This last Friday my oldest daughter, husband, and I loaded up my mini-van and hit the road for a planned fantastic weekend on the Deschutes river whitewater rafting with several other friends. We headed out early so we could stop up at Timberline Lodge to take a short hike along the Pacific Crest Trail (at least a segment of). The hike was so pretty and it was fun seeing the skiers and snowboarders plowing down the Mountain at the beginning of August (peek summer month here in Oregon) even though the snow was sparse! There were pretty little flowers in bloom and in patches and the historic lodge was worth the stop and walk about. After our hike we took a short break and sat down in the pub on the second floor to savor a cheese platter as well as the charcuterie board, yummy. When we turned off of I-24 to head up to the lodge from Government Camp, we noticed that our van lost the speedometer and with that the ability to know when to change gears. We had hoped that with the heat and elevation that once it had a rest things would run smooth again but decided to cut short our hike time, hence it was a very short trek. We got out to the van and as we went down the mountain everything seemed to have self-corrected and we were on our way again yay! Or so we thought. The next climb we needed to take as we cruised along I-24 the darn thing went out again. The view was stunning and we felt pretty confident that we would be able to keep driving along as we knew how to handle this situation enough to be safe.
Once we reached Madras though we started to have to help the van shift from a stop and had to accept that the crew that would be shuttling our vehicles to our pullout point in Maupin after ridding through boxcar rapid, would not be willing to deal with our glitch van. We had a choice to make of either turning around and driving the over 2 hours back home to get the auto repair manual and tools or calling my ex-husband who we had driven 3 hours one way to rescue last year to have him bring what we needed while we grabbed the parts from the shop, have dinner, and wait. We elected to make that phone call and wait. Turned out a friend of ours volunteered to run over to our house to grab what was needed while my ex was fixing dinner for his children and when the friend looked, could not find what we were after so he gave us a fast call back. Wow it had already been an hour and time was getting itchy! We had a second idea of grabbing my daughter that drives mini-van from the sheriffs parking lot where it was sitting for the weekend anyway as she is off doing something at the coast and would not need it then the friend could just swap vans and we could fix mine when we got home on Sunday yay this would help save time in the Safeway parking lot and get us setup for the night before midnight! Or so we thought… about 2 hours after the friend got off the phone with us saying he would be on his way, we received another call to say he was stranded at the side of the road about 30 minutes out and my daughters van was DEAD. Oh how I wanted to whimper at that moment! I decided I really did not want to go rafting this round without my husband and so was willing to pass but our oldest daughter was still game if we could get her there. We told our friend that we would be on the way as soon as we dropped her off. At this point it was now 10pm and traffic was heavy enough we missed the turn-off in the dark and when we turned around our daughter was at the point of lets just get home and if the van is fixed in time to come back before morning great. We called our tow company to be told that they would be happy to send a truck but where we wanted the van taken the truck company required $600 up-front to pay for the mileage! This was NOT going to happen. We turned them down, picked up our friend and came home accepting that rafting was not going to happen for us this year. In the morning, we rented a car carrier, a truck (the least expensive place even after adding in the truck required us to not use our own truck) and the friend and my husband made the drive, grabbed my daughters van and brought it back while I stayed home and emptied our my van and put away all our clean un-used camping gear, dry bags, and misc. All in all Saturday was retrieval and recovery day. Saturday evening became fix my van time instead of relax with friends and family time. I had moments of deep sighing time but managed. Sunday became finish my van and start the process of trying to figure out my daughters van issues… All in all the weekend had a great hike, lovely views, and could have been worse. We missed the trip down the river and look forward to next year.