Well, because of the interest shown in 'Alien Gap' mentioned in my previous post, I'll tell the story:
As you can make out from the pic above, the area is very rocky and at this spot the road inclines steeply to the top of a hill which has a narrow cutting through which only one car can safely pass at a time.
Late one moonless night I was traveling this Orange River road, my daughter Megan in the passenger seat and a Fox Terrier named 'Boo' sitting on the backseat.
The Corolla was functioning normally but Megan and I were both feeling tired after a day-long journey.
As we approached Alien Gap and were about to drive up the incline, the car suddenly lost power and stopped dead in the middle of the road. The engine was still running but I couldn't get the car to move, it was as if there was no connection between the wheels and the engine.
All of a sudden Boo jumped up and started snarling and barking furiously at 'something' outside the window behind me - I've never in my life seen a dog so terrified, he was in a state of total panic - the whole 'atmosphere' was highly charged and the hair on the back of my neck was probably standing straight up.
It was pitch-dark outside and the whole episode felt like one of those dreams where you're trying to escape from something but, despite all your efforts, you just can't move or make progress ... it was as if a 'force' was holding us there.
After what seemed like ages but was probably only about minute and a half, I finally got the car to edge forward slowly up the hill and, having passed through the cutting we continued on our journey without further incident.
Both Megan and I were baffled by the incident and the way the dog had gone completely crazy. Having no rational answer we jokingly speculated that we'd had an "Alien Encounter" ...
... but that's not the end of the story ...
A few weeks later I was traveling with three passengers in a DIFFERENT car, (a four-wheel drive vehicle), on a flat stretch of the same road in broad daylight. All of a sudden the same thing happened - with the engine still running, the car suddenly lost power and started slowing down ... this lasted about 20 seconds before the wheels seemed to 'engage' again and we continued driving.
The funny side of this second incident is that everyone was aware of the 'Alien Gap' story and, when the vehicle lost power, we all looked out the windows and up at the skies as if in search of 'flying saucers' - and then looked sheepishly at each other when we realized what we'd just done ...
As for Boo, he was never the same after Alien Gap ... one day, at my home in the north, he disappeared and, after a search, I found him standing in a patch of long grass, stiff-legged and staring blankly straight ahead. He was unresponsive to my calls and appeared to be looking right through me. Far from any vet and afraid that he had rabies, I had no choice but to put him down - the test results showed that he didn't have the dreaded disease ... so what made him lose his mind?
So there you have it, the story of Alien Gap ... do you have a possible explanation for these incidents, was it just a coincidence of two mechanical failures?