Saturday, November 07, 2009

All the Things that Went Wrong - Part Six

Day Six - Sunday, August 30th

- Slept in. Felt refreshed. Happy we would soon be on our way home. "I'm guessing no one has told you yet," Matt reluctantly says from the other bed, "The oil light came back on last night." My world slowly begins to crumble. The stress and pressure of this whole trip has now become too much. I sit up on the bed trying to figure out what to do, but my brain is mush.

- I decide to call some of the wiser ones in our church for advice. When I use the hotel phone, it won't allow me to call long distance with Visa.

- I try calling collect. No one is answering. I can't get a hold of anyone.

- I must use my cellphone which costs a ridiculous amount of money. I get a hold of Ted and ask if I can call him back collect. He agrees.

- As I'm waiting for the automated system to kick in, emotionally I start to lose it. I begin to think when I hear his voice I am going to break down crying. The system prompts me to say my name after the beep. I started saying my name before the beep. It beeps. I burst out in laughter, knowing that I've screwed it up and it's going to sound funny for Ted. My mood is lightened.

- Ted suggests either taking it to a mechanic or leaving it behind and getting it shipped up north. That's going to cost a ridiculous amount of money.

- As we begin to look for a mechanic in Redding we discover nothing is open because it is Sunday. Would they even be able to help us today anyways? I need to get people home who have to work tomorrow.

- I think it was Matt at this point who suggested we transfer the SUV from my name to the other leaders. That way they can drive it back tonight, and Matt and I can stay with my car in Redding and take it in tomorrow. Brilliant plan!

- We call Alamo. There is no Alamo in Redding and we need to go in person to transfer the names. I ask where the nearest Alamo is. They don't know and they can't tell me. They couldn't tell me where any Alamo's were!?! All they said was they are at major airports, but the next closest airport we could think of was Portland and that's too far to drive. Scrap that plan!

- We try calling Greyhound to see if we can bus the workers home today. No one is answering the phone.

- We drive to Greyhound. It's going to cost quite a bit and it's going to take all night, which would leave the workers exhausted.

- We decide to check out a rental car place to see if we can rent a car for the workers to drive home, because the SUV I've rented can only be driven by me. After much searching we find open rental places at the Redding airport. It's going to cost quite a bit, and then I realize the SUV needs to be back tomorrow or else that will cost a lot as well.

- At the airport a lady there mentions there's an airport in Medford, Oregon (about 2 hours away). It dawns on me, "Maybe there's an Alamo there?" I ask where a payphone is. She says it's around the corner, but it's probably not working. Sure enough, it is broken.

- Thankfully the guy at the convenience shop thingy says I can use his phone. I call Alamo. They have a place in Medford! I now have to make the decision: Do we risk driving my car through the mountains for 2 hrs or come up with another option? I decide to risk it!

- After a highly anxious 2 hours of driving we pull into the Medford airport. My car has made the journey! But it sounds absolutely awful. I fear we have damaged something internally.

- We go in and begin the process of changing the names over. It's taking awhile, but the weight is lifting off my shoulders. I can't believe we've finally got this figured out! After about 30 mins of paperwork and discussion the agent looks at me and says, "Oh, we can't add additional drivers to minivans or SUV's if they are under 25." All of my leaders are under 25. We cannot transfer the vehicle over. We risked driving all this way for NOTHING!!! The weight suddenly comes slamming down on my shoulders.

- Now I have to come up with another option. I begin looking at the prospect of shipping my car. I look at plane tickets. I consider spending the night in Medford with everyone. Amanda gets in touch with her dad who is willing to drive down and pick us up. At this point it's past noon. I have to extend the reservation on the SUV but the Alamo guy can't do it. I have to call the Alamo in Vancouver. It takes forever, but I get through to them and extend it.

- Then I come up with the final plan. I'll leave my car in the parking lot. I will rent a car. Shane will drive it and I will drive the SUV. Tomorrow I will return the SUV and drive the rented car back to Medford by myself. I'll bring my car in to a mechanic here in Medford and figure it all out there. It's going to be a long drive back to BC though. I call back the Alamo in Vancouver and they take away my extension thankfully.

- As I'm renting the car, I'm telling the lady my story. She has sympathy on me and reduces the rate. Then she says, "You're really holding up well under all this." At those words I crack emotionally. I can feel the tears coming on, but I don't want to break down in front of her. We finish the transaction and as I'm walking away I start bawling.

- Now we're finally on the road. I am so relieved to have finally come up with something that sorta works. We realize we can't drive the rental car into Canada so we have to leave it near Blaine and have someone pick us up. Garritt graciously agrees to help us. Because we've left so late we won't get there until 2am.

- Around 11pm I start getting tired. Really tired. I consider pulling over for the night, but then Matt starts talking to me and I snap out of it.

- Garritt says he'll meet us as Blaine Airport. I say okay. I've never been there, but we have Lola (the GPS) to guide us. As we're nearing Blaine Airport, Garritt calls and says he's waiting for the Bellingham Airport! Which we passed 10 mins ago!!!! Thankfully we find a Park & Ride. I call Garritt and tell him to meet us there. He drives by it a couple times, but finally finds us.

The End.
Check in on Monday for follow-up things that went wrong!
And stay tuned for "All the Things that Went Right"...

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

It's Been Too Long

Hello my friends...

You're probably wondering where I've been. Or maybe you haven't.

Turns out I've been using fairy magic to heal and rejuvenate young animals.

Well I want you to know that I have decided to return to the blogosphere with renewed passion and vigor.

So be looking for the thrilling conclusion to All the Things That Went Wrong by the end of this week!

Love, Dan