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Car Problems Challenge Mother Daughter Mission Trip to Alaska

We left Friday to begin our mother – daughter trip of a lifetime. My daughter and I were primed and ready to enjoy traveling to Alaska by car. This is a church sponsored mission trip. Team items that are needed to help build a house in Willow, Alaska are in the car.

Before leaving, we took the necessary precautions and had the car checked out by our trusted mechanic. The car was pronounced it fit for the long haul. Everything looked good. We were ready to go and get more info!

Things went beautifully for the first few hundred miles. We saw parts of the country that were new to us. Things are very different in Wisconsin than they are at home in Tennessee. The countryside is beautiful! I have slideshows posted of some of the things that we saw and articles waiting in the queue.

Car Problems

Then, it happened. While driving through Minnesota on the way to North Dakota the timing belt snapped on the car. We were able to make it to the shoulder of the road by the slow lane before our PT Cruiser came to a complete halt.

Fortunately, we had cell phone service and soon the AAA tow truck was on the way. The car was towed into Fargo, North Dakota. Hopefully today the necessary parts will arrive and we can be on our way again.

Being stuck so far from home has been one of the more stressful experiences of my life. This happened on a Sunday. At home, car repair shops are open until about 6:00 pm on Sundays. That’s not the case in this part of North Dakota. Car problems can only happen from Monday to Friday here. That’s when the shops are open.

Next we set out to find a motel room. This was accomplished, but at about double the price we had budgeted for the trip. It did have the advantage of being right next door to the service station. We paid for one night. I pitched the idea of writing a review of the motel to the general manager in exchange for a night’s stay. That was a no-go.

The next hurdle was to figure out about getting something to eat. The motel doesn’t offer breakfast. Fortunately, we pack a cooler for all of our trips. This has been very helpful although we did succumb to temptation by ordering a pizza and last night my daughter and I shared a meal of overpriced Chinese food.

Then there is the whole issue of coming up with several extra hundred dollars on the spur of the moment for a car repair bill. If it wasn’t for friends and Pay Pal I’d be a literal basket case right now. (Of course, the possibility exists that I have always been a basket case anyway and this just put me closer to the edge.)

Today, we are hoping that the car repair shop will have worked their magic and that the PT Cruiser will be on the road once again. The mechanics there said there was no way the Knoxville mechanic could have predicted the timing belt issue.

We are still going to try to push for Alaska. On the way back from the mission trip we are going to take some time and see a few things to partially make the trip a vacation. After what Allie and I have experienced over the past few days we both think we need to have a vacation!

The end result is that now we have 3,000 miles to make in 3.5 days. We need to be in Anchorage Saturday, June 20 to meet the rest of the team at the airport. Can we do it? Will we make it?

You can follow our progress on twitter @gaylesglimpes or on my blog here.

Personal Experience

Terry V Williams

Terry V. Williams is a professional writer who lives in Seward with his family and two cats. He earned M.Ed at Concordia University. He built his career as a freelancer in digital marketing. He proved that any one can make his career in digital marketing and earn a lot. His passions for gardening, and home improvement contribute to his wide knowledge of all things garden and home accessories. Throughout his career, Williams has gained experience in recreational planning, natural landscaping, estate landscaping.