In September, I embarked on my third trip across the United States since I retired in 2007 — and most importantly, my first cross-country trip in my 2009 Porsche Boxster. The last time I drove cross-country in a Porsche was 41 years earlier in my shiny, new Irish Green 1971 Porsche 911T.

Needless to say, my head was filled with nostalgia and excitement. My delight quickly ended when a broken cable left me stranded on the side of the road. Thankfully, I had a certified preowned Porsche, and it certainly paid off.

At the start of my journey, my still shiny, but not new Arctic Silver 2009 Porsche Boxster had 30,484 miles on the odometer, so I decided to take it to Baker Porsche in Charleston, S.C., for an oil and filter change. After the car's checkup, it was time to hit the road.

The first leg of my trip started with a visit to my relatives in East Texas. Then I drove on to Colorado Springs, Colo., for a drive up Pikes Peak. Next was a visit with friends in Breckenridge, Colo., where my wife, Joan, flew in and joined me. From Breckenridge, Joan and I went on to visit National Parks at Bryce Canyon, Grand Staircase, Zion and Capitol Reef. We then went to Las Vegas for a couple of days diversion from sightseeing, meeting my travelin’, gamblin’ 91-year-old mother-in-law, Roz; our son, Ken; and nephew, Bryan.

From Las Vegas, it was on to more sightseeing and driving on the wonderful California roads from Joshua Tree to Palm Springs and over to the San Diego waterfront. I could not resist the winding, picturesque Angeles Crest Highway high above Los Angeles or going up the curvy Highway 33 to quaint Ojai and out to beautiful Pacific Ocean at Cambria. No trip to California would be complete without driving up the coast on Highway 1 with its breath taking vistas.

Once we arrived in San Francisco, we took time to visit more relatives and sightsee in this town we never get tired of visiting. Next we turned inland toward Sacramento, where Joan left me to fly back home. This routine is our tried-and-true formula for a happy married life, since Joan is not the road tripper that I am.

Now it was time to drive U.S. Highway 50 across Nevada. Named by AAA as "The Loneliest Road in America," one of my favorite roads and one that Nevada state troopers don't pay much attention to. The last part of my trip would be to Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly, which we did not have time to visit on the outbound part of our trip.

But shortly after I started making my way east, I got a message that, because of a serious family emergency, my daughter, Elizabeth, needed me in Charlotte, N.C., by Oct. 7 to help her. So, I mapped out trip plans that would get me there in time.

While driving through Canyon de Chelly National Park in the Arizona portion of the Navajo Reservation on Oct. 4, I downshifted to climb a hill, and my Boxster suddenly made a pop sound. The shift lever flopped over to one side, and the Boxster was stuck in third gear. Unable to climb the hill, I coasted backward to a stop to think about my next move.

I looked at my watch: It was 4:25 p.m. on a Friday afternoon. Here I am, with 37,179 miles on my Boxster, broken down at a time when most repair services are closing up for the weekend.

OK, no problem, I just called 1-800-PORSCHE, which is part of the deal I got with my certified preowned Boxster. But after I dialed nothing happened — no ringing, no automated messages, nothing. I looked at my phone, which was flashing "no service."

I sat there for what seemed like an eternity. Then a nice local gentleman driving with his wife and family stopped to see if I needed help. I explained that I needed a wrecker, but could not call help because my phone had no service.

He tried his cellphone — no service. Then he tried his wife's phone — again no service. He took my information and drove to a place in the park where he could get cellphone service. He called a local wrecker to come tow my car out of the park to the local town of Chinle, Ariz. What a nice person!

While I was waiting for help to come, three other local residents stopped to see if I needed help, but I assured them that help was on the way. No matter what you hear, the world is full of kind, helpful people.

As 7 p.m. approached, I was really starting to get concerned since it was getting dark and there were fewer and fewer people passing by where I was parked, but about that time the wrecker arrived.

The wrecker used a wheel-lift method of tow (not the recommended flatbed method), and the operator said that he had never towed a Porsche. Both of these things bothered me. I worked with the operator to be sure that he lifted the rear wheels, since the car was in gear with no way to get it out of gear.

I made sure he did not elevate the rear wheels more than necessary due to the small "approach angle" of the front of the Boxster, which would scrape if the rear was elevated too high. I also requested that he drive slowly to avoid any damage to the front of the car from bouncing. All of this succeeded in getting my Boxster to a hotel parking lot safely with no physical damage.

By 7:30, my car was parked at the Holiday Inn Express in Chinle. The tow driver even took me to Wells Fargo to get cash so I could pay him, and he made sure that I was safely checked into the Holiday Inn Express — another nice person!

Here is my broken Boxster at the Holiday Inn Express with no license plate, so the tow hook can be mounted for the wrecker to pull it on to the flatbed.

Once in my room, I called 1-800-PORSCHE. The helpful service rep took all my info and assured me that my car would be towed to Porsche Albuquerque on Saturday and that I should expect the wrecker anytime after 7 a.m.

While at breakfast at 7:18 a.m. the next morning, I received a call from Porsche Roadside Service. The service rep apologized for the fact that they could not find a properly equipped tow truck any closer than Albuquerque, which was at least four hours east of where I was. She said the tow truck should get there about noon.

My Boxster on the flatbed wrecker on the way to Albuquerque.

Tony, the tow truck driver, arrived in Chinle, about 1 p.m. and loaded the car and me in the wrecker and hauled us to Porsche Albuquerque where we arrived at 7 p.m., about a half hour after they closed. We had to park the car at the night drop-off and leave it there unsecured until the dealer opened on Monday, Oct. 7, which I was not happy about. Next, Tony took me to the Residence Inn in Albuquerque, where my wife had reserved a room for me.

The following morning I flew to Charlotte, to help my daughter with her kids (my grandkids), Riley and Jack, who I thoroughly enjoy.

On Oct. 7, Porsche Albuquerque took my car into the shop and determined that it needed shift cables, which they ordered. The shift cables were shipped overnight to the dealer from the warehouse and were received on Oct. 8. Over the next day and a half, a mechanic repaired my car. On Oct. 9 at 6:16 p.m., the dealer called me to tell me that my car repair had been completed and that they would get my car cleaned up for me to pickup on Oct. 10.

Here is the broken cable laying on the floor of the shop at Albuquerque Porsche.

On Oct. 10, I flew to Albuquerque and picked up my car in a repaired and good-as-new condition, ready to restart my journey home. From that Thursday to the following Monday, I drove my Boxster from Albuquerque to Pawleys Island, S.C., without any further problems.

I don't know how easy it is for the service personnel to see the shifter cables, but neither Baker Porsche nor Niello Porsche told me that shifter cables were worn.

Once I got home, I submitted my travel expenses to Porsche Roadside. I was pleased that Porsche North America covered all of my expenses, including my airfare. Needless to say, I highly recommend buying Porsche CPO cars. Porsche stands behind them, and when extenuating circumstances dictate, they will exceed the stated $750 coverage limits for trip interruption.

To sum it up: Under the coverage provided in my CPO warranty, not only did Porsche tow my Boxster halfway across New Mexico and then repair it with no charge, but Porsche also covered all of my expenses that I had to incur to attend to my family emergency that occurred while my car was disabled.

I certainly do not believe that a major component like shift linkage should fail at 37,000 miles on any car, especially a Porsche. But I can tell you that when the shift linkage did fail, Porsche stepped up and paid every reasonable travel expense that I had to incur because of the failure.