Monday, June 24, 2013

Beginning at the End?

 This weekend was the boys annual scout troop family camp weekend at Leavenworth. We had a great time and I have lots of pictures and stories, but the true fun happened at the end of the trip so I'll start there.Early Sunday morning, our 3 oldest children went river rafting. We joined our friends from the Baker's Dozen for lunch and then loaded up our van with our 7 children and Enoch and Kalina ( we took two of the baker's dozen crew so that they could remove a seat from their van to fit more gear). Off we went over the mountain, just Rod and I and 9 children for a total of eleven people, yes this is important, eleven people. We also had a utility trailer with our gear and a bit of the Baker's Dozen gear.
 As we hit the summit of the mountain, Rod said "I need to get the brakes checked on the van when we get home, they feel like they're grabbing a bit". Then we hit the next turn. And Rod stepped on the brakes, only instead of slowing down the whole van started shimmying and shaking. We were right by a pull out in the road and Rod was able to ease us over by pumping the brakes and using the emergency brake. Rod got out of the car and the passenger side brake was smoking and there was the most horrible smell of burnt rubber.
 Now what? I had just cleaned out my purse and remembered seeing my AAA card, so I pulled it out and handed it to Rod while he was on the phone trying to reach Chuck from the Baker's Dozen (cell service is spotty on the mountain) to let him know that 2 of his children were stranded at the top of the mountain. Then Rod hung up and called AAA only to find out that we hadn't updated our credit card after Rod's card demagnetized and we had replaced it, so our membership renewal hadn't gone through. Thankfully they were happy to take our new card number and renew us while we were already broken down!
 Only one problem left, Did you pay attention up above when I told you that we had ELEVEN people with us? When was the last time you saw a tow truck that seats eleven? Yeah, me neither. So, we can get the truck and the trailer off the mountain, but not the kids.
 It gets even trickier. The tow truck couldn't wait 3 hours until friends and family could come get us, because they needed to have 2 people and only one would be on duty, but they can't legally leave us stranded without access to food, water, and bathroom facilities. They also can"t just cram us all in the cabs of the trucks (yes, two) without car seats and seat belts. So, they put in a call to the WA State Patrol to ask for advice.
 By this time we had gotten hold of the Baker's Dozen who had managed to unload two of their children with our friends at Small Wonders (also camping with us) and turned back up the mountain to pick up their children and our trailer. This left us with nine people. Rod's parents had just bought a new mini van so he headed our direction able to pick up most of us (just from 3 hours away). A couple more calls got Rod's best friend Derek and his wife Bernie on the way in Rod's Mom's car (one of Derek's cars was in the shop and his daughter had the other one). But we still had the fact that the tow truck couldn't wait for them to all get there, but couldn't leave us on the mountain either.

 State patrol to the rescue! The officers called back with their decision. Put the kids in their age appropriate car seats/ seat belts and load the van on the truck. With everyone inside. But only to the nearest place with food, water, and bathroom facilities, since this isn't considered safe. Thanks to tinted windows you can't see that the kids (except Devon who rode in the cab with Rod) and I are IN the van.
 Do you see how closely we fit? They wouldn't let anyone sit in the front seats in case the van came loose from it's tie downs and crashed into the cab of the tow truck.
 Here's where we got dropped off. There were two buildings and one was closed because it was Sunday.  Rod's dad was only a few minutes away by this time though.
 Duncan, Connor, and Rod went in the tow truck the rest of the way to the shop where they were met by Derek and Bernie while Devon, Cameron, Morgan, Owen, Brenna, and I staked out this little picnic table and waited for Grandpa (only about 10 minutes).
 Brenna was happy as a clam. She thought this whole thing was a great adventure! Owen was happy until our van drove away without him. Then he was extremely upset.
 Grandpa arrived and as we started loading car seats, Cameron found our van key lying on the ground. Not with the van at the shop. Our extra van key was in the back of our trailer most of the way to the Baker's Dozen house. Thank goodness for Cam's ability to notice the little things.  So we met Daddy at the "car hospital" where the "car ambulance" took it (Owen's way of dealing with things) and were able to leave the keys with the shop. We finally got home about 11:30 that night, Rod, Connor, and Devon didn't get home until 1:00am.

 We had the van towed to Mr. Dizzy Automotive Repair. They got it fixed in one day! At several hundred dollars less than Les Schwab's quote, and even threw in a free oil change! Rod is on his way home with the van right now. It seems that one of the brake pads slipped and one of the calipers got stuck and warped the rotor or something like that (I don't speak auto repair obviously). He said it wasn't anything that we could have prevented (we didn't have the brakes checked before this trip because they had just been checked 6 months ago). Just one of those things that happen, especially to us.

 The kids and I spent some of our waiting time playing "The Glad Game".
 I'm glad it's not December
 I'm glad the rain stopped
 I'm glad Grandpa just bought a new van that seats eight comfortably
 I'm glad Mrs Baker's Dozen ate the bug, not me
 I'm glad Mom always over packs so we didn't freeze, starve, or run out of toilet paper
 I'm glad we have friends who will drive 6 hours round trip to rescue us the night before they leave for vacation
 I'm glad that the only casualty was the bug Mrs Baker's Dozen (inadvertently) ate
 I'm glad Owen hadn't already started the Ketogenic Diet

Anyway, maybe tomorrow I'll tell you about the rest of our nice relaxing trip!


  1. Sounds like quite the adventure. Glad you guys found people to get you all home. Good thing they got the van fixed quickly and less money is always ago if thing. I think I would have rather been broke down with you guys then working my 14 hour day at work Monday for Inventory!!! Glad everything worked out for you guys though.

  2. Devon worked a 12 hour shift at work yesterday. It's pretty brutal!

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