Monday, January 25, 2010

Adventures in Transportation

This adventure started last June, when we decided we needed to pay off some debts and get a more family-friendly vehicle that could also tow a trailer. (At that point, it was the flatbed trailer, but we had plans to change that to a travel trailer or sell it and buy one.) So we listed the truck for sale. And waited. And waited. And lowered the price. And waited. Repeat, repeat, repeat. In the meantime, the flatbed trailer was sold, and in its place we bought a nearly gutted 31' Airstream travel trailer to be remade into a toyhauler (discreetly, so as not to ruin the Airstream look). So towing would be a big part of our next vehicle purchase decision.

Fast forward to January 2010. The price on the truck was down about as low as we could go and the sale of it be of any help to us. (The price was lowered by an amount greater than what it sold for.) And, it SOLD! Yay! A couple of debts were paid, and the vehicle hunt was on! Bob found a site that listed the towing ability of all 2000 vehicles you would expect to tow anything. We learned only about 3 SUVs would suit our needs, the GMC/Chevy Suburban, the Lincoln Navigator, and the Ford Excursion. Reliability pushed us toward the Excursion. Which tended to cost more. We watched Craigslist every night for a screamin' deal. We found what sounded like just what we wanted on Thursday night. In Leavenworth, WA, 5 hours or so away. On Friday, we secured the sale so our drive up wasn't for naught. At 8:15 Saturday morning, we hit the road.

The trusty Acura with 318k miles got us breakfast in Vancouver, went up to Bellevue, stopped in Monroe for lunch, pulled over not long later when the toddler didn't chew enough and puked chicken nugget on himself, carried on up through the beautiful mountains and over Steven's Pass, and arrived in Leavenworth around 2:15.

We looked the Excursion over, Bob test drove it, and we decided yes, we'd take it. Unfortunately, looking around Leavenworth more was not a good idea that day, because by the time we got the car seat in the truck and were ready to leave, it was about 3:30. Not wanting to drive my rather low Acura in the dark more than I had to, it was time to go. Leavenworth is still on our list of places to visit, though, because it looked really cool with its Bavarian village theme.

We hit the road, dad and boy in front car, me in back. The road from Cashmere to Wenatchee was so pretty, we had to drive it twice. Actually, we shouldn't have driven it at all, but we missed the turn to go to Ellensburg. I saw the turn, gestured wildly, and was considering getting over, but then I thought that maybe Bob knew a different way and submissively grumbled along confused behind him. No, he missed the sign. I should have gotten over or done our signal for needing the bathroom or something, but I thought he had it under control. If that stupid no cell phone law wasn't there, I just would have called him, but I have no Bluetooth, so I didn't. We pulled over after an awful drive through Wenatchee, and were going to keep going the longer way to Yakima, until we saw that the way back through town was better and led us right back to where we needed to go. No harm, no foul, I had the map and saw the turn, so it could be my fault, Bob was in lead and should have led us the right way, so it could be his fault. So, we lost an hour and a bit of gasoline and daylight. Being 2 years into marriage, we have learned a lot, I think, and this issue was stressful, but no grudges were held or loud arguments heard. And now it is funny. Almost.

We made our turn the second time, as daylight faded. We drove the country highway to Ellensburg. I was appreciative that more cars were going the same way as us than the other way, so the headlight issue wasn't too bad. We stopped in Ellensburg for bathroom and boy feeding time, and hit the freeway to Yakima. That Acura loves 70 m.p.h. Washington speed limits are its friend. I think it was getting in the low 30s for m.p.g.! Anyway, we made it past Yakima, and up to the in-laws' house in Zillah. They were at their beach house this weekend, but they let us stay there. :) Arrival time: 7pm. Almost 11 hours after leaving home. The boy was so happy to be free!!!!!

Our hero, Brad (Bob's brother), came up with a pizza, pepsi, and cheesy bread. Huzzah! We were tired and hungry and that hit the spot. We showed him the Excursion and were talking, when it came out that we were planning on my driving the car home on Sunday, and then we planned to sell it. Brad decided he was interested in a cheap backup car, since he had seen the car show up in Zillah after driving from Portland many times. So, before heading to worship in Sunnyside on Sunday afternoon (James and Melissa say Hi!), we traded my car for that pizza dinner, Brad's used RC gas powered car, his old metal detector.......... and $600. :) I hope Brad finds that to be a good deal for him, as it was a great thing for us! Why? well...

We got to test out the 4wd on the Excursion on the way home. It was snowing in Satus Pass and several cars were either off the road to chain up or they should have chained up because they were off the road in the ditch. I would have been a nervous wreck if I were following Bob in the Acura in that! I have never driven in substantial snow, and this was wet, slick, Oregon-style snow. But I was instead with Bob in the 4wd going safely up the pass and was relaxed. God truly provides!

We went down the pass, crossed the Columbia, and headed down the gorge on the Oregon side. It was raining heavily basically the whole time. Except when we stopped for dinner in the Dalles at 9 for dinner, it was snowing there too. But nothing like the pass was, where it was sticking on the road. We hit the road again, and finally rolled in at home sometime around 11pm. I fed the boy while Bob unloaded, and almost fell asleep cuddling with him on his bed. Once I saw he was still too wound up to sleep, I followed him out to Bob and asked if I could go to bed before they did. I was so. so. tired. He was cool with that and watched the boy as he enjoyed some freedom before bed, and I went and caught some Zzzzs.

Now all that's left is some DMVing/title stuff and to share a picture of the newest vehicle in this adventure with you. :) Eventually I will have more of the new truck, this is the one from the Craigslist ad.