Texas or Bust

Don’t miss out ~ the story starts here:  Texas?  Really? and My, that air-co feels good.

Welcome to Texas

After we collected 3 of the four kids, we headed home to prepare for an early trip to Texas the next morning.

Not really wanting to shop for a vehicle with four children, Lance called his cousin in Dallas to see if they’d happen to be around.  What a blessing that they were!  “Yes, bring the kids!  We’ll watch ’em, and you have to spend the night.  When will you be here?  What can we feed you?” and on and on.  Ah, such a relief to have that taken care of.

I spent the evening packing bags, gathering snacks and drinks, and praying.  A lot.  Lance spent it on google, mapping and printing various routes and directions, depending on how much time we have and where we need to go first.  (Yes, we’re old school.  No GPS needed.  I truly am seriously disturbed by the sheer number of people I know who cannot follow a map or written directions, but that’s another post…)

In the middle of all the packing, gathering, praying, and googling, my aunt (who had two of the kids that day) called to let us know we left a puddle of “slippery liquid” in their driveway.  Really?!  What little mojo I was mustering up for this trip rapidly deflated.  Lance went out to check the van and the “leak” that was no longer there, and came back in rather certain that it must have been overflow (or something) from the newly fixed air conditioner.

“Lord, I pray my husband is not losing his mind and that we will not pay dearly for our craziness,” or something like that went through my head.

Onward.  Child #1 returned from a birthday party at about 11pm, angry that she didn’t get to spend the night “because we have to go to Texas.  What’s in Texas, anyway?!”  That was fun.

We finally gave up on last-minute preparations at about 1 in the morning, and set the alarm for 4.  Got up, fixed breakfast for the road, loaded the van, grabbed the children, and hit the road at 4:55AM.  The drive was smooth, the sunrise beautiful, and the kids did great.  We crossed into Texas at about 11:00, nearly the same time our cell phone rang.

It was the dealer that had our #1 choice.  The one closing at 2:00.  “Just wanted to make sure I told you we don’t take out of state checks.”  Say what?!  We are paying cash for this vehicle!!!  (Well, cash in the form of a check.  People don’t really lug around thousands of dollars do they?!)  It’s good that I was driving and Lance was taking the calls.  Mr. Dealer Man did NOT need the wrath of an emotional, tired pregnant woman.  My level-headed hubby replied that it would have been helpful to have that information before driving for five hours, and what would he suggest we do about wiring money on a Saturday afternoon when our local bank closes at noon?

Thanks God, for local Tiny Town banks.  We called, and our contact offered to fax a statement showing our account had the funds.  Could we then write a personal check?  Wire on Monday?  Lance talked to the finance guy at the dealership and he confirmed that plan.  All this, and we haven’t seen the vehicle yet!

Around noon we’re obviously nearing the city of Dallas.  I’m still driving, he’s still on the phone.  I know the original plan of “see our favorite one (on paper) last so that we don’t have to backtrack if we like it” isn’t going to work because there’s no time.  In fact, looking at the map and our directions and the clock, there is precious little time to even drop the kids off.  We. Are. Pushing. It.

When the time comes to head east (to his cousin) or west (toward our #1 vehicle choice) Lance is on the phone.  I am concentrating on the road, and the signs, and the exits.  (Um, the “city” we go to most often in Kansas is a fraction of the size of Dallas.  A fraction.  Let’s just leave it at that.)  I ask him which way I should go, but I don’t hear a response.  Instinct (or something… is it you, God?) kicks in and I head east.

When he gets off the phone, he says “Where are you going?  I was pointing west.”


Well, decision made.  We’re heading to the cousin’s.  And… all those directions we printed out?  None of them were from our house directly to their house.  No worries.  Lance calls for directions.  He writes and talks me through it while I drive through the biggest city I’ve ever (ever!) driven in.  I’m climbing loops and ramps and it all looks like a big ol’ carnival ride.  The kids’ jaws have long dropped to their knees, and I’m just thankful that I’m not trying this during pelting rain or an ice storm.

