldn't even understand the solutions that I came up with. But they knew that they worked.

It was a lot of stress on me, though. All that driving with little sleep. And sometimes I got cooperation from people, and sometimes I didn't. And sometimes, though well intentioned, they worked against me.

Sometimes, while driving, I wished for it all to be over, to be done. I could accept almost anything, just let it be done. Almost anything.



As time passed, the car developed more and more of a problem with the transmission.

Once, long ago, when the car had less than 200,000 miles on it, perhaps around 174,000, I got so tired that I mistakenly shifted it into neutral and then reverse when the car was going around 30 miles an hour. It died, and I pulled off the road. I had just passed through a little town and wondered if I was going to be stuck there. I restarted the engine, though, and drove away.

Everything seemed to work normally, except that the shifts were a little duller and the car didn't seem to roll forward quite so easily; it seemed to slow down faster when I took my foot off the gas. As time passed it seemed to improve, though, and by the mid 200,000's it was not quite so noticeable.

Now, though, in the 300,000's, in extremely cold weather it tended to get lost for a brief time between second and third gears. It acted almost like it was in neutral, except it was a bit more draggy and there was a sound like gears barely touching each other, just hitting on the edges. Sometimes it seemed to help to push on the gas. Though the engine would initially just rev, sometimes it would then suddenly snap into gear. But sometimes it didn't seem to make any difference.

It was never in that state for very long, though, and when the car had warmed up sufficiently it didn't do it at all.

It started doing it more and more often, though, and in milder and milder weather. I often tried to let the car run for a few minutes before trying to go anywhere, rather than risk having it happen.

I eventually found out that adding transmission treatment improved it immensely. It almost felt like new, for a while. For a while.

One time I took the car to a transmission shop, and described the problem. They told me that there was nothing in the transmission that could make it act the way I described. I left it with them so that they could try driving it in the morning, when the engine and transmission were cold. The weather was relatively mild at the time, but it also sometimes happened now in such weather.

They were unable to duplicate the problem, though, so I drove on with it as it was.


Once, when driving on the freeway through Las Vegas, I noticed a large flat-bed truck ahead of me. It had various things on it, including a bundle of white slabs sitting upright.

As I watched, the bundle came loose, and fell into the road in front of me.

I slammed on the brakes, and stopped in time. I heard a screeching sound behind me, though, and then WHAM!

I looked behind me, and saw that a pickup truck had run into me. It was evidently a commercial vehicle, and it had tall bumper guards on the front, bumper guards that were now somewhat bent. I saw the driver on the phone calling someone, and after a while the police showed up.

It turned out that the white slabs were just styrofoam, and one of the policemen moved it off to the side of the freeway, while complaining about the construction trucks.

The back bumper on my car was pushed way in, with a straight area between where the truck's bumper guards had hit, and sharply angled areas going out to the corners. The trunk lid was also pushed in somewhat.

Everything worked, though. All the doors opened and closed with no problem, and even the trunk lid worked.

The pickup truck driver's insurance company paid for the repairs, and I eventually got the car fixed, though I drove it for a few months like that.


One night, while driving along, I noticed that sometimes the car would react oddly to acceleration. It would have odd little variations in speed. It would seem to briefly bog down and then speed up again.

A couple of hundred miles or so later, I noticed a loud metallic knocking sound when I went by a big truck, like the sound might be reflecting off the truck back at me. I wasn't sure it was actually coming from my car, though. I hoped it wasn't.

In the days that followed, though, it became apparent that it was coming from my car. I finally looked under the hood to see if I could see anything. Everything looked normal, except that one of the big pulleys low on the engine looked like it had something sticking out a little on the side of it.

I took it to a local repair shop, the same shop that had worked on the timing gear years ago.

They fiddled with it for a while, listening to the engine with a stethoscope-like device, apparently thinking that one of the pulleys on the accessories was to blame. They couldn't find anything wrong, though, so they finally took the belt off and started spinning the pulleys by hand, but still couldn't find anything. I mentioned that I saw something earlier sticking out of the big pulley. It was hard to see anything now, though. One of them took the pulley by hand and tried to turn it. There was a loud clank.

So, they jacked the front of the car up and took the pulley off. The center of the pulley was made of rubber, and the rubber was torn in a line all the way around it. Without the rubber holding the rim in place, the rim was banging against the metal stops on the pulley. The pulley also had a device on it to control the engine timing, and with the pulley moving back and forth the timing kept changing.

One of the mechanics, looking at the damaged pulley, said that he had never seen that happen.

He said that I could probably drive it that way for a long time around town, but he wouldn't try to go anywhere with it like that. I knew that I had already driven it for hundreds of miles that way, maybe even for over a thousand, and thought for a while about the possibility of driving it home.

I knew, though, that if I made it home it would have around 407,900 miles on it. That sounded a little too much like 479,000. I was also mindful about the dream warning about the maintenance.

So, in the end, I had them repair it. And as before, we had to travel to the big city to get a replacement part for it.

It was done much quicker than the timing gear repair was, though.


As I said earlier, I had intended to split the driving between the 1970 Cadillac and the 1987 Oldsmobile. As time went on, though, I more often drove the Oldsmobile and seldom drove the Cadillac.

