Monday, February 18, 2008

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good

With the goal of putting together a last-minute, low-budget weekend get-away, we accepted Daniel and Dalynn's (Will's brother and wife) invitation to drive to Vancouver for the weekend and visit them.

We were excited to get out of town, to see them (since we hadn't visited them in over a year and a half), and to enjoy a little time away from the usual.

We went to the park, ate yummy food, and of course the boys played a few hours of "Settlers". (Above: Will pushing Mika in the swing, with Daniel in front. Dalynn pushing Ember).

(Right - Me trying to stay warm and taking photos of everyone swinging).

(Below - A familiar site - two brothers battling at "Settlers". Daniel won.)

The Bad - the trip to Vancouver

Well, we tried to get out of Seattle early but that didn't happen. Thanks to me (I was late picking up Will from work). After only sitting in rush hour traffic for an hour or so, I needed to go to the bathroom. So we pulled off the freeway somewhere around Des Moines and found a BurgerKing. It took us like 30 min to get there because of how much traffic there was.

45 minutes later, we were finally back on the freeway. Inching along.

Then, as we were conversing, we started to notice that the road sounded funny. "It must be the pavement", Will said, as we heard the thump-thump, thump-thump sound. "Ummmm...let's change lanes to be sure." I said. So we switched, and the sound was still there. "Honey, I think we have a flat."

So we pulled all the way over to the right and got off on the side of the freeway. Sure enough, our front right tire was flat. Great.

By this time, it was about 7:15pm. (We had left Bellevue at 5pm) Will got everything out of the trunk, put it in the backseat, and got out the spare tire and changing tools. A few minutes later he comes up to me and says, "Well, the spare is flat. Luckily I have a pump, so I'm going to pump it up and see if it will hold."

7:40pm - Will the amazing, gets everything together and we are back on the freeway, again inching along with traffic. We get off on the next exit. Of course now its too late for any Les Schwabs to be open, but fortunately we find a Walmart that took us right before they closed at 8pm.

9:30pm - We have a new front tire and we are finally back on the freeway again. We finally arrive in Vancouver around 11pm.

The next day, Will finds a Walmart in Vancouver because we still need to replace the flat spare. The guy working there tells Will that our new tire is not the correct spec for our Jetta and we need to get a different and more expensive tire. Fortunately, Will explained that it was Walmart who sold us the tire in the first place - so 3 hours later, we had TWO new tires (nice ones) for the same price as the cheaper tires.

The Ugly - The trip home to Seattle

Sunday morning, we are excited to take a nice scenic trip home along the coast (instead of the freeway). It is sunny outside and beautiful.

After about 2 hours on the road, we make it over towards the coastal mountain range and we notice a herd of Elk in a field on the side of the road. So we stop, turn around, and go back to look at them. We see a gravel road, so we take it in the hopes that we will get a closer look at the elk.

Dang elk.

Next thing, we hear this screeching scratching sound and realize that the ground clearance on our car is too low for this gravel road and we had hit some rocks. It didn't sound good at all, and I'm sitting there cringing as Will backs up and attempts to get around it. We just kept hearing the sound. But we did make it closer to the elk before they got spooked and ran off.

We got back on the highway and about a 1/2 mile down the road, we see a historical marker so we pull over to read it. "What is that smell?", we both said. I jokingly said to Will, "Maybe you should get out and check out the gigantic hole that you put on the bottom of the car!"

He backs the car up so we are in the sun more, and we both notice a huge puddle of fluid where the car was parked just a moment ago. That is not good. Will gets out, walks up to it and sticks his finger in it and we both just look at each other.

It's oil.

Will quickly calculates how long it would take to drain out 5 quarts of oil at the rate it was spewing out. He determined that we had about 20 minutes to find a place to get it fixed.

Problem is - It was Sunday, and we were in the middle of no where.

We sped down the highway and about 20 miles later we found a tiny town called South Bend, found an Exxon and pulled in. I went in to use the bathroom, and Will found a phonebook and a local person.

Apparently South Bend doesn't have a mechanic in town, but they gave us the number for a tow truck. We went back out to the car and could see the oil spewing out from underneath the car.

We call the towtruck guy, who shows up 45 minutes later. His tow truck is like a 1960's Chevy. lol. But he was really nice. He said he would look at the problem to see if he could fix it.

So while he's jacking up the car, I'm inside calling Geico to see if our insurance covered towing service, and where the nearest Volkswagon dealership is.

The guy tells us that he can't fix it, we're going to need a new oilpan, but he can tow us to Olympia and it would cost us about $400.00.

