Whew, where have we been??
Well, I have been to Washington and back, the 20 hour roadtrip back on Jack's birthday completely overshadowed by the over 36 hour trip there starting at 7am Christmas day.
Oh yes, this is one of those trips that make you laugh, cry, or both at the same time.
My family celebrates on Christmas Eve, so it made sense to leave for Spokane early the next morning. What we didn't factor in was that pretty much everything from McDonalds to Sears is shut down on Christmas Day. Brilliant. Of course, without the ability to make frequent stops, the drive goes by fairly quickly, right? We were making good time.... until the car started bumping ominously.
Kevin pulled off at Hood River, about an hour out of Portland right on the border of Oregon and Washington, and we spilled out of the car in front of a racy wine shop and stared mournfully at the remains of our front tire through steam clouds of breath. Our flashlight was mysteriously missing, but fortunately all our cell phones had power because we were able to use a car charger. By their light, I directed what little traffic wandered by while Kevin and my brother put the spare on (after we had unloaded all our luggage and wrapped gifts out onto the sidewalk). Then began the frantic calls to every possible local tire place, punctuated of course by posts on facebook.
Remember the part about it being fortunate that our cell phones were all charged? That ended up not being as fortunate as it originally seemed. When we finally hopped back into the car and Kevin turned the key, nothing happened. Yep. The battery was dead.
So now we were truly stranded.
Let me say now that I am hugely grateful to people who are willing to work holidays. A very friendly driver arrived with tow truck to give our car a jump, and we limped on down to one of the closest motels, which smelled of cigarettes but was affordable and had a gorgeous view of the river and brightly lit homes of people having real Christmases.
The next morning, Kevin and Matthew went on a wild goose chase around Hood River trying to find a place to fix our tire. Then Kevin spent a frustrating half hour on the phone with Sears, who informed us that the ONLY way for them to honor the warranty on our ridiculously worn out before their time tires was if we brought the actual tires into Sears. That's right, we would have to load two tires into the Mazda3 along with the four passengers and their luggage. Pictures and a detailed report from Firestone would not be enough evidence.
Since that was physically impossible, we began the wearisome and semi dangerous trek back to Portland.
There we were informed that we had not taken advantage of Sears' free alignment services often enough to qualify for the warranty, therefore it was voided.
But finally we could get back on the road. We pulled into snowy Christmas card Spokane at long last and enjoyed a visit that made even that roadtrip worthwhile.
So, thumbs up roadtrips, thumbs down Sears tires.
And...... the drive helped me complete my 2010 reading goals. Which means book reviews coming soon!
But in the meantime, happy new year, everyone! If you've resolved to blog more often, I should probably get on board with you!