Las Vegas Trip 2014 – Part 1

I still haven’t blogged about Disneyland and that was in April, but I’m going to start with our most recent trip to Las Vegas because it is fresh in my mind and won’t take as much time as Disney.

When I was sixteen, I met a great family, the C family.  They quickly became my second family.  They were a family of five – Dad – J, Mom – M, Daughter (my closest friend) – JT, Son – N and Daughter – C.  The oldest daughter and son are close in age and I’m in between them.  The youngest daughter is 6-8 years younger than the others.

Growing up, they had a close family friend with all boys (three), the middle son, was best friends with N but ended up marrying JT and they now have four boys.

When we got married, I really only wanted one person to officiate the wedding – J.  Thankfully, he agreed.  Over the last 10 years of our marriage, Zach has grown close to J, M and C.  They are some of our favorite people and seriously, we think of them as family, not friends.

N and I used to be close, we used to lead youth group together, but over the years we’ve gone down different paths and although we see each other at “family” functions, that’s about the extent of our relationship.  When I learned N was engaged to a wonderful woman, I was super excited for him and couldn’t wait to hear about his big day, although I didn’t expect to be invited…and then…we got an invite.

They choose to get married in Las Vegas and we decided that this year, we could make it happen and it would give us the opportunity to travel with our second family.

We decided to make a round trip….Colorado to Utah to Nevada to Arizona to New Mexico back to Colorado.  It’s a lot of driving and a lot of states in just seven days, but we wanted to get to AZ to see my grandmother and visit with some of our good friends who moved years ago.

Originally, we’d thought we’d leave on Thursday morning and drive through the day and geocaching and stop a lot.  As the time got closer, Lynzie showed that she is not that fond of traveling and sometimes is quite a pain to get back into the car.  We amended our plan to leave at around 8 PM on Wednesday and drive straight through to Zion National Park, about a 10 straight hour drive and we knew that wasn’t going to happen.

My car had been having challenges starting after sitting over night and Zach didn’t feel comfortable driving across the country with that problem.  We took the car to our friendly neighbor the Saturday before and were informed that we needed to replace the fuel pump because it wasn’t keeping pressure in the line.  They were going to have it done by the end of the day.

And then the nut wouldn’t come off.  They would have to break it, but didn’t have a replacement.  They would have to order it.  It would get to them on Tuesday at the earliest.

We’ve been parking the car outside because most of the crawlspace is still in the garage.  I spent a good chunk of time on Sunday re-organizing it so that the car would fit, but it’s still a bit tight.  On Monday, Zach texted me and said if I could get the car in the garage I should because I bad storm was coming.

I rushed downstairs and made some modifications to the arrangements, pulled the car in a squeezed out the side, closed the garage as the first rain drop fell.  Rushed to shut all the windows and then it really it.  It woke Lynzie up and as I was standing next to her bed, I watched golf ball hail fly diagonally into the window.  It was a crazy powerful storm, but we didn’t get the worst of it.  Even still, our kitchen window was broken in the storm.  We’ve had a lot of crazy storms this summer and it makes me so thankful we have a newer roof.

On Tuesday, the part came in as Zach was coming home.  He dropped it by the shop and I was going to pick him up with the second car, but Zach forgot and took the only keys we have with him.  Whoops!  When he went back to get the car to come get me so we could all go back, they just offered to drive him home.  It was perfect.  The car was done in a few hours and we picked it back up….grabbed dinner and then went home.  Because the fuel tank had been open, it was a little smelly in my car, so we decided to pull it into the garage to roll the windows down over night.  The car didn’t want to start.  It was even worst than it had been and it wasn’t even sitting!

We decided that the next morning (Wednesday – the day we are leaving) Zach would try to start it before he went to work.  He had an all day training at a different location that was close to Zach’s dad’s place, so was planning on taking Lexi with him and dropping her off for the week.  This meant he was leaving a little bit before he needed to.

The car didn’t want to start and this time Zach got to experience it.  The shop opened at 7 and it was 6:40, but we quickly made the decision to get the kids in the car, take the car to the shop (we were going to leave the keys in the night drop) and then we’d all drive Zach to his training and worry about Lexi later.

I was super busy at work…I had both kids and no support…Isaac had to go to school…Isaac had to be picked up from school.  I was a ball of stress.

Just after I dropped Isaac off, I got a call from our neighbor.  They’d fixed the car, a washer was split and causing improper pressure, because he knew we had a lot going on and didn’t want to make us pack up the kids and such, he was bring the car to me and would catch a ride back to work with his wife, who was home for lunch.

Being so busy at work, I got off late and Lynzie wanted to cuddle (we wasn’t in a great mood all day because of the early wake up), so we didn’t even start packing until about 7PM….yep, we didn’t leave on time.

Around 9PM, just after Ron and Cody picked Lexi up, we grabbed dinner and a few miscellaneous things at the store and started driving.  It was raining and we knew the mountains would turn to snow.  I don’t like driving in rain and I don’t love driving in the mountains, but Zach kind of enjoys both.  He was our first driver and took us to the Utah/Colorado border at about 3AM.

I drove a bit, about 2 hours, before I got so tired I decided to pull into a rest stop and rest.  Lynzie was restless and hadn’t really let the “sleeper” sleep for either Zach or I.  We pulled the kids out of the carseats, cuddled in some blankets, locked the doors (switch kept locking and unlocking, so we unlocked them) and slept for an hour.

