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Indy-Barely Functional-Guy
Indy-Barely Functional-Guy UltraDork
6/6/18 10:48 p.m.

 

We don't have these in Indiana, a big long tunnel through a mountain.

More fog.  We are actually above the fog here. We don't get that in Indiana either.

Indy-Barely Functional-Guy
Indy-Barely Functional-Guy UltraDork
6/6/18 10:52 p.m.

Some random shots along the route.

 

Indy-Barely Functional-Guy
Indy-Barely Functional-Guy UltraDork
6/6/18 10:56 p.m.

And then we made it to North Carolina state line.

Then on to Winston-Salem:

Indy-Barely Functional-Guy
Indy-Barely Functional-Guy UltraDork
6/6/18 11:02 p.m.

I've got more pics to upload and share, but Indy_Wife is having fun telling the story, so I'll let her paint the scene with words and I'll come back later with pics for more visual stuff. (Kinda like reading the book before seeing the movie)

Indy_Wife
Indy_Wife New Reader
6/7/18 6:45 p.m.

Part 5 - We Bought It

We texted Mr. T, craigslist wagon owner, that we’d be there about 12 noon.  The house was right off the highway and after 2 turns, we arrived. We spotted the BMW wagon in the driveway and got out to stretch.  Much car talk ensued while I try to corral 5 hungry kids with pantry scavengings. As the guys stood around chatting, oldest girl and I spotted a FOX trotting through the neighborhood in front of the house across the street.

Image result for fox

 A real life FOX, reddish with a bushy tail. We tried to snap a picture but it was moving too fast. (This picture from wikipedia.) I mean we homeschool and do nature study, but that was REALLY unexpected. Mr. T, whose house we were at, said he’d never seen a fox in the neighborhood before.  I have seen coyotes on OUR property, but never a fox. We didn’t know what it would say, or so said the kids.  They asked, "What does the fox say?"

Car talk continued (“This is how the hood opens.”  “I have the roof racks here in that box you can take”  “Does it use a lot of oil?” “Battery is back here” “I notice that the bumper is ziptied on ...” etc. etc. etc.)  Thank you Mr. T for doing the cleaning you did in preparation of our arrival but we tried to stay out of the house to contain germs.  Really, I know you moved stuff around in anticipation of us. But really, thankfully, you had a yard with a tree, rocks, grass, bugs, and a dripping downspout to stand underneath if you like that and you’re two.  Truly, we had fun looking at rolly-polly pillbugs and hitting each other with sticks. Or wait, that was just the kids. I promise. They did run around the tree and the air felt different. More southern and moist and tropical.  I talked the toddler into NOT breaking into the screened in porch while they were gone on the test drive. Between stopping the eye gouging with the sticks and dodging requests for food, I looked up local grocery stores and state parks to make a plan for lunch and changed a diaper.  Where did those wipes go??? I had a pack right here …..

The guys got back and wrapped up the paperwork. Of course, all the kids want to ride with Dad during the hottest part of the trip which necessitates unbucking and rebuckling car seats during the hottest part of the trip. This did make the Daddy grumpy but we pushed through.   We followed the directions from my phone to Kroger. Ham and turkey, chips and apples, two arguments and a meltdown, some water and a dozen cookies packed up into the cooler, we drove to the State park on one of the busiest park days ever.

With our checkered tablecloth, we ate lunch with all the doggies, runners, and hikers you would ever expect to see on a holiday weekend Sunday afternoon at the park.  We mostly kept the dogs from eating the baby’s food. Or rather from letting the baby feed the dogs her well-squished lunch. By this point, we needed to be back on the road, and Indy-guy wanted to make sure the coolant was topped up - more water needed.  We threw everything in the back of big white van and headed out.


Next: Part 6 - “Back Home Again, In Indiana” or so we’d hoped

Dirtydog
Dirtydog HalfDork
6/7/18 8:16 p.m.

Great story.  This I borrowed from the internet

When the fox appears in you life as spirit animal, it encourages action and quick, swift moves. You may be called to take action in a way that shows your adaptability and ability to move quickly through obstacles and resistance.

