Monday, June 01, 2009
Crazy Church Van and the worst trip ever!
There have been the: "Yikes, where did that deer come from!" while speed bumping at 55 miles an hour over a 8 point buck's carcass and slamming on the brakes to have the kids cell phones whistle past my head and smack into the dash moments.
There have been back road winter conditions at 2 am with the students saying, "Yeah, I only live 10 more miles up this road marked 'Off season conditions'.
There have been plenty of "How long till we get there?" and "Can we stop so I can go to the bathroom?" moments.
But the most trying of them all will have to be one hot, hot summer day in Western PA returning home from picking up a van-load of children from summer camp. The trip to camp was about 3 hours, pick ups tool about an hour, and the trip home another 3. I was prepared with snacks, juice and even a volunteer to help me out; but this moment could not have been foreseen.
About 40 miles from home, the van engine started to whine and winnie, the temperature gauge rocketed into the red zone, and the kids all started to cry out, "I'm hungry!" At the crest of the hill, a loud snap emitted from under the hood of the van as I rolled into a parking lot of an abandoned church. The van was dead, my phone was dead, my volunteers phone was dead, and I got out to walk to the closest neighbor to call the office. Seems like the setting for a horror movie, right?
I found a creaky old trailer where a kind old gentleman and his dog were living and made the call for someone to come get us, and sat in the van for another 40 minutes waiting with the kids saying, "But we're hungry and its your job to feed us!!!" We were all so tired, sweaty, and hungry by then.
Finally our rescue van arrived and we finally got home about two hours late. I later found out the serpentine belt had snapped and made it impossible for the engine or fan to turn. I'm here today to let you know that it is possible to survive a 10-12 hour trip, that should have been 8, with 90% humidity - 13 hungry and homesick children - and a van that should have been put out to pasture many summers before.
What a day, what a van, what a whopper of a TRUE story!