As the sun rose, I began to drive again.  I really kinda wish I’d seen from the border on in the sunlight because it looked so beautiful.  I’ve never seen that part of Utah before and as the sun raised it was amazing and beautiful and such and enjoyable ride.  We got to Zion around 9 or 10 I think and drove from the East end to the West and decided to park and hike around a bit.  Just outside of Zion (about a 1/4 of a mile) we found a spot on the road and unloaded and headed out. I packed up the sandwich the kids didn’t eat for breakfast and some water, but we really were just going to ride the bus, walk a bit and see if Isaac could get his Jr. Ranger Badge.

The bus ride was pleasant and the kids sat next to each other and cuddled was so sweet.  In order for Isaac to get his Badge, he had to attend a ranger talk and the only ranger talk left for the day meant we wouldn’t be able to hike.  Isaac made the decision that he would rather hike, so we got off the bus and headed to the river bed.  We walked and walked, and the kids were slow and eventually, I spilt from this to see the “end” of the trail….it wasn’t worth it, no different that the other part and I would have been happier to enjoy the family enjoying the river.

The kids got hungry and were starting to be a pain, so we pulled out the sandwich and it turned out it was only the last two bites of mine that I had meant for the trash – Mommy fail!  We got back on the bus and were in a hurry to get back to the car to find a place to eat.  We had a few snacks, but no real food.  Both kids fell asleep on the bus, Lynzie on my back in the wrap.  As we pulled close to our car, I thought I saw are parking lights flash.  I didn’t think anything of it, until we tried to unlock the doors and they wouldn’t (this only happens when the battery is drained).  We used the key to unlock the door and the the car wouldn’t start and then it locked the doors again.  It continued the game of locking and unlocking the doors for the next two hours.

Several months ago, Zach decided he wanted AAA because we go on so many trips and it would be nice to have the security.  This happened, no big deal, we’ll call AAA and get someone to jump us.  Easy pease….until you are on hold with AAA for 40 minutes and have two hungry kids and no food….the restraunt across the street that you decide to go to is closed until 5.  Every person you ask to jump your car says they have a rental and don’t feel comfortable.  When you finally get AAA on the phone, your husband has gone business to business to see if someone will jump us and since you aren’t the policy holder, you need him and in packing up the kids, they start crying and the person on the phone can’t hear anything you say and then when you find your husband he tells AAA that he has someone that is willing to jump us and hangs up.

And then someone comes, we connect the batteries (we had jumper cables in our car by accident) and the alarm goes off, the doors are all locked and the only open door is the back passenger door.  I jump across the car seat and the car, grab the keys that are on the seat and turn the car on…it starts for a brief moment and then nothing….it won’t even attempt to turn over.  We thank the helpful young man and go back to calling AAA.  Zach’s phone battery is at 60%….mine is at 6%.  The data connection is horrible and I’m unable to research anything AND I have to pee.

We spend the 30 minutes on hold with AAA reading the manual to the car and learning that when you have one remote in the car when you lock it it can cause a malfunction (we had a spare with us that we left in the car) and if you try to jump the car while the doors are locked (which they were due to the malfunction) the engine will immobolize because it thinks it’s being stolen.  All we needed to know was how to tell the car we were the owners.

AAA offered to tow us, but we didn’t know if a local place would know/be able to fix the problem or if we’d need a dealership or even law enforcement involved.  This has never happened in the six years we’ve owned the car.  As Zach talked to AAA I decided to call the police.  I called 911 and told them it wasn’t an emergency and they gave me the non-emergency number.  I spoke with the person who answered explained the situation.  He was no help.  He told me to call a tow company.  I said I didn’t have a number as I wasn’t from the area.  He said he couldn’t give me anything because that would be showing favoritism.  It wasn’t until I broke down in tears that he even asked if we were safe.  Ugh!  I don’t think police are in it to help the community.  I have never once met a police officer that was willing to HELP anyone.  I think they get into that profession for the power.

About the time I hung up, Zach hung up.  He had two numbers…the closest dealership and a local shop.  It was about 5:20….He called the dealership and with my remaining power I decided to call the local guy.  Zach got the run around and they said they would have to hook the car up to the machine in the morning to see what was wrong.  I got an answering machine and as I started to leave a message a lady picked up.  I explaining the situation as quickly as I could and she said, “Oh, I’m sure Bill can fix it, here he is.”  WHAT?

I explained to Bill what happened and he proceeded to tell me how I COULD FIX IT without his help!  Then I mentioned the battery not being charged and having no one to jump it.  He stopped telling me what to do and said he’d be there in 16 minutes.    Oh the relief!

I sat in the grass next to the car with Isaac and we colored his homework and I tried to de-stress.  Our hood was open for this entire time and people we walking by and driving by and staring, but did one person ask if we were okay or if they could offer any assistance?  Nope.  None.  In fact, when I needed to pee and walked to the local shop, I was told I needed to walk to the Zion visitor center 1/4 a mile away….I let Isaac pee in the tree.

Bill arrived.  A bit later than he told me, but it was by 6…maybe he’d said I’ll be there at 6.  I was a little emotion and could have misunderstood.  He had the great big yellow van and pulled out a battery tester/charger.  Within 5 minutes the car was on.  We let it charge for a bit, paid Bill far less than deserved, got some good advice for Colorado drivers in Utah and directions to the nearest fast food.

No tow.  No overnight stay.  Just about 2.5 hours of inconvenience.  We missed the Packers Game.  We didn’t get to enjoy the evening with everyone.  BUT…we were safe and on our way.

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