We took off on Tuesday, June 26th with a new transmission, a loaded car, and high hopes! We were shooting for about an 18 hour drive to Grand Junction, CO, as our first leg of the trip. Our first clue that plans might change came in Amarillo when that shiny new transmission overheated.
Our next clue came when the highway signs started to come in the shape of OK, which we never intended to pass through! Why is it that the men in our lives literally cracked up when we asked for help since our GPS wasn't getting signal?
Soon the clues started coming fast and furiously (and on 2 lane roads thanks to our foray into OK). By nightfall, that shiny new transmission was overheating too frequently for comfort, and we turned back toward TX (we were only about 3 hours from our destination! :( ).
Heading back after 18 hours--and with 5 (OK, make that 7) incredibly disappointed faces staring out the windows--we overheated two more times between Trinidad, CO, and Raton, NM. At the first stop it appeared that a trucker was going to stop to help us. While we might have welcomed that during any of our many daylight stops for car trouble, this made Mom and I pretty darn nervous. By the time one of the kids asked why we were nervous when the truck might be stopping to help, the stress must have gotten to Momba because she replied, "Because it might be an ax murderer in that truck, OK?" All eyes a little wider we watched as the truck continued down the road feeling more than a little relieved. This stop took quite a bit longer to cool the car down, and anxiety mounted as Momba, Michael, and I took turns holding up the hood (which wouldn't support its own weight for some reason) because we heard a pack of wild dogs. It didn't really peak, though, until we heard the gunshot, which caused us all to pile in and try once again to continue on.
We overheated one more time before deciding we needed to sleep in the next town rather than trying to continue our homeward trek--this time literally right next to a bear crossing sign. I asked the boys to keep an eye out for bears (thinking that 5 children watching their mother mauled by a bear would NOT be the perfect end to our day), but they were already worked up about the ax murderer comment and wouldn't believe bears to be possible. Luckily, none showed up, and by using the last bit of extra water Momba had bought us, we were able to cool down just enough to make it to Raton (overheated again in the parking lot!).