Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Road Trip Diary: Day 1

The Navy is moving us from Waukegan, Illinois, to San Diego, California; driving across the country with a three-month-old baby and a cat who's afraid of the world is quite an adventure!

Little Bug does not think highly of this idea.
“Well,” D announced as we settled ourselves into our new-ish car, “we're officially homeless.”

It was about 0730 on Monday morning. Our stuff had been picked up by PODS a few days earlier, and the rest of our earthly possessions were neatly packed into the back of our SUV (because D is a Tetris master). Little Bug was asleep in his car seat and Freddy was in his carrier, surprisingly quiet save the occasional pitiful meow.

And so we hit the road. We made good use of the FM transmitter that D had bought to enable us to listen to our iPods during our journey. I've tried finding radio stations along the way during road trips... this method was much better.

We got about an hour out before Little Bug had his first (and thankfully only) blow out of the day. Amid loud wails we pulled into a gas station parking lot so I could nurse him. D tried to contain his frustration at needing to stop again so soon while I got out of the car briefly to bounce Bug and calm him down. It's got to be difficult for him; he's used to having his needs met pretty much immediately, and having to wait to fill a hungry tummy is a foreign concept. But we got through it, and fifteen minutes later we were on our way again.

Overall, Day 1 was pretty uneventful. We navigated the smaller highways of Illinois, endeavoring to avoid routes with tolls. We eventually crossed the beautiful and breathtaking Mississippi River into Iowa, and promptly stopped at one of the first rest areas we came to for a break, with snacks all around. D made me a PB&J while I nursed Little Bug. We offered Freddy a snack and some water too but, martyr that he is, he stoically refused.

Let me take a moment to state that Iowa has some pretty rad rest stops. Indoor, nice clean bathrooms, TONS of vending machines (let the junk food begin!), and free wi-fi at pretty much every stop.

Freddy spent most of the ride hiding under a blanket.
After one such stop a few hours later, we had made more sandwiches and and rolled down the windows to sit and enjoy our lunch. (As much as I would have preferred getting out of the car, we couldn't leave Freddy there alone, and taking him out of the car was out of the question. Poor kitty is afraid of everything.) After eating, we prepared to leave. I went to roll up my window and heard a clicking-type noise. And the window fell back open, and would not roll back up again. D let loose some coarse words and declared that the power window regulator had gone kaput.

“How hard is that to fix?” I asked.

“Not hard, but it's [expletive deleted] expensive,” he replied.

My brain began working furiously. Did we have a warranty? I wondered. We had just purchased the car within the last month, but I distinctly recalled turning down the extended warranty. Pursing my lips, I pulled out the paperwork from CarMax, which was conveniently in the car (and not filed away in our Important Paperwork Box, which was in the POD). I shifted past all the details: the car we had sold (goodbye Volvo, I don't miss you at all), financing and loan terms, info on switching over our license plates. And then I found it: Limited 30 Day Warranty! I quickly calculated in my head. We bought our SUV 27 days ago. And the window regulator was listed as a covered part!

And there was much rejoicing.

What followed was a badly choreographed series of phone calls. Yes CarMax would cover the repair. No, there were no CarMax service centers anywhere in Iowa, and we were currently a few hours shy of Des Moines. Yes, we could take it elsewhere; we would pay up front, but CarMax would reimburse us. I called several car repair shops in Des Moines, but no one could fit us in that day; a few said possibly the following afternoon, but we couldn't afford to hang out in Iowa for an extra day. I even tried playing the military card, but to no avail.

In the end, the manager of the Kenosha service center (where we bought the car) was extremely accommodating, for which I am exceedingly thankful. We would continue on to San Diego, and once we got there, we could take the car into the nearest service center and get the window regulator fixed. We would just tell them that it was covered by the Limited 30 Day Warranty, and if they gave us any lip, we could refer them to the manager in Kenosha, who would vouch that the problem was reported during the allotted 30 days.

Satisfied, we continued on our way.

After spending more than an hour driving with the window down, wind blasting my left ear, we stopped for gas. D took some maps and stuffed them in the window crack, allowing us to keep the window up (mostly) for the remainder of the drive.

We rolled into Des Moines soon after, but as Little Bug was snoozing contentedly in his car seat, we decided to press on. We ended up spending the night in a Super 8 in the little town of Stuart, Iowa. We converged on our assigned room with baby and cat in tow, plus all associated bags. Freddy went straight under the covers, while D and I spent a lazy evening eating Subway and watching Pawn Stars.

The adventure would continue on Day 2.

The view from our motel in Stuart, Iowa.

1 comment:

  1. Freddy is such a Heroic Stoic!! And I agree - finding radio stations can be quite interesting. I have many memories of setting the radio on scan and driving for a long time before suddenly realizing that it was still scrolling through stations and hadn't found anything!
    I am sympathetic to D's feelings of frustration at having to retard progress for the blow-out stop as I like to drive hard and fast (you know that!).
    OH poor window - I am so happy you were clever enough to get it figured out, and so glad you had the paperwork so you could at least contact the Kenosha office and have them be aware of your situation, since by the time you get to the shop in SD it might already be over 30 days!! I cannot wait to see more :) :)