And this was supposed to be a low-budget weekend getaway. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Will pleads with him to see if he could patch it up, even with ducttape. The guy says he would try. So he leaves to go get supplies. An hour later, he comes back with crayons and some patch putty. Yes - crayons. Apparently to seal the crack, and wisk away the oil.

3 hours later, he's got us patched up. Fortunately he only charged us $60 too - what a nice guy. Will gave him the cash and also one of my Cds (although he didn't look like the type to listen to my type of music lol).

We were on our way, it was dark, we missed our scenic opportunity, but we did find a DQ and got a sweet deal on some hamburgers and enjoyed a cookie dough blizzard as we made our way home, stopping every once in a while to check the patch job. It held.

At least we can say we saw some elk. Which, by the way, we saw PLENTY more of on the way home. lol.

What an adventure. At least we had each other to laugh about it with.

In the video below you can see how bad the leak was.


Roemhildt Family Fun said...

That sure got ugly. I hope you enjoyed your weekend anyway

Pregnancy Chic Unrated said...

I'm so sorry to hear that your relaxing, easy weekend away turned out to be anything but easy and relaxing.

The fun thing about your trip is that it was an adventure from start to finish. Even though you didn't have the time you thought you would I'm sure it brought you closer together and I'm sure you can laugh about this trip down the road and what an adventure it was together.

It seems you were very lucky to be able to get things fixed the way that oil was leaking out.

You wanting bonding time with Will, you certainly got it. :) Great trip recap. I'm sure your next trip will be easier.

And.. what a way to distribute your music across the country. :)

Will Thomas said...

I have to thank mom and dad for the handy emergency car kit that they gave us for christmas a few years ago. It had tons of goodies. The only thing I had used it for up until this weekend was to inflate my flat basketball with the pump. This weekend I got to use the emergency light, reflective triangle, and the pump to pump up a tire, not a basketball.

Also, an interesting detail, when I pulled out the spare tire to put on car and noticed it was flat, I quickly scanned the tire to see why it was flat. There was a big nail embedded in the tread. I pushed the nail in as far as possible and inflated the tire. The nail stayed. LOL That's why it was vital to get a new tire that night and not just ride the spare all the way to Portland.

Side note: The elk were pretty, a Jetta has less clearance than a Kia Sephia, Daniel's gotten much better at Settlers, Missy Moo has the best manners, (thanks to Dalynn) Apple's got the prettiest eyes and I got lots more one on one time with Jenni.

Mama said...

Ugh - I'm glad we all got plenty of rest while you were at the house! I'm also glad you made it home safely. Thanks for all the compliments Will!

Brian & Veronica said...

Crazy stuff! Glad you guys even made it anywhere at all. :) And I'm glad you're laughing about it. It's so easy to get frustrated, but it doesn't change a thing, you may as well laugh. Hope it's not too expensive to fix!
Love ya,

The Thomas Family said...

Well, I'm sure that's a trip that you won't be forgetting.That's not only a good blog post, but a good journal entry too.
Other then all the ugly stuff the rest of the trip sounded fun. Wish we could of joined you. (on the fun stuff, not the car problem part)
Some day we will all be able to travel together. Luke's dream would be to go on a cruise together.(the whole Thomas family, kids and all) Wouldn't that be a blast! Some day.

Roemhildt Family Fun said...

I just finished Reading Daniel and Dalynn's blog and read that you had watched Becomming Jane. I'm so jealous I wanted to watch that movie in theater but james wasn't to keen on the idea. How was it? did you like it? tell my everything.

Kate said...

I'm so sorry - car troubles are the worst!

Sandy said...

What a fun time!! I'm so impressed that you didn't blow it (and I'm not talking about the tire). Instead you just rolled with the punches and even took pictures. "Pleasie" for sure! I'm glad you could use the emergency kit, but I'm sorry you had to.

Chelle said...

Sounds like a rough trip, but you both took it in stride... and it looks like you had a good time with family. Hopefully the coming week will present less stress and more calmer moments!

Dave, Bethany, Taylar and Jordynn said...

Sounds like a typical VW (bus)

Anonymous said...

Wow, remind me not to plan a trip with you guys anytime soon... J/K I am glad there was some good in there. This is the 2nd time I am leaving this message, I did not see it on the post, so if it is a repeat, so sorry. Most importnant though, YOU HAVE BEEN TAGGED! Check out my site for details. :)Love ya!

The Paulks said...

oh my gosh you guys! I do have to say, your story cost more than ours. I think we only ended up being out about $600. Bummer! That is too crazy!