After years of dreaming and months of saving money from donating plasma, we finally were able to take the entire family out on an adventure! I can’t even tell you how exciting this is for me (and the rest of the Carlsen Clan). We knew we weren’t going to be able to finish up the bus AND still afford to go on a family road trip, so we chose to let the bus sit a while longer and head out on the road. We had asked the kids back in September of last year if they wanted to forgo Christmas gifts and have a family vacation instead. It was a resounding YES! So, we began saving and planning….the rest is in the making!
We started off our tour with some awesome music and snacks, as we traveled a few hours up to our first stop, in Twin Falls, ID. We arrived in Twin Falls a little later than expected, hurriedly ate lunch at McDonald’s (first time some of us have been there in almost 2 years), then we had Alex stay with the little ones, while we took the boys to the temple.
Aaron and the boys did baptisms and I did initiatories for the dead. We all finished around the same time, so it worked out rather well.
And thou shalt bring Aaron and his sons unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and wash them with water…. (Exodus 40:12)
One of our most favorite places to be together is at the temple, so we are planning on visiting 6 temples along our trip. Visiting the temple was the perfect way to begin our roadtrip! 🙂
Many have raved over the Shoshone Falls, so we thought we would take a few minutes and check them out. A few minutes and $3 are all it took and all it was worth, in my book. But at least we could say we have been there. LOL
We had plans to visit The Hagerman Fossil Beds in Hagerman, ID. They have a Junior Ranger program there and the kids are excited to get as many of the Junior Ranger badges as they can this year. We began our drive and were less than thrilled at all of the construction traffic stops along the way. We were running behind schedule by quite some time, so I called ahead to the visitor’s center and let them know we were on our way and to expect us. Somehow, we had gotten directions to the actual park instead of the visitor’s center. We were very late and still not at our destination. We began driving out of the park and down to the center.
As I drove down the hill and back into town, I saw the tire sensor start going crazy…..then we felt the van shift. It was apparent that one of the tires was going flat. It was a good thing we were going pretty slow. Aaron told me to try to get to the bottom of the hill and to the side of the road. I started crying hysterically. After working so hard for this trip, we were having a disaster in the very first 24 hours.
We pulled to the bottom of the hill, as the front passenger tire completely collapsed. I managed to calm myself down and Aaron and the boys worked quickly to get the van emptied. I called Kerry at Hagerman Fossil Beds Visitor Center to let him know we wouldn’t be coming after all and to see if there was any place he could recommend to help us fix our tire. He gave the number for the only gas station in town and the lady there gave me the number for a mechanic. The time was 4:55. I called and the mechanic said that we could bring the van by to his shop and he would see what he could do.
Aaron left around 5:10. Passersby would see me, the six kids, and almost all of our luggage on the side of the main road. For two and half hours we waited, as the mechanic took his sweet time (seriously, I am not exaggerating. He berated Aaron for leaving his family to fix a tire and then sat and discussed some upcoming plastic surgery with a woman…..yeah, boob jobs seemed to be far more important to this mechanic). We had several people stop to offer help. One fellow kept coming back and asking us if we wanted to use his rental. Of course, he wanted us to pay him $99 for using it. LOL
After the mechanic got our flat tire off of the van, he noticed the other front tire was looking pretty flat. He took that one off and they both had the same issue. The tires had holes from where the vehicle had been misaligned for months and finally worth through. Even though we paid someone to check our van for our vacation….twice….before we left. And even though our tires were only 15k miles in on an 85k warranty, somehow we ended up with holes in both of our tires. Yeah. And the fellow who took off our tires and scrounged some extremely bald tires to go on our van, until we could get to Discount Tire the next morning….managed to break the cover on our tire sensor.
I do have to say, though….these kids sure do know how to make the best of any situation. Love my kids.
After almost 3 hours of waiting, Aaron returned, just as the rain began to fall. We quickly loaded up the van with all of our belongings and went back into town to retrieve our cracked tires. Aaron and Ethan tied the tires onto the roof and we were off to Boise. It was raining hard and it was extremely windy. But we made it there without any other crazy incidents. The hotel was nice. My only complaint was that the burners in the small kitchen were glass-top. After 45 minutes of waiting for the water in the stock pot to begin boiling, we finally just gave up and put the pasta in the pot, anyways…..which made for a rather strange dinner. Everyone bathed and filled their tummies. Aaron managed to crack the screen of his phone…which was rather sad, but we laughed about it because we were so exhausted at the time. Once we were done laughing, we all fell fast asleep.
The next morning, we enjoyed our continental breakfast and packed up the van. We drove to Discount Tire, to see if they could explain why our tires both popped on us. They swore that it was an alignment issue and refused to cover new tires. Although, they did give us a $150 credit because our two tires were still so new and had hardly any wear on them at all. I called the auto mechanic who did our vacation tune-up for us. They were insistent that it wasn’t their responsibility. They swore up and down that the tires looked great, when they did their check only a few days earlier. They even had us take pics of the tires and send them to their manager……this will be interesting to deal with when we get home. At any rate, we spent 3 hours and $80 the night before on crappy tires and rope. Then we spent another $300 and 5 hours of our day making sure we had new tires and that they were properly aligned. Yay us!
We finished with the tires and headed out for our 5 hour drive to meet up with Aaron’s brother and wife, and our cousin to do some baptisms and initiatories at the Columbia River Temple. We left Alex with the kids at the church right across the street and headed in. Such a beautiful way to end our day. After we were done with the temple work, we picked up some grub and went over to hang out at Juan’s (Aaron’s cousin’s) house with his wife and 4 kids (she just gave birth to the most precious little gal a few weeks ago). I took my camera inside, to grab some pics, but was so relaxed and enjoying that little baby so much, I completely forgot about the camera.
So grateful to be able to spend some more time in the temple. Being in the temple always realigns my soul with where I want to be and helps me to see the whole forest, through the trees. It gave me some perspective, after spending a day of feeling sad that our journey began with such a rocky road. Even though I am still a little confused as to how we were sent out on our trip with tires that looked that bad on the inside alignment. Even though I am still a little sad that $300 of my blood money went towards someone else’s neglectfulness, that we will never be compensated for. I am soooooo very grateful that our tires decided to pop while we were driving along at 25 miles per hour instead of 80 mph on the freeway, in the middle of nowhere. Yeah, life is good and this trip is going to rock it! Pura Vida!