The trip from H.E. double hockey sticks – Days 1 through 5
In the beginning there was a Suburban.
The moving truck had left our house on a cool Wednesday morning after our packers dealt with snow on a June Tuesday morning that was supposed to be late Spring. We were excited to get on the road to begin our move from WA state to a warm Florida so Ryan could begin Naval Flight School. Everything was going very well. The movers finished a day early and we were going to get a 24 hour head start on our journey because of it.
Thursday came and we packed up our air mattress, the kids sleeping bags, and loaded up the trailer while Ryan took the car to get it weighed and run a few other errands. The morning had a rough start, little things were going wrong here and there but we were not going to let it get us down.
The realtor was over walking through our house and pointing out negatives, and if you have ever sold a house you know this is the not-fun part, when Ryan called with some not-so-good news. Something was amiss with the Suburban’s transmission. The car still ran so he was on his way to the closest transmission place in Moscow, about 40 minutes away.
The very friendly mechanic there stuck it up on a lift and glanced around. He thought that it had something to do with the 4 wheel drive and told Ryan that he was 95% sure that if we just didn’t use the 4 wheel drive we could make our trip just fine. Ryan decided to go with that but didn’t make it half way home before he had to turn back to the transmission place. He called me with the news that they would not have an answer until the next day; they had to rip apart the transmission to figure it out. We stayed another night resting on the hope that it would be an easy fix and we would get on the road the next day, Friday.
I am not a car person but as my husband explained it to me, a bearing roller chewed up the second and overdrive gear sets. Apparently this wasn’t a good thing.
The parts were ordered and we were told they would arrive on Monday; Tuesday at the latest. We had no choice to stick out the weekend but we did get a wild idea to call our local Chevy dealer to check out the availability of a 12 or 15 passenger Chevy Express passenger van. We were planning on getting one as soon as we got to Florida anyway. #7 is due in January, making us 9, and we only had 8 seats in the Suburban.
As it turns out, there aren’t any Chevy Express passenger vans in our area for quick purchase. They must be built to specification and shipped from the manufacturer or searched for and brought in from other parts of the northwest. Our very nice salesman went to work looking for some even though he knew that it was quite likely our Suburban would be fixed and we would be on our way by Tuesday night. He only found a couple and Ryan told him to call on Monday to see where we stood with our car.
Monday morning came and Ryan called the transmission place to check on the arrival of our parts. They were shipped at the same time from the same place but only one arrived. Grrr.
They called back later to say that there was an error with the delivery and both parts were on the delivery truck but one was mistakenly overlooked. It was delivered later that day and we were able to pick up our car at around noon on Tuesday.
We let the Chevy dealer know that we would not be needing a new van but thanked him profusely for his dedication to finding us one just-in-case.
With smiles back on our faces we packed up stuff and got out the door a few hours later.
30 miles down the road the transmission blew again. We were all silent as we sat on the side of the road. We didn’t know what was going on but we knew that the car wouldn’t go forward or backward at all. After a few minutes sweet Matthew(5) announced that we were out of gas.
We were not out of gas.
We have USAA insurance which offers a similar service as AAA. Ryan called them as we sat there on the side of the highway and they set up the tow. Back to Colfax, the town we had been trying to leave for the last 5 days.
Ryan’s sister lived close and came to pick us up in shifts because we have so many kids – not many vehicles can hold us all safely. She was about 10 minutes away so this wasn’t too bad. A friend of hers came with his pickup and towed our trailer to her house and that is where we stayed for the night. The next morning our sweet, sweet pastor went out of his way to drive the 20 minutes in the church van to come pick up my family and cart us back to Colfax. In this time we discovered that our car still sat on the side of the road because the tow truck driver slated to come and get it felt it was just too far for him to drive. It would have been nice if somebody had let us know this.
USAA decided to have it towed to a closer town of about 200 people because they had a working garage. Ryan informed them that that garage was not exactly the type of garage that you would take your transmission to but USAA was insistent that this is where we should go. After numerous phone calls, and a wonderful CS representative who really did want to be helpful, we managed to get the car towed all the way back to the transmission facility that did the original ‘repair’.
We then called the Chevy dealer back and told him we would like to do business.
More to come…
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