Friday, October 23, 2009

an ending part 2

The sweet "new" Vanagon was purchased! Woo Hoo!

Aaron was as giddy as a schoolboy.

The drive up from California went great. Aaron would call his dad every so often to check in and get an update. Things were going great. Until....

Until the van completely stopped close to the Portland Temple.

The van had died.

This was to be the first of many lives it used up on its journey to us.

The thing was towed to brother Mike's place in Hillsboro. Later in the week, a mechanic found that the coil had melted. A relatively easy fix.

The Smith Parents took the train down and drove the van back to their house the following weekend. Things were looking great.

The plan was for me to drive over on Monday and return home gloriously with the new shiny, white van. Aaron was working and called in between classes to see if I was in the new ride and how the van drove, and if it really was as sweet as the pictures showed, and if I'd be home before him of if he'd have to wait for me. He was super excited.

But that excitement died. It died in cloud of white smoke.

I was a mere ten minutes on the freeway, eating my Subway sandwich I had bought during a quick Wal-Mart stop, the Lily, Blake and Cade had just barely fallen asleep. The oil light starts buzzing. I look in the rear view mirror only to see what looked like white smoke billowing out the back end.

What the?! I know I'm not going fast enough for this to happen:

But that's what it looked like.

I call Aaron's mom and ask if this had happened to them. She answered no. I pull off onto the Hobart/Issaquah exit and there I sat until Aaron's dad arrives to help out the messed up situation.

Luckily caught Dad Smith on the phone before he was leaving work. Using just a few colorful words, explained the super fun I was having. He told me to sit tight.

While I was waiting, and already beginning to feel the curse of the stupid van settle down upon us, Aaron called.

"Hey! Where are you?"

"I'm sort of on the freeway."

"What? Are you almost home?"

Then I broke the news to him.

He went through the five steps of grieving pretty quickly. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance.

Those were emotions that hung around our household for about four months. Yes, four months. Four very loooooooong months.

After Dad Smith arrived, it was decided that the van would definitely not be going over the mountains that day. As we were caravaning back to Smith homestead, I was on the phone with my Dad. It was raining, there was traffic, and the freeway had some curves.

That's when the stupid buzzing started again, with the white stuff billowing out the back again. And I swore, again. Sorry, Dad.

Found a safe spot to pull over and Dad Smith took over driving that thing that was supposed to be our reliable vehicle, and I followed in Henry.

We make it to the exit without anything happening. Yes!

I can start to see the white smoke rising. No!

We make through three green lights. Yes!

The last light is red. No!

And the plume of white is now being produced so much so, that I can barely see the back of the van. Oh, h-e-double hockey sticks, NO!

Then I see the van die. Right before my eyes. It was so sad.

We were about 300 meters from parking the dying piece of machinery in the driveway.

Instead, we pushed it into the neighboring strip-malls parking lot to assess the damage.

A guy and gal coming running out of one of the stores carrying a fire extinguisher. They thought the van was on fire.

"Oh, no", I assured them, "It's just over heating."

"Well, we saw all of that smoke coming out the back and we thought it was definitely on fire."

Not 30-seconds later we hear sirens. And they are getting louder. Are they really coming this way, we ask ourselves? Noooo....that would just be too funny.

Well, they were headed our way. A firetruck shows up to our location 20-seconds later.

A lady firefighter hops out and starts asking questions. We try to tell her that it's not on fire, never was and that everything is really okay.

Another fire-guy hops out, this one's in full get-up and gear. They obviously don't mess around with things like this. They stare at the engine for awhile, tell us to do some obvious things then off they went.

Dad Smith and Nate tow the sad, broken van to the house.

That's Henry. The sweet 1967 Volvo, Aaron has had since high school. That's what towed the van.

I head home in the same van I came over with. We went back over about three weeks later and the diagnoses was that a certain sensor was broken, thus we had no idea the coolant was leaking out all over the place because there was a tear in the coolant hose, thus the reason behind the white smoke, it was the coolant leaking on the hot engine parts. And because there was no coolant, the engine overheated and things were all warped in the engine and we needed a new one.

The Vanagon that we once loved so very dearly, although we hadn't even brought her home yet, we now had named, El Diablo Blanco. Or for you gringos, The White Devil.

And boy howdy, did she live up to her name.....'cause we're just gettin' warmed up!

this was a common scene for awhile