Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Car-tastrophe

Pretty much the only thing that went as planned this weekend was that I got my 14 mile run in. I had no time or pace goal, just that I wanted to run 14 miles—and I did.

Other than that, it was a colossal frustration of things that didn’t happen. For over a month now, we’ve been planning a really fun trip to my sister’s house. There were plans to take the kids to an amusement park. Plans for Shane and my brother-in-law to go to a baseball game Saturday afternoon. I didn’t tell Luke until Friday morning, because otherwise, he can’t handle the anticipation of something fun. When I told him, he was so filled with excitement that I was even more excited (and I was pretty excited).

The bags were packed Thursday night. Friday, I came home from my run. Threw the bags in the car. Waited for Luke to get off the bus, and then waited for Shane to come home. We all hopped in the car and set out. It’s about a 4.5 hour trip. Not too bad, but not one that we could make before bedtime.

I offered to drive the first leg of the trip. My legs were still feeling pretty good, despite running 14 miles right before we left. I had on my compression socks and was ready to go. We swung through the McDonald’s drivethru before we got on the road for an early dinner (hey, we hardly ever do fast food… and I just ran 14 miles! I needed some junky sustenance). Then

And then, we drove into rain. Not just any rain, but a torrential downpour with lightning on every side of us. I could hardly see the tail lights of the cars in front of us. We were going no faster than 50 mph and the radio kept saying, “if you’re between mile markers ___ and ___” please pull off. We were, of course we were.

Shane looked at the radar on my phone and we saw that we’d be out of it in about 45 minutes, so we just kept driving and hoping, but it was stressful. Just when you think things can’t get worse, Tommy was sobbing loudly because the storm was scaring him, and my car started to shake. The RPM surged to 5 and it was making all manner of horrible noises. I pulled off at the nearest exit, where there was nothing but a lot of fields. I couldn’t even find a place to pull off because there were so many people pulled off waiting out the storms, but I finally found a side road and parked. I turned off my car and turned it back on, only to be greeted by the glowing check engine light. I almost immediately started crying because I knew that an hour and a half into our trip, our best bet was to turn around and pray we could make it home.

Shane and I switched drivers. It was not a fun trip home. The boys were upset and antsy. I was definitely upset. My car wouldn’t go over 60 without horribly shaking. The RPM stayed at 3 and would randomly shoot way up. To say we were frustrated was an understatement. It took us around 2 hours to get home. We pulled into the driveway exhausted, but happy to not be broken down on the side of the road somewhere. In the course of the very long drive home, Shane and I realized that we need a new, reliable car. My car is only six years old, but it is not the most reliable of cars. We need something that we can trust will get us on a trip without breaking down when we’re less than halfway there, so we will definitely be spending the next couple of months car shopping.
Fortunately, the issue with my car was not a huge, costly one. It turns out that a wire beneath the battery box was corroded and came loose. In the process, all kinds of false signals went out to the engine causing it to act like the transmission was going out. I’m glad because it was a much cheaper fix than a new transmission, but the timing is SO frustrating. Why couldn’t it have done that on my way to work? Or on a random trip to the grocery store? Or when we were ten minutes from home and could’ve made arrangements to borrow a car from my parents or Shane’s? I can’t control the timing, though! So, where we are with cars is that we’re looking at a crossover. I personally would be okay with a minivan, but Shane is not sold. Right now, we’re considering a Chevy Traverse or a GMC Acadia. We will most likely buy American—and because I’m irrationally angry at my Ford Focus, we’re not really looking at Ford, though you can try to convince me otherwise. I would love to hear from people who have crossovers! Tell me what you love or don’t love. Or tell me why I should get something else, whatever. Keep in mind that we are looking for something with 3rd row seating and something that isn't too costly. Mostly, just help me find a car that won’t ruin our weekend.

12 comments:

Beth @ Snaps of Our Life said...

I'm so sorry! Car trouble is the worst. We are taking a trip this weekend and I am terrified our wheel will fly off, or the engine will blow up.

No advice about cars, but the Acadia is my dream car. It's pretty.

Amanda K. Mosler said...

I love our Hyundai Tucson (which is 2 row), but Hyundai also has the Santa Fe which is third row. The warranty is great compared to other brands. The "cheap" reputation Hyundai has is definitely a myth! Our base model has heated seats, leatherette interior, and heated side mirrors. Not too shabby. :)

corrin said...

Blah. What a bummer. But if you're car searching, I recommend the Ford Flex (especially if there are more babies in your future). My mom had one and I absolutely adore it and demand to drive whenever I'm home.

millerjk said...

Lurker, delurking to answer your question...
we own a traverse and LOVE IT! We have a 2010, 3 rows, 8 seats (3 kids), and have traveled from Alaska, through Canada, to Southern Utah. It has gone to the Grand Canyon. And now it is the FIRST official Traverse in the country of Bulgaria (a long story!). It is "traversing" the streets of Sofia (which are terrible) with ease.

Bari said...

Ugh - I am soooo sorry this happened and ruined your weekend. Glad you made it home in one piece though. Hopefully you can find something safe and reliable soon. ((hugs))

pendy said...

Glad you are all SAFE.

I have a Highlander (2008) and love it. It's dependable and has a third row seat that I normally keep folded down. Highly recommend.

InTheFastLane said...

that is car-craptastic.
:( But I am glad you are safe.
And I hope that another weekend can be found for you all soon.

Stephanie Precourt said...

I really loved the Acadia when we test drove it, but (non-American) Kia was the most affordable for our family size and I really really love my Sorento. I drove a minivan in the past and prefer crossovers- I think it's just easier overall unless you need tons of cargo space!

Steph

Leah said...

I am sorry that the car ruined your weekend trip.

But way to go on a 14 mile run!

Miss you, lots.

Elaine A. said...

Oh shoot, so sorry your trip was messed up. But yes, glad it wasn't worse and that you are all safe and sound.

I love my mini van but I also LOVED my CR-V, we just grew out of it. Maybe a Pilot for you? Can you tell I am a Honda fan? ;)

Elaine A. said...

oh shoot, I totally ignored the buy Amercian thing. So yeah, I'm not help. lol.

anymommy said...

That completely sucks. Sorry about the trip, so glad you were okay. And yes, I did love our minivan and now that we have the full size van, my GOD, do I miss those automatic sliding doors.