We exit off of a main highway, but our directions don’t tell us if we should go right or left, so Lance gets on the phone again while I find a place to pull over.

When we get squared away (we were supposed to go through the intersection) and I press the gas pedal, the van lurches for the first time, and my memory flashes to circa 1990, when the transmission went out in our family van in the middle of an intersection in “the city”.  Embarrassed teenagers don’t forget such things.

Oh. Dear.

(to be continued…)


Images from J. Stephen Conn and dhaake

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  1. Oh my, this sounds like a complete nightmare! But at least we know you survived it all, physically anyway. I imagine mentally this will be with you for a long time.

    • You know, it seems more of a nightmare while telling it than it did while living it. At the time all we could do was GO GO GO and laugh and pray… it was definitely a “laugh or cry” situation!

  2. Yikes! All I can say, is that I really hope you have AAA:)

    • Ha! We don’t, but we do have roadside assistance (that we didn’t need to use) with our insurance. I wonder if we would have even thought of that if we HAD needed it… (never used it before).

  3. Who needs TV when Amy is writing a great story? Can’t wait to hear what happens next.

  4. patricia says:

    I’m on the edge of my seat………

  5. Oh boy – I can’t wait to hear the rest! I grew up in a suburb of Kansas City and while there I was use to the traffic. Now I have lived in a very small town in Colorado for 15 years and I hate it when we do go Denver – too many cars. I tell my girls – do you realize there are more people on this highway right now than live in Gunnison? They are shocked.

  6. I love how googling has become “old school” ;).

  7. So I grew up in a Tiny Town in KS and drove to the same “big city” so I did some sleuthing to find out if maybe we knew some of the same people (I have been following you forever and never figured this out). Anyways, I am pretty sure your husband and I went to the same college – a few years apart. Loving this story, can’t wait to hear more!

    • Ha! I looked at your email address, and if the second part of your email is your last name/maiden name, then I imagine you DID attend that same college. Very common name for that little town. 😉 His siblings all went there, too. Maybe you know one of them? (We may have to take this convo to email.) 🙂

  8. Kimberly says:

    Seriously, I have to wait for the next installment????? You are so mean! Hee hee… I live in Dallas near one of those interchanges & my parents from IN nearly need medication to go on one of them- as a passenger. You are right, ice is not a good thing. Semis get stuck on them. I think you should have at the dealership and not hold back. : ) Gotta use those hormone superpowers somehow.

    • “nearly need medication to go on one of them- as a passenger” YES! Honestly, there was simply no time to worry about it, but HOLY MOLY! 🙂

  9. Amy, I’ve drove in that traffic before…If I was you, the amount of stress would have put me into labor…It makes me sick just thinking abt it…

  10. Oh my word. All I want to do is come give you a massage, cook you dinner, and bring your kids to my house so you can sleep. I’m tense just reading this story. {hugs}

  11. I’m NOT the only one who doesn’t do GPS. Woohoo! Common sense HAS to be a piece of navigation. =)

    • Yes. I’m grateful for technology, but I do think it’s making us a bunch of DUMMIES sometimes. Here’s to common sense and basic life skills!

  12. I google before I leave, just to see the route, and have some clue about what the GPS on the phone *should* tell me to do…

    That being said, as a Texan, who has lived in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metromess for about 3/4 of my life, and driven all over the state, trust me when I say you should be grateful that you didn’t have to go to Houston, because when you arrived there, you’d have realized that the lovely “Drive Friendly, the Texas Way” sign LIES…

  13. Oh Amy! I’ve been in Dallas once and remember even then hoping I NEVER, ever, ever had to drive in Dallas (I don’t think I even had my permit yet, hah!) Way to go, Amy! Can’t wait to read the rest. 🙂

  14. I just saw the photo of the ‘roads’ in Dallas and my heart sunk. I hate driving in Dallas and often slow down to a snail pace so that I don’t ‘fall off’ the sides! Makes me very happy that I live in a town of 300 without stoplights!

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