What a trip!! It all started the day before we left for our tri-state adventure. Chris took the van into the shop to get the headlight cleaned so we could actually see where we were going for this trip. While there, the little leak that never leaked when we would take it to the mechanic, turned into a full on flow. Our mechanic, John, told us that it was our radiator that needed to be replaced but we would be ok for the 5 hour drive to VA as long as we got it in the shop there to be taken care of. And he was right. We just had to fill up the coolant half way and keep the car running when I got pulled over by a VA cop and got a speeding ticket! We had a relaxing and fun time at the rivah with my neice and parents. All 4 girls are pro's at tubing now:)
We were able to get the cracked radiator replaced for $480 and head on to TN the next day for the family reunion. We had driven about 7 hours or so when the gears started to shift weirdly now and again, then it would go back to normal, and then it just wouldn't shift at all. We were very close to an exit, so I drove 10mph on the shoulder to get off into a town call Bull's Gap in TN. We coasted into a gas station, opened our hood and were discouraged to find smoke and fluid all over the engine. A mechanic happened to be walking by and said that our transmission was shot! After saying "Oh crap" a few times, I called my dad to ask for advice and he reminded me that we had AAA that tows up to 100 miles! Sweet!! We were only about 70 miles from our destination so they hooked us up with a tow but we had to figure out how the five of us and our dog would get there. AAA tried to get us a rental but there were no rentals in Bull's Gap, so they got us on the phone with an enterprise rental about 15 miles away. They refused to pick us up, and there were no taxi's that came into Bull 's Gap either. Then she told me that there was a no dog policy, there were no mini-vans and they didn't have any vehicles available for 1-way trips! Sooooo, after saying "OH CRAP" a few times, the tow guy comes over to us and says in a very Tenessee accent "Well shoooooooot, I'll just put ya'll in the truck with me....I got plenty of rooooom." So, if you can picture this, I sat up front, bouncing along with the tow guy, while the 3 girls were strapped into the seat behind me and Chris and Oskar sat on the floor for 70 miles. Man, was that a hoot! It is a little hard to be stressed out about having a dead car when you are in that kind of set-up!
So, we made it to the mechanic in Maryville, TN and Chris Haw came and got us (thanks Chris!). We had a great weekend at the family reunion hanging out with friends, making new connections, having long talks, and playing a lot in the water, hiking, cooking by the fire, etc. And to top it off, the mechanic called to let us know that he fixed the van for $140!! It was just the cords to the transmission that needed to be replaced. WHEW!!!
here is moriah jumping off a 15 ft jump with no hesitation!
our communal eating/meeting area
oskar had so much fun swimming and playing with the other dogs. he was wiped out!
Moriah and Miranda had lots of bonding time
So, we left early Sunday morning for Kentucky. We wanted to hang out with our old Lazarus Society friends (the comminity we helped create 12 years ago in Wilmore). It was so great catching up with them even though not everyone could make it this time.
There were 10 kids!
We got to go to a few places we like to visit and Alexa connected to her roots. She left KY when she was only 1, but has always loved visiting.
we also hung out with the kenney's
at a great indian restaurant...yummy
BUT....our car started to pour out the coolant again. So Chris took it to the Wilmore mechanic who was nice enough to look at it immediately despite his busy schedule (not like in Philly). He replaced the radiator cap for a grand total of $8!! WE made it all the way back to Philly, although our check engine light came on half-way through the trip. We think our head gasket needs replaced:( We'll be getting our free car tomorrow, thank the LORD!! We may try just having one car for a while when this one dies.