Well, it started out as a good idea, and hopefully, in the end it will not turn out to be the biggest waste of one of the beautiful fall days God has given us.
We are searching for a second car, due to Chris accepting a job down in the boonies where the buses, trains and metros cannot take him. We are (and by we I mean I) not good at math, but we tried to make sure that the new job’s benefits & pay increase weren’t cancelled out completely by us having to buy a car, then doubling our current car insurance & gas bills. And because we don’t like bankruptcy, this “NEW” car has to be kind of OLD and full of miles. Our price range was pretty low, but at the same time we couldn’t completely buy a lemon.
We’d been scouring Craigslist and AutoTrader, and noticing that if we were willing to drive a little farther to see a car, we could find slightly newer cars with less miles for the same price. Last Saturday we hunkered down and scheduled a road trip to see a couple cars slightly west of town. And by slightly, I mean 89.3 miles. Did I mention I was not good at math?
I think I was thinking this place was a couple (ok max. 5 or 6?) towns away. And I seriously didn’t realize what a road trip we had committed to until I started seeing exit signs for
And about this time I was SO REGRETTING the optimism I had that we could do this all with NO AIR CONDITIONING (it had stopped working just the day before!) on what felt like upwards of an 80 degree day. The windows were down, the ipod was not working, the kids were throwing things out the open windows whenever they weren’t FIGHTING.
Then suddenly things got worse.
“Holy Cow, we’re overheating!” Chris said, and pulled us over on the side of the road an exit or 2 before Front Royal. Luckily, Chris knows a bit about cars, and he lifted the hood and checked a few things, but ultimately, this was a problem that indicated a lengthy visit with a mechanic. Our road trip seemed to be over. But how would we get home????
We decided to hold a family prayer.
For some reason, I felt like we should call the used car salesman that we had an appointment with. We did, and honestly, he didn’t seem too concerned about us dying in the Shenandoahs, which was my big concern. He said if the car could make it a few more exits, there was a WalMart with a car service center. And good luck.
So Chris skillfully coasted us 3 or 4 miles, stopping every 100 yards or so to let the car cool down. WalMart, it turned out, did not do repairs. Just tire and lube. Somehow I just trusted Chris to get us out of this mess while I took Eli and Mia to the WalMart bathrooms. When we were done, the update from Chris was that he talked to a dude that knew a dude and a mechanic was headed over to meet us & would be there in 10 minutes.
Part of me was so devastated that we had driven for so long, and now for nothing! Definitely no site-seeing on
I called around to a couple dealerships to see if they had shuttle service so we could come look at cars… Nope. Nothing. And we were in the middle of nowhere.
We arrived in a garage in someone’s backyard, basically. A couple houses over, there were people sitting on the front porch with teeth missing. Redneckville. My level of confidence in the mechanic was not overly enhanced by the fact that we stopped off by 7-11 on the way. (Um we are having an emergency here… And you are stopping by SEV!!!!!!)
A buddy of the mechanic’s had been along for the ride. We shook hands and he said, “Hi, I’m David. Praise The Lord.” I said, “Um… OK…. Thanks.” Which I think was probably not the appropriate response, but I’ve never been greeted that way before. He told me there was a park we could walk around in while the work was being done, and I was anxious to get the bleep out of there so I could go have an anxiety attack in private, rather than in the presence of David Praise The Lord and the Big Gulp Addict.
To be continued... Part 2 will be posted tomorrow.