11 January 2012

Hit the Road Jack

Sunday afternoon before driving half-way across the country we celebrated Mike’s Grandma’s 90th birthday.

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It was a fun open house!

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Near the end of the party we changed into our traveling clothes, kissed and hugged everyone in sight and waved goodbye to Mike’s family as we pulled out.

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We hit the road at about 3:30pm.

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And by 3:44,

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Sweet N already started snoozin’ (and she snoozed for a looong time),

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Hudson was hard at work on his computer,

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and Mike was feeling good in the driver’s seat.

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I had purchased some of the road trip essentials for him, including a case of Big K Citrus Drop (nothin’ but the best for him!)

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and Sunflower Seeds. I’d even thought ahead to pack a ‘spit cup’.

The trip continued uneventfully through the afternoon and evening. Well, unless you count Noelle getting mad at me for refusing to take the lid off her water cup and proceeding to remove her shoe and throw it at me in the front seat an ‘event’. Which maybe I do. Who is that little firecracker?

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Aaaanyway, night time came and the kiddos didn’t seem to eager to sleep. This glow stick was well worth the 8 cents it cost me. She played with that thing until she repeatedly dropped it and I refused to pick it up and return it to her a fifth time. Oh well.

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Right around 9pm our tire started to sound odd. I ignored it for awhile, but then it couldn’t be ignored anymore and we pulled over the side of I-70.

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Flat. Boo.

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Luckily, my husband wisely added roadside assistance to our car insurance policy and he made some phone calls to get some help on the way.

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While help was coming, I needed me a break from that van and those kiddos, who were getting crankier. The weather wasn’t too cold and I paced the side of the freeway for awhile. A little walk on the side of a big scary road always does a Mama good. Ha! N and H stayed strapped in the van.

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Help arrived, in the form of middle-aged Kevin and his flat-bed tow truck. We were advised to skip the whole ‘put the donut on the van’ thing, which was good, since we would have had to empty the whole back of the van (which was seriously full) to lower the donut down from under the vehicle. He suggested towing us to his shop and putting a new tire on there.

Only thing was, the tow-truck only had three seats and we were five people (including Kevin), so there was no way we could ride in the cab. I didn’t know what we were going to do! I expressed my concern to Kevin and he assured me it is legal to continue riding in the vehicle WHILE it is being carried on top of the flat-bed.

Seriously?

I mean, REALLY?!!!

Oh my word. He said it and what choice did we have but to believe him! After our approval he proceeded to winch up our mini-van and all it’s contents, including our family of four still buckled in our seats onto the bed and then raise us up and level us out.

Whoa. We were up there. Strange sensations were felt by all as we were chained down and started bumping down the road. Yes, bumping… it’s not a smooth ride way up there! The flashing lights were blinding us and we started flying down the freeway fifteen miles in the opposite direction from Colorado.

It was so odd way up there. Totally freaky.

Can you imagine if you were driving along on the freeway and a flat bed truck is driving next to you? Okay, that part is not hard to imagine. But then you look over and notice the older maroon mini-van chained down, and THEN you notice that there are two adults in the front seat buckled in and two kids in car-seats in the back just riding along as if all is normal?

Oh my goodness. It was funny.

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So, we arrived at this shop after 10pm. Kevin turned on the heat for us and our kids ran around wreaking havoc on the place while Kevin sold us one of these new tires.

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It’s all they had in stock and while probably more than we’d usually pay, it sure beat getting a hotel for the night to try to save twenty bucks on a tire the next day. That wouldn’t have made any sense at all.

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I sure was thankful for Kevin and his night shift. This cot that I saw in the garage made me think he must just sleep there waiting for calls from stranded folks like us all night long.

God bless ‘im.

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If you’re ever driving through Effington, Illinois, I recommend these guys! And if you ever want to get a little chuckle, just say the name of this small town outloud. It sure did provide us with some much-needed comic relief…

SO, three hours after the blown tire, we were finally back on the road and feeling good.

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Or at least Mike was feeling good after he tried this! Blech. Tasted like cough syrup. He took most of the night shift and I did a couple hour stint in the middle of the night to give him a break.

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Once the sun came up we took turns through the remainder of the drive (not this girlie, though) and arrived in the afternoon just about 24 hours after leaving Ohio. Not bad, I’d say, if you take into account the flat tire and the two lil’ kiddos that we had along.

I do believe I'd choose a long car (van) journey over a long airplane journey most any day of the week.

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