Indy-Barely Functional-Guy
Indy-Barely Functional-Guy UltraDork
6/7/18 8:54 p.m.

In reply to Indy_Wife :

It was actually a Gray Fox.

 

Very weird sight to see mid-day, in a neighborhood, mid-90's.  About the kids in the car. Remember, NO A/C and only one window that opens. Hot! Hot! Hot!

 

Indy-Barely Functional-Guy
Indy-Barely Functional-Guy UltraDork
6/7/18 9:01 p.m.
Dirtydog said:

Great story.  This I borrowed from the internet

When the fox appears in you life as spirit animal, it encourages action and quick, swift moves. You may be called to take action in a way that shows your adaptability and ability to move quickly through obstacles and resistance.

This is definitely relevant to the rapid decision to buy, and road trip to get it. It really truly was on a Whim.

Indy_Wife
Indy_Wife New Reader
6/7/18 9:09 p.m.

In reply to Dirtydog :

Haha!  Very apt for this whole trip, and there are further parts to this story where adaptability was in fact needed even more than it has been so far.  There IS more to the story.  Not done yet!  TLDR is my nickname.

Indy-Barely Functional-Guy
Indy-Barely Functional-Guy UltraDork
6/7/18 9:11 p.m.

Car talk with mr. T included checking the title verse's the VIN on the car. SUPER glad I checked. He was about to sign over the title to his other car! (Audi V8 manual wagon)

Ok pics:

This is at the Kroger parking lot grabbing lunch supplies.

 

Picnic at Eno River state park:

 

Indy_Wife
Indy_Wife New Reader
6/7/18 10:21 p.m.

Part 6 - “Back Home Again, In Indiana” or so we’d hoped

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psdAqPjV-J4

I think it was about 3pm or so when we finally left.  And we had realized that we wouldn’t be be able to pick up son aged 8 from Grandma’s at the agreed time, so I called and let them know and asked them to drop him off Monday afternoon.

And then we were off to get home.  I will have to get Indy-Guy give you the details on driving Das Einhorn for the first time because I was focused on the girls with me.  Thankfully, no one continued to show signs of being really sick, although the 6 year old did seem a little hot, perhaps fevered? I kept her and the older 2 girls in the air conditioning.  The day had gotten hot. Brian took the 2 year old and our older son with him in the car with 1 working window and no A/C.  He did get the windows down at our next stop.

We drove on, but we were all tired and so, at one of the overlooks, we stopped to get out and rest on a blanket in the shade.  But toddlers who were strapped into their seats for most of the last 18 hours like to RUN. So we kept going. She went back to sleep for her afternoon nap and we were going, and going, and going. Then we had to stop for gas and at the gas station, at the bottom of the hill, there was an grassy creek with rocks to throw and water to splash. It was really beautiful with the green hills and rising roads.  We skipped rocks and soaked our shoes and looked at the trees up over our heads. Then buckled back up because we had to get home. The kids were really good sports and didn’t complain much at all.

He recognized a geode.  We get geodes all the time in limestone country too.

So we're driving.  And then it began to rain. Enough to be really annoying. Especially to the wagon with open windows.  It did stop after a while. Then it rained some more. And at this point it was more stressful because we were going through the tunnels, hills, and mountains of somewhere in Virginia or West Virginia.  And remember, hungry kids = no fun? At this point, I was the navigator and I started to look for a place to eat, but the next exit was miles away. And passed a car accident (God protect them!) that ….. slowed... us …. down …. And construction.  Of course. Finally, we found an Arby’s - an infrequent treat including a milkshake. The baby girl thought that the curly fries looked like eyebrows. Body parts = preschool science. You are never more amused by silly, stupid stuff than when it’s done by your own kids.

At this point, we still had hours to drive.  It was starting to feel like a long night was coming.  Dh was tired, I was tired, kids were tired. But we were hoping and longing for home.  Vomit at any moment was a very real threat from any one in the car. Who knew who would be next?  And I really didn’t want to have to drive home on Monday and have NO time at home before resuming the pace of our real life.  (Mt. Laundry still waited at home for us. Along with the rest of our lives.) So we kept going. Which could have been “A Very Bad Idea”.  And did almost end very badly.

