Oh, what a day we’ve had! And it’s not over yet!

Remember that griping and complaining I pulled last night about how difficult it was to gather clothes for six kids?


Someday it will be a really funny memory, but right now–stuck in Angola, IN–it’s pretty much the most unfunny thing that has happened. And considering all the unfunny things that have happened over the past month, that’s really saying a lot.

Why are we stuck in Angola, you ask? Because we thought the van was fixed in Auburn, IN, which is a mere 22.9 miles south of Angola. And before Auburn, we were hopeful it was repaired just north of Van Wert, IN. And before all the Indiana stops, we paid good money to have our overheating van made right in Lexington, KY. How wrong we were! Then again, considering how many unbiased eyes have looked over the engine of my van today, I can’t really hold the guys at Exhaust Pro in contempt. But more than twelve hours into our expected 7 hour 40 minute trip and still 131 miles from our final destination, I’m kind of getting close.

We just recently had the van overheat on us, and, upon taking it to our trusted mechanic, were told that the thermostat needed to be replaced. So we did, and when they told us we were good to go, we believed them and finalized our plans to leave town. (Insert post about getting clothes together here). At the last minute, Todd decided that it was better for him to stay home and try to dig out of the work that seemed to be taking over his life and office. It sounded like such a good idea at the time…

Our trip began quite well. I had hoped to be out the door and on the road before 8am, and we met our goal. It was a fairly uneventful trip for the first 200 miles or so, until the tell-tale temperature gauge began creeping up higher and higher. “It’s nothing,” I told myself, and in fact at first it seemed as though it was really nothing. If the temp crept up, it always righted itself and returned to normal.

Until we entered the town of Van Wert, IN, and the gauge started staying high. Instead of pulling over at one of the gas stations in the small town–what would I say?!–we plowed right on past it, and entered no man’s land of rural Indiana.

And then it pegged, that temperature gauge, and went all the way to red. Red is bad.

Trying not to freak out on the outside, but definitely getting quite freaked out on the inside, we managed to pull over at first, and then drove on to the well-placed Rest Area a football field or two down the road.

A phone call to Todd and a discussion about what to do ensued…UGH. Although the rest area was not well-populated, several people did pass us by without asking if “the woman with so many kids they barely fit in the van” whose oldest son’s head was down under the hood if anything was wrong.

Then a trucker walked by on his way to the facilities and complimented us on the oversized “Don’t Tread on Me” sticker that covers the back window. “I was a Marine for ten years! That flag flies at my house under Old Glory!”

The thought briefly crossed my mind to run after him, begging for help, but for some reason, I did not. Wasn’t I desperate enough? I did know.

Patrick and I were on the phone with Todd, looking under the hood and preparing to add coolant, when the Marine came back and just happened to have a friend with him, the guy he drives with, who just happens to work on Chevy cars as his second job.

Have you ever seen the show Touched By an Angel? I was starting to believe that these two guys were our angels! They humbly took over after listening to my description and tried a few different remedies, one of which included trying to rid the line of any potential air pockets that had managed to get in there.

After about an hour from the time we’d first pulled over, the van was running at normal temp once more. I honestly could not thank the guys enough, but they were happy to help. I heard some stories of action that the Marine had seen in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Bosnia. One included an intense story of how he’d gotten a scar on his forearm. He told Patrick and I how he’d been in a building and could tell an insurgent was close (because, he said, you could smell them), when all at once the enemy jumped out and lunged at the Marine with a bayonet, tearing into his arm. He dropped his main weapon in the injured hand and pulled out his glock and took care of him. WOW. I profusely thanked him for his service to our country. They wouldn’t hardly accept our thanks, but walked back to their truck and were gone. I really regret not asking to take our picture with them.

After that, we pulled back out onto the road and prayerfully hoped we could make it to our destination.

For installment #2, tune in tomorrow…. There are more exciting adventures to come, but I’m too tired to write anymore.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Chuck Farley
    Oct 11, 2014 @ 09:37:06

    I know that it had to be the day from Hades and that you have been shaken to your core … “wouldn’t hardly” Oh my! 😉


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