Spring break adventure #1

There were several events that required us to attend in the valley this spring break, so with enthusiasm, the kids and I took off with hopes of an awesome spring vacation.  We had a lot of fun visiting friends and family.  We went to birthday parties, book signings at the library, the children’s museum, all sorts of other fun things.

What we didn’t expect were the un-planned adventures that at the time seemed to be just plain unfortunate.  Now that everything is done, I just have to look back and laugh.  There were four of those kind of adventures, all of which happened on different days. 

So, this is unfortunate adventure #1: 

We were on the quest for my sister-in-law’s new house which we have never been to.  Her oldest was turning 14 the next day, and they were holding a birthday party the day before, in her honor.  Our destination was way out in the country among the grape vines and with a beautiful view of the mountain.  With only a faint idea of where to go, Garmin, the GPS was a big help.  We were late, and Garmin confirmed my hunch.   We were either going to be very, VERY late by back-tracking big time, traveling through Salem to the bridge to cross the river, or we were to go the shorter way and cross the river by ferry.  Thrilled with the idea that we were going to get to ride the ferry, we gleefully trekked on… until I realized that I needed money to get across.  Thankfully, I knew the area well, and remembered that there was a convenience store nearby.  We all piled out of the car and I tried the cash machine while attempting to manage a three-year old who had been strapped down in his car seat for a good 4 hours.  Who doesn’t look at the food isles as an obstical course?  So anyway, this country mouse couldn’t figure out how to use the cash machine!  Finally, the very kind cashier figured out that I had to be forceful with the machine in order to get it to work, since my dear husband bent my card (I have no idea how he managed to do that).   So, on we went, cash in wallet… on to the ferry! 

There were only a couple of minor events on our way to the ferry.  A driver behind me was impatient that I was driving only five miles an hour over the speed limit, and a Sheriff vehicle traveling the opposite direction with lights on and boat in tow.   Finally, we got to the ferry and despite the what it seemed, a long line of cars, we got on the ferry without waiting for it to make a round trip. 

After I drove into our spot on the ferry, I noticed there was a sign indicating that proper ferry etiquette was to shut of the engine.  Eager to do what was right, I turned off my engine.  Riding the ferry in your vehicle is an odd and exhilarating feeling.  Your vehicle moving with the engine off, and without driver’s control.  I then rolled my window down, and waited for the attendant to take my money.  The kids and I marveled at how much fun it was to cross the river that way; way more fun that battling the traffic in the city and crossing the boring bridge. 

The ride was over too soon, and it was our turn to drive off the ferry onto the other side of the river.  In order to drive off the ferry the engine had to be turned on.  Very simple, right?  Not for us! I couldn’t turn the engine on to save my life!  I frantically started to check… Yes I was still in park… yes my foot was on the break… what the heck!  What was going on!  I muttered, “oh, this isn’t good” as I looked to my left.  Of course, there sitting right next to me, was a couple of very good-looking, well-to-do older men in a spiffy, expensive little convertible looking at me.  Me, a stressed out mom in a mini-van, looking goofy, talking to herself while frantically trying to get the dumb thing to start up.  The passenger in the spiffy car said encouragingly, “you’ll get it” as his buddy, the driver, sped off in front of me.  Finally, after some very quick and urgent prayers, the engine started up.  I felt as if I put in a huge amount of energy willing that engine to start.  I revved it a couple of times, I am not sure why, but it helped ensure me that the thing was going to stay on.  I zoomed as fast as I could off of that ferry, embarrassed as heck.

That is not the end of the story though.  We had a great afternoon of partying, but we had to rush off again… another birthday party to attend.  The oldest kid had a sleep-over party, and we were late.  So, again, the story was to be just a little late and cross the ferry, or a lot late and travel through the city and back and be really, really late.  I chose the ferry, besides, it is fun to go across.  We loaded without waiting again, being one of the last in line.  That was pretty good luck, finally on my side.  I turned the engine off, and waited for the attendant to take my money like last time.  After more marveling over the ride across the water, and discovering that two of the vehicles ahead of us were family, it was time to get off.  As I watched the family leave, I tried to turn our vehicle on again.  Lightning doesn’t strike twice right?  WRONG! I couldn’t get the vehicle started again!  And my family, my help system, were gone! 

Again, with a lot of willing the van to start, I got it going and again, I sheepishly and quickly exited the dang ferry.  Later that evening, as I mentally looked back at my day, I realized that this wasn’t the only time that I stalled on a ferry like that.  About a year ago, I was on a different ferry, but on the same river, and the van that I was driving stalled.  The wierd things is, is that it was a completely different van.  It got me wondering.  Why the heck do the vehicles that I drive stall on the ferry?  Is it something electrical? Is it what I am doing?  I am pretty sure that I didn’t flood  the engine with my foot on the gas pedal.  Or is it just karma?  I can tell you right now, that I am not going to test the karma theory, or any of the other theories for that matter, for a while. 

There are three more unfortunate adventures during our spring break trip, but I will tell you about them in a later post.

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