I went up to Mt. Prospect for the housefilk at chaoticgoodchic's house last night. The trip up was completely uneventful, the dinner was nice, the music and companionship were good. I got back in my car at 1:00, figuring I'd make it to bed about 4, I'd be tired but it should be OK. It rained off and on as I was driving home, but had no problems, until I got to the interchange between I-57 and I-74. I can't remember exactly what happened. The car suddenly started making a disturbing noise, but I can't remember if it was before I touched the gearshift to slow down for the ramp or not. But on the ramp, the car made "pull over right now" noises, and it was in neutral. The engine was still running but not delivering power. I got onto the shoulder and tried to force the car into first. It didn't want to go, and then it popped right out again. Clearly something is very wrong with the transmission. And it's 3:30 AM Sunday, and I'm a little too tired to think completely clearly.
After a few minutes, I pulled myself together enough to look on the net on my phone, find a tow truck, and have it sent out. Then I texted a friend who is often up at that hour. I had the car towed to the mechanic, my friend gave me a ride to my mom's (thanks Jeremy!), and I spent the night there.
Tune in tomorrow for the next exciting installment of Phil's Car Explodes, Now What?, when I hopefully find out what is wrong with the car, and whether it will take a few hundred dollars and a couple of hours to fix, or thousands of dollars and weeks (in which case, I will have to somehow find another car).