Vacation time. I took a week off to go to South Florida. My Girlfriend is from Boca Raton her parents are selling their house and she still has boxes of stuff if their garage. We pile into my 99 Escort SE wagon. The trip is great her dad rents us Wave Runners I get to meet her High School , swim in the ocean see miami and south beach for the first time. My escort seems to handle it like a champ blowing cold air and returning an average of 25mpg. The car does seem sluggish and I make a mental note to check on some things when we get back to New Orleans. On the way home we plan to stop at a spring in High Springs FL and go take a dip before driving the 8 hours home. We pull into a rest area about 40 miles south of gainsville on the I75. I try to start up the car nothing. I can hear the solidond and its not kicking in the starter. The battery is fully charged. I frown a bit and finally call AAA. Its sunday so I decide to tow it to her friends house in Gainsville. With the help of the neighbor we pull the starter. He bench tests it, it spins up but he says the bearings are bad. The next day I get a new starter and go to install it. It was a pain in the ass but we got it done. put the battery in and try it. Same thing. Finally we try to turn the motor. Its stuck on one part. I pull the plugs and sure enough there is metal fragments in number 4. the dreaded valve drop I read about. Now I feel fairly certain that given enough time and this forum I could probably rebuild the damage is maybe not so bad since the valve dropped as the car was starting but I am in Gainsville. My Girlfriend who has been waiting patiently has to get back to work. So we rent a car and drive home. Her friend is gonna scrap the car for me and split the money with me unless anyone here wants it. It has lots of new parts, including a new starter. I am looking at a 1990 honda accord tomorrow. I was really tempted by another 99 escort se that was pretty much the same car but this valve drop thing is kinda a deal breaker. Also the honda is 700 and the escort is 1350. You guys are great I feel so much more confident about working and understanding cars because of this forum.