Wednesday, June 28, 2006

If not for the courage of the fearless crew...

Well, we made it to Connecticut. It took us a LONG time, but we are here.

We stayed longer than we expected in a town called Hermitage, PA. We intended to just get gas. But, alas, the horrendous noise that the van emitted when we turned it on again.

We weren't surprised. The twenty minute shrieking spell that it went through while we were on the road was warning enough. Although it went away, we knew something was probably wrong.

But we rolled into Hermitage just after 6 pm on a Sunday. So there wasn't any hope of getting it looked at until morning. We were at least 100 miles short of where we wanted to be, but we decided it would be wise to just get a hotel room.

Early Monday morning, we went to visit a repair shop that had been recommended by the desk clerk at the hotel. He seemed totally unconcerned, telling us he might have other appointments. But he didn't even check to see if those appointments actually existed, so we moved on. Firestone.

They sent us over to the Dunkin Donuts for breakfast with our hungry children (it was the only place within walking distance, but, really, I wasn't complaining.) They said they'd check it out and let us know what the problem was when we got back from breakfast.

And that is exactly what they did.

But, they could not find the part they'd need to fix it. We needed a new bearing for the air compressor. They said we might be able to drive another two years without it breaking. But, if it DID break, then we would lose power to the engine. They suggested that maybe we drive to a bigger town and maybe we could get it fixed there. Or, even drive it to CT and have it fixed while we were here.

But, see, that CRAZY mom in me wasn't too keen on the idea that we could break down on an interstate highway with three kids in tow.

They told us they could get the part by Tuesday morning, and they'd start working right away.

So, we drove off in our van, which we have decided sounded like it was perculating coffee... LOUDLY. We moved to the Radisson, where they had an indoor pool and ridiculously overpriced food. We spent a lot of time in the pool. We still had use of the van, so we went to Walmart to get some things we needed. We found a family restaurant, which when we walked in, we learned was actually an Italian restaurant. Whatever. We were too hungry at that point to go anywhere else.

But, it was my birthday (did I mention that?) so I thought this will be my birthday dinner. They had stuffed shells, after all.

I know you might have been thinking that Hermitage, PA is known for it's Italian food. It is. Nowhere else on this planet have I ever eaten stuffed shells that were actually crunchy.

Aye, aye, aye.

Other than the indifferent guy at the garage and the bad Italian food (with service to match,) we had a fine time in Hermitage. The hangout time with the family was nice. Lots of pool time. Lots.

Tuesday morning, Paul took the van to the Firestone. The manager conned a guy who'd come in for an oil change to bring Paul back to the hotel! But he was back in time for breakfast. I had an omelette. I think it cost about $80. Roughly.

More swimming.

Six hours and a thousand dollars later, we were finally on our way to CT.

As we drove out of town, I told Paul that I wanted to pull a "Pretty Woman" on that first mechanic we looked into. You know, walk into the garage and say "Hi, remember us? We were here yesterday and you wouldn't help us. Big mistake. HUGE!" But, we didn't have any shopping bags to show for ourselves, and I didn't think that shoving a Firestone receipt in his face would pack the same punch.

So we left.

After a few hours of driving, we stopped for dinner and were back in the car by 7 pm. We figured we would reach CT by 10:00.

Until I-80 closed down due to flooding.

We took about an hour long detour. Bethany, who is not a fan of the carseat, wanted out soon after we got back on I-80. We stopped at the nearest rest stop so she could get out. We called my parents and told them that we had no idea when we would get there, but we had about 175 more miles left to go.

Rain would not stop.

Kids finally asleep.

Two more exits to go.

Accident on the highway.

Thankfully, were were in my hometown by this point. We saw the accident early enough that we just exited early, and we drove through town a little more.

We rolled in around midnight.

Land sakes.

Thanks for all of your prayers. I know someone was praying because I felt oddly calm and really not even all that annoyed through all of it.

But it is nice to be here.


Blogger Heather said...

Oh my! I'm sorry you had such a bad drive. I hope the time with your family is much better!

Wed Jun 28, 01:02:00 PM  
Blogger sarahgrace said...

Whoa. Glad you made it there safely- and I guess.. now you have some stories to tell, and your van is fixed...

Wed Jun 28, 04:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What??? Hermitage???!!! This is where most of my relatives live! And they own an Italian resturant! Just kidding...but we did spend many a summer there. Crazy. Gald you are there safe and sound, and still with sanity.

Wed Jun 28, 10:13:00 PM  
Blogger Barb said...

I love the way you said, "But it's nice to be here." I would imagine it's nice to ANYWHERE after that trip! At least the food should be free for a while. :-)

Wed Jun 28, 11:54:00 PM  
Blogger Blessed Beyond Measure said...

We went on vacation once, a bodunk place in Kansas (sorry Addie) and ended up hunkered in the downstairs bar with all the people who had obviously been there quite awhile because there was a tornado passing over. Kids crying, juke box just playing and playing, weird people singing along. But - But we DO remember that trip and I cant say that for the 99 other times we drove through Kansas. This is a trip you will remember! What great papers your kids could write - what I did on my summer vacation...

Thu Jun 29, 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger Shalee said...

Good night nurse! Seriously Lori, next time make the trip to KC... Free lodging, great food (surely I can make something that your family can eat), and fun with a friend. Two plusses: no flooding and pie. Nuff said.

Oh and happy birthday, you pretty woman you!

Thu Jun 29, 04:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Linda said...

Lori, I just laughed and laughed as I read your account of the trip!:) You are still as funny as ever! Glad to hear you made it safely and that you could make the best of the situation. But, hey, if you travel to KC to see Shalee, you have to drive through St. Louis and stay with us too! See, we've got your next vacation all lined up for you!:) Love you guys!

Thu Jun 29, 11:29:00 PM  

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