I could not find any old pictures of our car that kicked the bucket, and I have not taken any pics of our new car yet, so this post is picture free!
We have had the same car since 2006. It has been wonderful for us, and a great road trip machine. We travel so much that it was important for our family to have a safe, reliable car. For the first 7 years, our car gave us no trouble what so ever. This past year however, we have experienced some problems. Battery, air conditioner, fuel line etc. However, when a problem arose, we would fix it quickly and try to keep this car a road trip machine.
The morning of the trip to Michigan, we were doing great! About to leave the earliest we have ever left, we piled into the car, turned the ignition, and nothing. It was dead. We charged up the battery, and poof, the car started! It was going to be a long day of driving, so the battery would have plenty of time to charge. It takes us about an hour to get to Wyoming where we live, and when we made it there, we were still sailing away. We had an appointment to meet the grandparents in Rawlins, Wyoming at 1 p.m. to drop off Oldest Bit with them. Grammy and Papa were taking the oldest two grandchildren with them to Michigan and showing them some fun sites along the way. Rawlins is four hours from where we live, and about an hour out of Rawlins, our gas tank dropped in seconds from a half a tank to nothing. If you have ever driven this stretch of Wyoming, you will know there is absolutely nothing, I mean nothing. No towns, no gas stations. We checked for leaks, and found no visible problems, so we kept pressing, praying all the way that we would make it to Rawlins. During this hour, I called the Dodge dealership in Rawlins and told them we were coming in. By grace, we made it to this dealership and staid about an hour while they did their trouble shooting. They found nothing significantly wrong, gas still in the tank, but said it was a cluster problem. And please do not ask me to explain what a cluster is. I barely understood it myself. The problem? In the middle of Wyoming, there were no parts, and no other cars like ours. Oh, I am sorry, there was one and it was owned by the bank. It would take days to get a part shipped. So what would any normal people do? They would ask the mechanics what’s the worse that could happen? The mechanics told us to do our own calculations on the gas and it is just the panel cluster.
We said goodbye to Oldest Bit, jumped back into the car and went on our way. Car ran great for the rest of the afternoon and early evening, until about seven p.m. and we were about 30 miles away from Ogallala Nebraska, where we had already planned to spend the night. Suddenly our car was dead, just coasting. We had to coast to the side of the road, just 30 miles from our destination. Now if you have ever been on this stretch, again you know there is nothing. Ogallala is a small town, and leading up to it, there is literally nothing but grass lands. I called roadside assistance told them our situation and they said they would get right on it. Twenty minutes later we received a call saying that they could not find anyone to tow us to Ogallala, and that we should call 911. I instead asked for the county sheriffs number. The sheriff was able to find a tow truck but it would be slow. We had no idea. Finally at 10p.m. the tow truck showed up and he was hooking our all wheel drive up in the dark. If you have never experienced this, let’s just say it is a pain in the rear end. Lots of pushing our car, and the poor man could barely see in the dark.
We got it hooked up, jumped in the truck and off we went. About twenty miles down the road, the driver yells, “I lost my phone!” I said that I would call it to see if the phone was in the truck. Nothing. We asked if he was sure he brought it. He said he was talking to a friend on the way to pick us up. The poor guy was so worried that he decided he would turn around to where he hooked up our car. We exited on some farm road, where he decided to unhook our car because it is easier to turn around without the weight. By this time, I thought my kids were going to cry! But they were troopers.
We turned around, and searched for the spot our car broke down. The ironic thing about our breakdown was that we stopped in front of a sign that said, “In case of emergency, call…..”, so we knew to look for the sign. Thankfully, we found it, and he drove through the median to get us on the correct side of the road. When he did, he began to back up. I yelled, “No don’t back up! I will call it and look for the light or listen for the sound! Just park!” He replied, “I will back up until I see the oil from my truck. My truck leaks oil, so I know exactly where we were parked.” “Please, let me out! I will call it!” I tried leaving the car, but the I could not open the doors from the inside. My husband joked later on that it was to keep the victims inside. I am glad he told me this joke after the fact because my imagination would have gotten the better of me.
I was finally able to jump out, and began to call the phone when I heard a faint, “We will, we will rock you….” ring tone. My husband looked under the truck and lo and behold, there was the phone. Hubby scooped it up to discover that the driver had driven over his own phone! If he had not backed up, the phone would not have gotten crushed! We all got back into the car, when the driver asked if he could use my phone to call his daughter. The rest of the hour back, he spent using my phone to call people. Awkward to say the least.
We made it to the hotel about midnight, where the kids crashed, and were more saddened by the fact they could not swim, then the fact our car was broken.
Thankfully, our in laws were driving through the next day on their way to the reunion. We waited for them in the hotel room, and then also found out that our car started back up again! Okay, so now we had someone to drive with, that could help us if we got stranded again, but we decided at that point, we needed a more reliable car. So we had friends in Iowa and our in laws looking online while we were driving for deals on cars in Nebraska.
We somehow made it to Omaha, where at that point our clocks went wonky and our gas gauge was going crazy again. And it was in Omaha, that we bought a new to us car. A more reliable road trip machine. Seems our old girl had had enough road trips and just wanted to rest. And now she is, in Omaha Nebraska. Have a good restful time there old girl!
So to end this long story, we made it to Michigan, had a great family reunion, and made it back safely, in the car the kids call “Another Burrito” which is another story, for another time.
Have a great day everyone!