Our first week was full of many unwanted surprises.
Not what you were expecting me to say?
Before our exciting departure, having geared up for days, weeks, and months, we had prepared as much as we possibly could. When the day of departure finally arrived, we all eagerly jumped in the truck to leave and…it wouldn’t start.
Really?! Are you kidding me!?
So, we get everyone out of the truck and jump it. When that didn’t work, we went off to go get another battery. That did the trick. Thank goodness. Alright! No biggie, let’s go, go, go!
But, on the way out to Tulsa, the truck started having major problems. What!? Why!? (You know those moments when you just want to lose it?)
Amazingly, while in Tulsa for 24 hours, God made a way by providing us a Ford truck mechanic who just “happened” to be at the Ford service shop headed out the door when we called. He came over to us and spent the entire day fixing the truck, giving Seth advice on how to drive it on mountain roads while pulling a fifth wheel, and even bought him lunch. We even got the part at wholesale.
A blessing, right? Yes, it really was!
However, as we headed out with confidence to our next destination, Colorado Springs, the truck had another impromptu problem. By this time, we had invested in a code reader. We arrived at our RV resort driving 30 miles under the speed limit, hoping and praying we wouldn’t get stuck in the middle of nowhere, arriving late at Mountaindale Cabins and RV Resort (well past their arrival time rules), and filled with anxiety on how we were going to get this truck fixed, again!
The next day, a Monday, was Seth’s first day to work. He had to demonstrate that he could be reliable as we switched to this new way to work. Therefore, I would have to be the one to drive the truck out to a Ford service department for the repair in this new, unfamiliar city.
On top of that, two days before, Safia was bit on the thumb by a friend’s dog, and Seth and I both agreed it looked infected. We decided I needed to take her to a Urgent Care facility in the city to have this looked at.
As Safia and I waited and waited for 2.5 hours, I realized I had lost our credit card. I couldn’t find it anywhere. I had it just before leaving the resort and now, in a matter of an hour, it was gone. As we waited in the waiting room for what seemed like eternity because the infection, car issue and credit card disappearance kept bombarding my mind, I rummanged over and over in the truck, trying to recover the card, while trying to not be bypassed for our appointment. A doctor finally stepped inside the small, disinfected room we had been in for an hour, looked at her finger for two minutes and told me it was not infected. Ugh! I don’t know what’s worse..waiting two hours and paying $200 for an infected finger or waiting for two hours and paying $200 for an UNinfected finger!
So we head to Ford next and I explain the problem. Safia, having been drug along for the second half of my mission, and I waited in the Ford waiting room for another 2.5 hours with little understanding of what was going on or why it was taking so long to simply diagnose a problem for codes we had provided from our code reader. Finally, as the day was coming to a close and with no transportation home and a truck still in the shop, we were finally offered a ride by the service manager, who took pity on us, and promised that the problem would get looked at after he discovered how long we had been waiting.
The next day we continued waiting for the truck repair until the very end of the day. The Ford tech who worked on the truck fixed the sensor (a 2-3 hours job), but we spent the entire day without a vehicle. We found someone we could pay to give us a ride back to the truck later in the day before close.
Seth drove the truck home. Meanwhile, we discovered that our hitch was broken! What?! This could not only be a huge hassle, but dangerous! Interestingly, we had made friends with the boy scout leader ‘neighbor’ just next to us at the RV resort and he offered to give us a helping hand. He and Seth took the hitch apart together and found the problem and fixed it. What felt like was going to be another huge ordeal turned out to be resolved quickly and with little hassle. Thank goodness!
The next day, Wednesday, we were finally able to go somewhere. We made a few trips and actually were able to do something outside the RV resort. The resort itself was a fantastic spot, with lots to do. The kids stayed preoccupied with new friends, a playground, outdoor games, and a little store.
The week seemed to get back on track and we were determined to make up for lost time. We went to Helen Hunt Falls for a beautiful hike.
Thursday, we were visited by an friend from high-school, Adam Almaguer, that both Seth and I knew. It was so enjoyable to catch up and get to spend time with his wife, Mary, and his kids. We ate street tacos outside and walked around the RV Park, giving them a little tour of this great little park.
On Saturday, we decided to make a day of it by sight seeing, beginning with a drive up to Pike’s Peak. As we excitedly began climbing up the mountain in our Ford F-250 Diesel, we suddenly found the exact same car issue happening as before, despite just having just fixed it (it was a sensor issue)! Of course, we couldn’t keep going up the mountain, so we all, in great despair and frustration, turned around and headed back to the Ford dealership. Everyone was at a loss, especially Seth and I. Safia kept trying to be positive and keep Seth’s spirits up along the drive. While on the drive to Ford, Seth contacted the incredibly kind and helpful repair tech, Mike Sweeney, who had replaced the turbo back in Tulsa. After speaking with him, we realized that the work that was done at the dealership earlier in the week was not done completely (the technician was supposed to also put a new harness in with the new sensor as the typical protocol).
After arriving at Ford and hearing the Service manager tell us that there is no one there that could help us that day as it was mainly an oil change day and they were already short staffed, we had no choice but to demand the GM of service department, who actually ended up doing the work himself. We sat in the Ford waiting room, again, that Saturday until 5:30pm, until they finally rolled the truck up with great apology and regret. We immediately drove the truck to Pike’s Peak, which was closing at 6pm, both to capitalize on what was left of our day, but to also give the truck a test run.
Thankfully, as we nervously climbed to 14,000 feet of elevation, we found that the truck had no issues whatsoever. We were so relieved!
Later, with grateful hearts, we drove over to Manitou Springs and Seth enjoyed a flight of beer and we ate a great dinner at the Manitou Springs Brewery right in downtown Manitou Springs. It ended up being a really nice evening together.
With so many issues, it is difficult to understand the why. We can’t really answer that. We believe we are people of faith and that God has orchestrated our steps for this trip because so many things point towards it. It’s funny, however, that it can be easy to lose sight that when times get rough fact, because, being on the right path doesn’t promise to always be trouble/problem free. As we continually try get through each new set of problems, I kept asking myself, how should I be thinking about this? What am I supposed to learn from this? How is this preparing us for something else?
A few things I’ve learned is that:
There are people who are dealing with things that are much harder than just a car breakdown on a vacation, so don’t forget to be grateful and stop whining!
A positive attitude or word of encouragement goes a long way and is greatly appreciated by those who are distressed.
Every trial is an opportunity to grow, so pay attention to your perspective and fight to do/think/say the right thing despite your circumstances.
God provides. We’re human. We get sucked into circumstances and are emotional. Write down each time He provides as a way to remind yourself that He did then and He will now. It can be easy to forget, otherwise. Each time, each occurance… He made a way for us! #yayGod
Our next destination is Glenwood Springs! Let’s pray it goes smoothly!