Yesterday was our tri-monthly trip to Amish country to see patients and procure food for the homestead. I brought the two older girls along and a friend. It promised to be a delightful day. The sun was shining and the roads were clear. The first two house calls went well. Got in and out of the long FLAT lane no problem. Last time we were there we got stuck and ended up denting the siding on one of their out buildings and dinging the van. No problems yesterday. We had to drive past our favorite resale shop. We decided to stop in and drop some things off and see what they had that we needed. We were in the store about 20 minutes - we hurried you see. When we came in I turned the key in the ignition and NOTHING happened. One quiet click and that was it. Tried again a couple times and then decided to see if we could find someone to give us a jump. There was someone right there with a big F10 pick-up that came right over and hooked us up. He revved his motor and we tried several times to get our big van to start, nothing but the almost silent click. The lights came on and the buzzers were working, but the engine wouldn't start. I called my DH and asked his advice. "Call AAA and see if they can tow you somewhere that can work on it right away. Have someone check the starter. He gave me detailed instructions on how this should be done. Let me call your brother the mechanic."
I did call AAA and somewhere along the way I must have hit a wrong button or two. Suddenly, I was listening to a "dirty" phone call. The fantasy she was talking about was not a AAA cruise trip. Yuk!! I hung up and tried again. This time I got an old guy who wanted to know the location of where my vehicle was. I told him the road and the place. He wanted to know the crossroad. I told him there was only one crossroad in this town and I didn't know the name of it. He persisted in asking and I told him he should be able to figure it out as there was only ONE in the whole town!! Finally, I sent JoAn into the store to get the address. He said a truck would be out there in an hour and a half. I needed to be on the road sooner.Someone else came along and tried to jump start the van, but that didn't work either, needless to say. What to do.
I thought harder and remembered a farmer up the road and decided to call him to rescue us four damsels in distress. He was willing to come, but reminded me that he was a farm mechanic and not a fancy car mechanic. I decided to take the chance. Joe (his real name) came and did all the things my husband had told me to have done without my saying a word. This gave me confidence. He then checked out the starter. "Yup, the starter's bad, the whatever won't move, gotta have a new starter." He called the closest NAPA store and sure enough they had the part. He took his little boy, the Jr. Mechanic, and drove off to NAPA. He brought the new starter back and put it on in about 10 minutes. He said, "It was as easy to do on this big van as it used to be on my Daddy's old pick up." (His voice sounds just like Jimmy Stewart) I turned the key and it worked. Hallelujah! God bless farm mechanics! Joe is one of my new heroes.
We were so relieved to be on our way after a more than two hour delay. We hurried through our next couple errands. We made a house call on a icy hilly driveway that had some steep turns. When we were ready to go we knew that we would not be able to easily back through the maze. We decided to drive down to the barn and turn around. Key word there is 'down'. Now how to go back up to turn around. We were stuck. We tried for about 10 minutes pushing and rocking trying to get the beast up the hill backwards. The farmer came along and moved some obstacles so we could get to some clear concrete. It worked. We got enough momentum to get the behemoth up the hill and into a spot to turn around. We were once more on the road.
By now the farmer at the next stop was calling to make sure we would be there soon. He was waiting on us to milk. We were hurrying our fastest. It was after 5 when we arrived.
This stop was blissfully uneventful. We hurried on. We were so late that the next stop had rescheduled and the butcher was closed. We will need to do some changes in the menu plans
I was a little worried about the next stop which was a house on a hill. I planned carefully, like a general going to war. We made it in and out without a hitch. Yippeeee!
The temp was dropping as the sun was down and things were freezing hard. The next driveway was pretty flat, but at the end there was a slope down to the barn. JoAn and Michelle went in the milk house and got the yogurt while I turned the van around. Rats! Stuck again. We jockeyed around trying to find someplace without ice and where we could get some traction. After about 10 or 15 minutes we escaped, with the girls help in pushing. My nerves were beginning to get a little frazzled. In the meantime our poor friend riding along discovered that she was ill to her stomach. She said that she hadn't vomited since grade school, but apparently we bring out the best in people. :-( We stopped along the road, next to a fence post. The trip was getting longer by the minute.
The next stop was a drop off at someones house. Never had been there. The house was on a hill (aren't they all in Amish country?!!) with a long straight steep driveway. We pulled up as far as we could until the van could go further no more on the ice. I got out and banged on windows and doors. There were coats and boots lying all over the house and lights on everywhere, but not a person to be seen. I knocked until my knuckles were sore. I went back to the van and looked for the phone. I was standing beside it when all of a sudden it was sliding down the ice down toward the road. I didn't want to get knocked down, so I jumped in. I got it started and put it in drive before a calamity could happen. Can you say seriously stressed? I was. Only one more stop to go.
It was now 8:45 and we were getting tired (er). The mom had kept her baby up so that she could have her adjustment. She was telling us about the way she had helped her daughter's therapist out of the snow when she got stuck, by putting down ashes. Did I mention that this house was down a hill? I had never gotten stuck here before. I even bragged about how well I could back out of her driveway. "Pride goes before destruction and a haughty heart before a fall." You would think I would learn. I knew that if I stopped I wouldn't be able to get up the hill. I kept going- right off the driveway and almost hit the pasture fence. I was in the deep snow. Once more the girls got out and shoveled and pushed, to no avail. Then Martha, ( her real name), came out with her buckets of ashes and helped push out the van. Back downhill first and then up the hill. We learned yesterday, that what goes up must come down, but not necessarily the same way. LOL We were back on the road and heading home.
Now I was beyond tired. But the trip home should be easy. Things were going along fine until we came to the detour sign. What, a detour? Surely it must be for something just beyond the main road we were turning down. Alas, no, it signified the closing of the entrance ramp for where we wanted to go. I was thinking that maybe they put it up just for me. No sign of construction or anything. Just an electronic flashing ramp closed sign. I wonder if they moved it after I went by. Fortunately, I know my way around, and was able to drive through the city without getting lost or too delayed. We were on our way at last.
The last thing that happened was that as I was merging onto the interstate a pickup pulling a trailer came by. He didn't have any traffic next to him or even close. He wouldn't move over and let me on. He forced me onto the berm. My DH says that I should have thrown an egg at him from the back, but I think he was kidding. I am afraid that I did yell at him and call him an "idiot!" . I think it may have been accurate.
I did make it home safely at a little after 11. It was a very LONG day! Over 14 hours. I am taking it easy today and trying to recuperate. Life is never boring at the Mangos.