Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Van Vacation Curse

I am going to start this post with a little background because I definitely think it calls for it. 2 years ago we went camping over the summer. This was not only my 1st time tent camping but there were TONS of kids since it was a Girl Scout family campout. I brought my family which, at the time, included a 9 month old, 2 year old, 4 year old, 9 year old, and 12 year old.

At the end of the weekend I was tired and ready for a real shower but we stayed after most left to help everything get packed and cleaned up. On the way home the baby is tired, kids are restless and hungry.  We forgot that after a certain city there isn't much until you get close to the next city (about an hour) so we accidentally passed the one without grabbing dinner. We are hoping the kids don't overtake us before we get to the next city. The baby finally falls asleep. Then it happens, our transmission dies.

The good news was we had AAA plus so can get towed 100 miles (and we're 88 miles from home). However, we have 5 kids and noone has a car big enough to pick us up. As luck would have it though, my sister was only 30 minutes behind us with her minivan. This only was lucky because we got the only tow truck I've ever seen with a back seat.  Her husband and older kids rode with my husband and older kids in the tow truck so I could fit my carseats in her minivan.

Getting home wasn't the only challenge though. My kids were scheduled to start swimming lessons in 12 hrs. My husband drives a 2 door sports coupe or a 2 door 1965 (read as no seatbelts) pickup truck. I got to switch between the sports coupe and my moms Civic. You are correct, neither fits 5 kids so that was a challenge too. 3 weeks later our transmission is fixed and we are thinking about the backup car dilemma.

While thinking of the backup car dilemma time passes and I am now pregnant with #6. In other words we need a bigger car. Needless to say we keep this in mind when we are shopping. To have reliability when we travel we bought a 2010 van. Just in case, we kept the minivan.

Without a thought we take our new van with it's new tires, transmission, engine, oil, gas...and did I mention tires on a trip.  We load the kids up and drive 3 hrs away to pick my oldest up from the University. The next day we have a full day in nearby Atlanta and then head the 3.5+ hrs. The plan is to be home by 10pm. After 2 stops and lots of screaming the baby falls asleep.

It was finally so quiet that we were actually able to hear a horrible hissing noise.  What the heck is that?  I am looking for a toy gone wild. That is until my husband who knows what it is says something I can't remember now but, if I had to guess, I couldn't repeat it anyway. I turn around and see the air pressure light on. Yep, we're in the middle of nowhere again, just passed the last of the big city a few miles before. It's 9 pm at night so pitch dark. The next exit is still 2 miles away.

I know most people would view being unprepared as a bad thing.  I, however, am optimistic. My hubby pulled off as far as he could without pulling into the ditch.  But I still didn't want him changing the driver's side flat with cars flying by at 75-80 mph in the dark.  We have a jack, we have a spare, but we have no flashlight. We get to wait an hour for AAA to show up and change our tire. Though, I am pretty sure my hubby would prefer that anyway because who wants to use the dinky jack that comes with a vehicle to jack up a 7000 lb 12 passenger van.

The baby immediately woke up and didn't go back to sleep until 30 minutes after we were back on the road. Everyone else took turns waking up to whine.  We finally pulled in our driveway at midnight. Hubby thinks that we probably ran over something in the Publix parking lot, where I made him stop after the baby had been screaming an hour, to pick up more Advil. Sure, make it my fault.

I am beginning to think our vans just don't like the extra work of vacations. Next time we go anywhere my hubby better listen to me, and pamper the vehicle with an oil change. I'll even get the kids to give it a nice sponge bath too.

1 comment:

  1. And now you know the height limits too! Lol! Glad you got home safely. What a trip! Although, it does sound slightly better than the last breakdown...