We were only 10 miles down the road this morning when our ride started getting bumpy. We decided it was bad road conditions but then all of a sudden the engine started revving, the RPM guage flip flopping and we realized things were not going as planned and something was really wrong. Luckily we were near an exit ramp with limited services but we could see a gas station on the other side of the freeway.
As we were plodding along the exit ramp, poor AJ got sick. As L relayed everything that AJ "ruined" in the back, I had a moment where I felt very defeated and was ready to burst into tears (which I do very rarely so you know fatigue had hit) but moments later as we reached the top of the exit ramp, the "check engine soon light" came on and the engine stopped. S was able to steer the van as it rolled backwards down the ramp and got us off the main road. S called for a tow truck and I cleaned up AJ and the van as best one can do on the side of the road. There wasn't time to feel defeated. I had to pull all my energy together and move forward. Adding to the difficulty of cleaning up was the fact we were packed in there with very little space left over to move about as we weren't optimally packed due to the fact we had been skiing the day before and all of the wet stuff was just put in and we started driving.
AJ seemed to get a second wind and was running along the roadway finding all sorts of treasures from rope to broken tie down straps. After and hour and a half, a flatbed tow truck arrived to load up van. As the van is being pulled up L anounces "This could get very interesting!!" It could and it did!
A-girl all of a sudden started screaming when the tow truck driver arrived and continued to be upset for the rest of the drive. We all climbed into the cab of the truck and made our way back to the same hotel we were left earlier this morning. Despite the hot (AC didn't work) and bumpy ride back, the kids seemed to enjoy the adventure and AJ was able to "leave nothing behind." I'm sure we were an interesting sight as we pulled in front of the hotel, 7 people piled out of the tow truck and then the driver lowered the flatbed and we took out the few things we could easily reach from the van before he took it away. Since its, Sunday there isn't much we can do but wait until tomorrow to find out what is wrong with the van and how long it will take to fix it. It is likely the transmission which will make things a bit more complicated.
When S was getting us checked into the hotel, I was filling out paper work in the tow truck. The driver handed us his business card. L read it while I was completing the forms. It said:
If we meet and you forget me-
You have lost nothing-
But if you met Jesus Christ and forget him-
You have lost everything.
Excitedly, L announced "Mom! See!!! Its Sunday and this is on our card!"
So here we are in North Platte, Nebraska having a lazy day. It would be a true luxury if it weren't also a bit stressful but we are enjoying our family time together. Fortunately there is a pool here at the hotel and we could easily get to the swim bag in the van. The kids are also enjoying watching TV as we don't have cable at home and their veiwing time is severely limited by most standards. Our biggest challenge seems to be getting food. We are in a hotel without a restuarant and there is only one open today that delivers. There is a taxi service, however it doesn't run on Sunday. The hotel has a van parked in front of the entrance, however they can't drive us to a restaurant to pick up food. We may be having pizza for lunch and dinner.
Looking back, we are very fortunate to have stopped last night when we did. We were planning to keep driving as long as we could to get us closer to home. J, T and M are arriving tomorrow for a visit and K was also visitng in town and we were hoping to link up in the morning......not looking like it will happen. After enjoying the powder skiing, our goal was to get as close to home as we could. At 3:00 am L had to go to the bathroom so we stopped and she kept asking if we could get a hotel. We decided to stop and drove across the freeway to the only hotel in the area. As we sat waiting for the tow truck tody, I couldn't help thinking how grateful I was that it wasn't 3:00 in the morning when it may have been tougher to get a tow truck and find availablility in the hotel.
Although this isn't what we had planned and it will likely continue to get more interesting, we're together and making things as positive as we can.