Next: Part 7 - Stuck, Stuck, Stuck

Indy-Barely Functional-Guy
Indy-Barely Functional-Guy UltraDork
6/8/18 9:53 a.m.

Stop for supper in the rain:

Indy-Barely Functional-Guy
Indy-Barely Functional-Guy UltraDork
6/8/18 7:51 p.m.

EDIT: This was supposed to be posted as Indy_wife.  I was still logged in on the computer when she got to it and posted her next travelog.

 

Part 7 - Stuck, Stuck, Stuck

So we’re driving, and Indy-Guy and I decide that he needs to get some sleep and we should just stop.  But just before we realize we need to decide this, the highway turns from an interstate highway with rest stops, motels, and hotels, into a 2 lane state highway in the middle of nowhere with nowhere to go.  We’re tired, I’m leading but I have WAY too much input from the near teenage child sitting next to me and the near constant static-like noise of a toddler-baby who just wants to be asleep. Desperately. We decide to keep going until the baby is asleep, otherwise no one can think at all.  So at 11pm, feeling like 2am, we decide to pull off onto side road in the back country somewhere in Ohio to evaluate things.

Hmm.  So we swap roles, he’s going to lead and find us something and we turn around to get back on the road.  Except in turning around, I back the van off into a ditch. It was dark, there WAS a side road there. I was following the shorter wagon and the mammoth van does need a 3 point turn where other cars don’t.  In the dark and tired night, I thought the ditch wasn’t a ditch. Or at least not a 2 foot drop. One back wheel didn’t touch and the other spun in gravel. E36 M3. AT LEAST THE LITTLE GIRLS ARE ALL ASLEEP AND THERE IS NO VOMIT INVOLVED.  I turn on my blinkers and sit for a few seconds doing nothing except realize I’ve got headlights in my eyes. As my better half realizes that I’m not following, the truck that was blinding me pulls up and observes my situation. A group of adults heading back from the liquor store has stopped to help.  A woman about my age and 2 older guys get out and comment, “Yep, you’re stuuck.”

Completely unrelated picture because there are none:  Daddy and daughter date night in after the trip getting to know Das Einhorn.


 

Before I can wrap my head around the situation or dh Indy-Guy can make an appearance, they decide to go get their tow chain and help pull me out. They pull away promising to be back shortly, but leave this guy Dwayne behind, and we chat about nothing important, except his thoughts pertaining to, “Kids these days don’t ever behave or play outside.”  Mine do.

Indy-Guy’s there too by then, pulled over on the side with blinkers on.  He gets down with a flashlight to make sure that the underbody isn’t actually touching, scraping, or resting on the road.  It’s not. Nothing’s leaking and nothing is broken, but the van is definitely stuck. Stuck, stuck, stuck. E36 M3.  The back wheels are 24-30 inches lower? Another truck stops and a young farmer steps out. (I’m from Indiana, this is Ohio, I can tell he’s a farmer.)  The first truck comes back with a tow chain covered in cow manure. While they work to get it hooked up, I chat with the woman, Stephanie. She was the one who talked them into stopping.  Thank you God! They use the chain covered in manure and one from the farmer to get our fat white mammoth van out, with my hero, Indy-Guy at the wheel.

(Another totally unrelated image.  She's upset because Daddy asked her to get out of the new car.)

The van’s back on the road!  Everybody loads backup and we’re headed northwest again in a matter of minutes.  Truly, I don’t know what would have happened if we hadn’t gotten that help.  We would have been fine, gotten help somehow. But it would have been much, much, much more painful. And drawn out. I am so happy the girls slept through it all.  Our older two kids loved the drama of it all. Please God, do bless those helpful souls who just showed up at the exact right moment to be help to my family and help me pay it forward.  With the adrenaline flowing, we hit the road and head out for home. Again.

