Monday, January 24, 2011

My Suburban's spectacular manifestation of its death wish

My car has a death wish.

I know I should have gotten a clue when odd parts started breaking or when it started running out of gas at embarrassing times. But I thought the car gods were finished using me as their personal comic relief. New drive shaft, new brakes, new dual screen portable DVD player, and new XM radio would guilt the Suburban into playing nice during our cross country move.

When we finished our Tetris worthy loading of the moving van, only to be held up by the Suburban running out of has AGAIN in our own driveway, you would think I'd question my faith. In hind sight, I should have worried.

On the first day, a mere 2 hours into the 5 day trip, I rolled down the passenger side window so I could hand over ransom, I mean toll, money to Peter in the moving truck. (Why didn't we do this before we left? Because we are poor planers.)

It. Would. Not. Roll. Up. Again. We are in the middle of New England winter, driving down the freeway with the window down.

Did I mention the part where we took an 18-year-old kid, Alejandro, with us to drop him off at BYU-I? Did I mention that this last minute addition saved my sanity? So he and I used clear plastic and A LOT of tape to cover the gaping hole. We choose warmth over quiet as it was beyond loud for the entire ten hours left in our first driving day.

The next morning Peter wondered if we could last until our mid-trip rest day at Mt Rushmore before fixing the window. Um, NO. Luckily Alejandro's father works on cars and he phone conferenced his son and Peter through a disassembly of the car door- the only casualty being the locking mechanism. Unfortunately, the window still remained stubbornly down.

So they broke it out of the frame and duct taped it into place. We totally went gettho. But it was now warm and quiet, so I was happy.

I mean every trip needs a disaster. I was just lucky mine only cost me dignity, an unlockable door, and about half a day loss of driving.

 We busted our humps to get back on schedule and pulled into Rapid City, South Dakota, late Saturday night. We were finally back on track!

Sunday was our day off driving. We were supposed to head to church in the morning, visit Mt Rushmore in the afternoon, and enjoy the small indoor water park in the hotel in the evening. One block after pulling out of the church parking lot, someone mistook a green light for a green arrow and turned left into us. Smashed the entire side of the car and caused Peter and Ethan to hit their heads.

Our trip just took a turn for the stressful. It was not until THAT moment that I finally realized how strongly my car wished to die.

Luckily neither head hit caused an injury and there was no doubt that we were not at fault.

A bazillion phone calls and one day later, after a complete clean out of a car that had been stuffed to breaking and lived in for three days straight, we got a rental minivan (it was the only choice we had). Insurance seemed to think the Suburban wasn't totaled. I don't know what number they were looking at: a total of the mechanic bill, the minivan rental bill, and the bill to ship the car from South Dakota to Washington far surpassed the value of the 9-year-old Suburban.

We were fortunate that we already planned on spending all of Sunday in South Dakota and there was a water park in the hotel we were trapped in for the day. The next morning we took a quick look at Mt Rushmore and hurried on our way, arriving right on schedule two days later.

One month after moving here, the Suburban joined us. Since I'd rather not replace it until after I've saved enough to pay cash for something else, we decided to play nice; a full detailing job will be enough to appease a death wish, right?



  1. Oh. My. Gosh! I'm so glad you all got there in one piece!

  2. Oh dear... that car really does have a death wish! We were driving across country once, and the transmission nearly fell completely out of my parents van. We drove all the way across the southern part of Wyoming going 35 miles an hour. Any faster than that, and the car grumbled ominously. It was a fun trip.

    I'm glad you made it all in one piece too! And I hope the suburban plays nice from now on... If not, at least he'll leave this world clean, and crumb free, yes?

  3. Oh. My. Goodness. That is the best travel-cross-country story EVER. The only thing it was missing was vomit. Thank you for having it so that we could all be entertained, and I am so so so sorry. But you are there now and all is well, eh?
    PS I have never seen Mt. Rushmore. It looks very cool, and chilly.

  4. Holy crap. Seriously. When it rains, it pours! Good thing you had the duct tape and plastic!

  5. That was quite an adventure. Hope you are settling in, your new place looks beautiful!

  6. Ugh what a terrible experience. Glad you still stayed on schedule. That's impressive.

  7. Love your writing style. You remind me of another of my blog friends. I'm so glad you were able to get to your destinations in one piece... more or less. Carry on!

  8. You just can't do things the easy way, can you??! :)

  9. Glad it is over and you are back to normal. Enjoy a working car and a new house, job, and being close to family.

  10. Charlotte, I wish I had your knack for storytelling! I'm glad you are all okay!

  11. I think your car just wanted you to have something funny (well, the car thought it was funny) to blog about after you moved.


    Poor you. I'm glad it's all over now. (knock on wood)

  12. Well I certainly don't want your knack for storytelling because so much of it relies on skunks and car troubles!

    Looks like the light runner's didn't fare well against your tank. (Do you think the insurance called that one totaled?)

    What I really want to know...after driving a mini-van, are you grateful to have your Suburban back?

  13. I would have just called it quits and lived right there. LOL I am glad you all made it safely. And your Suburban "sort of" did.