Eventually, I stopped driving the Cadillac at all, except for emissions testing. There was just too much wrong with it, and repairs too often didn't seem to last for very long. At times, it seemed to be falling apart in front of my eyes. Sometimes, it did so literally.

So it sat there at home, with 255,000 miles on it, and I had no spare car anymore.

Much of the time when something happened, though, I seemed to be trapped in other places, either waiting for the Oldsmobile to be fixed or driving around in a rental car.

Sometimes I was able to borrow my mother's car, a car she did not have when this all started. Oddly enough (or not), it was an Oldsmobile Delta 88 also, a 1989 model, two years newer than mine. It was a much less upscale model, though. It was purchased for her by my sister, and it was already well-used and had over 100,000 miles on it. It was colored gold and had a slightly modernized, slightly more powerful version of the engine that my car had.

It also had problems of its own.


My Oldsmobile was now well into the 400,000's, and the predicted mileage was now not so impossibly far away. I still had quite aways to go, though.

I started to feel a sense of foreboding, though. It continued over a period of several days, and I finally started praying, to "let this cup pass from me." That whatever it was would not happen.

One night, I stopped at a post office to use the phone. When I returned to the car, it would not start. The engine turned over, but nothing happened.

I had it towed to the local car dealer. They found out that the electronic fuel pump had burned out (again).

I felt that my prayers had been answered. Far better to have it happen in a town, than out in the middle of nowhere.


As the car approached the midpoint of the 400,000's, it developed a problem going up hills. The engine was getting too hot, and there seemed to be a film on the inside of the windshield. I had noticed, for years, that an orange dust seemed to form on the inside of the windshield when I used the defroster. I felt that the heater had probably been leaking a little, and it was now definitely time to get something done about it.

When I finally arrived at a radiator repair shop, the car had 447,799 miles on it.


Meanwhile, things were deteriorating at work. I had big projects ahead of me, but it seemed unlikely that I would have sufficient support to easily complete them. Perhaps not even enough to satisfactorily complete them at all.

My car was costing me a lot of money, too, as well as time away from work. It seemed likely that I would need to get another car to continue.

But I didn't want to go through that again.

At some point I asked myself how long this would continue. And the answer came, that everything would be resolved in the late summer. That there was a feeling of peace associated with it.

If only I could hang on until then.


Over a period of several months, I had become increasing concerned about a noise I sometimes heard, usually when I heard it reflected off of buildings. It was a kind of faint screeching-grinding noise, and I only rarely heard it, but I suspected it was there more often than I knew.

I finally took it to a car dealer and told them about the problem. I was worried that it might be something like the alternator bearings going bad. The person at the car dealer couldn't hear anything, though, and refused to replace it unless they found something wrong with it, in spite of the mileage. He was going to have his mechanic look at it, though.

They never found anything wrong with it, so I picked the car up and continued to drive it as it was.


Time passed. It was spring, now. My car had 479,000 miles on it, in fact it was halfway to the next thousand. I had recently changed my schedule a little, which resulted in me being other places when particular mileages occurred.

The sun had set, and I was driving up a small mountain. I noticed, then, a lot of screechy, static-like noise. I thought at first that it might be poor reception on the radio, but when I turned the radio off the noise continued.

Then, a burst of sparks came flying out from under the back of the car, and flew away like fireflies in the dusk before disappearing. I reached the top of the mountain and started going down the other side. More bursts of sparks came out. The alternator light came on, and I started trying to find some place to pull over. I found a little place, just big enough for my car, and pulled over into it just as the car died.

I got a flashlight out of the trunk and opened up the hood. A huge wall of smoke came up and quickly dissipated. I peered down at the engine and saw a tiny fire in the alternator. I blew on it a few times, until it finally went out.

It was dark, now, and I was on the side of a mountain, maybe 30 miles or so from the nearest town, though there were farms and residences and businesses that weren't quite that far. Perhaps I could find a phone that was only 20 - 25 miles away. There was also a phone booth at the bottom of the mountain, but I had never tried it and I didn't know if it worked.

I decided to try to walk to the phone at the bottom of the mountain, and if it didn't work, to just keep on walking. Perhaps someone would pick me up along the way. It was cold, but I had on a heavy coat. It was very dark, too, so I used the flashlight when I walked, both to see where I was going and to alert passing cars that I was there.

It seemed to be very slow going down the mountain. It was very dark, so I couldn't see much around me, and it didn't seem like I was making much progress, even though I knew that I must be. Sometimes a car would pass going the other way, but there wasn't much traffic.

Finally, a car passed me and then came back. It turned out to be someone who knew me. He was on his way to work, on a late shift, and thought he had recognized me and my car.

So he picked me up, and took me with him on his way to work. When I told him what had happened and what I was doing, he stared at me and finally said that the last time he was at the phone booth someone had cut the wire. Later, he took me to the town.

The next day I had the car towed to the local car dealer, where they replaced the alternator, and, I think, the battery.

And time moved on.


In the late summer, everything seemed to come together, like events and people were puppets being pulled on a string. I was at a turning point, where major decisions had to be made. My life would change, no matter what decision I would make. I made the one that I always knew that I would. I resigned. My car was a few thousand miles away from 500,000.

Many years have passed since then. Both cars are gone. The Cadillac was sold with 255,000 miles on it, and the Oldsmobile was sold with 508,000 miles on it.

And everything happened as predicted.

And this is where the story ends.

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