Next Part 8 - It CAN Get Worse?  But HOME

 

Dirtydog
Dirtydog HalfDork
6/8/18 8:27 p.m.

This is definitely one for the books.   

Image result for the family circus

759NRNG
759NRNG SuperDork
6/30/18 6:32 p.m.

Part 8???? still with the show runners for some fine tuning Indy_Wife????

Indy_Wife
Indy_Wife New Reader
7/1/18 8:12 p.m.

Part 8 - It CAN Get Worse?  But HOME

We drive and drive and not too much longer get back to the interstate.  At this point, we just want to be home. A kid might upchuck or worse in the van at any moment.  But it’s not safe to keep going. We have to stop. My phone is saying we still have 4.2 hours to go, somewhere in Ohio.  E36 M3. So we find a big glaring truck stop that feels “safe”? Indy-Guy, so-so-so tired at this point, lays down in the back in the sleeping bag and I get everyone else tucked in too.  I put nighttime diapers on 3 girls (our 6 year old has rare night time accidents, better safe than sorry). As I fall asleep with truck engines in my ears and glaring lights in my eyes, I keep having images of being killed at the truck stop by an escaped murderer (true story from Florida).  I wake on and off checking on everyone through the night.

I’m waked later by a gently crying little girl (6).  She needs help with a diarrhea accident that has leaked from diaper and clothes, to the seat, and actually through the seat, to the floor.  E36 M3 literally. Sigh.

All is good though. The sky is light and a mist floats around the car. She didn’t ask to go on this trip and she just needs love to make it through.  I do too. Really, we are making memories left and right and smiling right through it. She and I laugh together over the crazy as we clean her up. More wipes. Lots and lots of cleaning.  We get it all cleaned up. The sunrise was beautiful. Donuts from the truck stop for everybody but the 6 year old who only eats a banana. We head out into the sunshine and back home again, to Indiana.

The rest of the story looks like a normal 4 hour drive home.  We got home in time for lunch, cleaned out the cooler and van, and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon.  No one seemed sick. Parents took a nap while the big kids watched the little girls and a movie.

Grandma and Grandpa showed up to drop off the other son.  Laughed at us for our trip. I felt a little silly having driven so far to buy another cheap project car when we have 4, *count them* 4, works in progress already here (see note at end).  

But it IS a German Unicorn. And my guy needed a new daily driver. The Saturn is just about clean worn out. He's been driving 1996 SL2 Saturns for 17 years. (2 different ones - He was driving one when we met.) I just wish cars were a cheaper hobby. I love all sorts of books and my Jane Austen historical sewing projects, but I tell you what, we’ve never driven cross country to pick up $1100 worth of historical fabric “to make something cool”.  I’ll just make him build more bookshelves instead.

I just don’t want a failing cooling system to ruin everything.  So if it needs to be “freshened up” … do it, Strong Man. Invest in it, I say, because I don’t want to have to go looking for another unicorn too soon, German or not.  Because to find another good, rust-free manual wagon, I’d probably have to go on another road trip south or even west for hours and hours more. Not for a while, NOT for a while.  And the kids WILL stay at Grandmas and we’ll stay in a hotel with a hot shower, maybe a hot tub. And bring wipes. Don’t forget the wipes.

So there you have it.   We have an adventure to remember. I am so NOT a spontaneous person, which I did NOT realize until I was married with kids.  It is hard to be spontaneous with 6 kids in a line like ducks behind me. But I am a die-hard optimist who loves her husband farther than any road trip we could ever take us.  We did it and I am happy to have done it. Wipes and duct tape make everything barely-functional.

 

((Note: Since I wrote this the Fiero on the right was sold.  The worn out Saturn is next.  The Buick Roadmaster's turn signal is broken (2 year old's fault), but I think since it fits ALL of us, he'll fix it and we'll keep it as a backup to the van.)) 

THE END

Dirtydog
Dirtydog HalfDork
7/2/18 6:16 p.m.

I truly don't believe this is the end.  Just, perhaps a long intermission.   Great stuff.  Makes me and the Mrs. (Momma loved the story , by the way)  harken back to when our kids were small.

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