Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Snow + Broken Car + Oneonta New York - $175 = vacation

Jacob had school spring break last week. I wasn't totally sure if I was going to visit upstate New York during that time, but I decided to go. I like it because his school has the week before Easter off, meanwhile the kids in New York have the week after Easter off. So when we visit NY and go to kid focused places - like Chuck E. Cheese, the place is deserted and we have it practically to ourselves.

Had I known I would be driving thru SNOW in Pennsylvania, I would have waited a day. But made it thru a freak snow storm without problems. I started thinking how lucky I have been in my many driving trips to NY, that I had only had a problem once - a long time ago, I got a flat tire which a state trooper changed for me. (FYI - I have changed a tire by myself back in my early 20's, but hey, if a state trooper offers to do it, why would I decline?)

There is a stretch of about 150 miles where my T-Mobile cell doesn't get coverage. Then my luck finally ran out. I noticed the car was starting to run rough and a check engine light came on. Luckily I was near an exit and got off and while on the ramp, I could tell something was really wrong. I stopped at the first gas station/convenience store I saw and got directions to a mechanic/garage. It was 4:30 in the afternoon. I got to the garage and told them my problem (I was still about 100 miles away from my mom's house). They said they would try to help, but of course, they closed at 5pm. By 4:55 they had hooked the diagnostic computer up to my car and found the problem (a broken ignition coil). But the car parts store they used also closed at 5pm. The car parts store got the part, and left it outside for one of the mechanics to pick up.

Long story short - they stayed and put the part in, and I was back on the road by 5:30pm. Even though my car broke, the way things all worked out, I still feel very lucky. Total cost for parts & service was $175. They could have told me I needed a $600 double-sided flux capacitor and I would have said "fine - just do it, and I'll also buy a spare". And all in all, I think it was ok that I didn't have cell coverage, because if I did, I would have ended up calling DH all freaked out saying "what do I do? what do I do?" rather than just handling the situation on my own. And another thing that was lucky was that when my car was breaking down, I was near an exit that had civilization - there are a lot of exits in that area that are in the middle of nowhere.

The rest of the trip and the ride home was uneventful. Yeah!

Jacob loves the Washington Monument, so when I found out there was a similar monument only about 10 miles from my sister's house, we had to go. It wasn't open for the season yet, but we'll go in it another time.

One day I had some time to kill before picking my mom up at the adult day care - also known as the racino so Jacob and I walked around the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, no concerts were going on but we had fun walking around the grounds. I used to volunteer there as an usher (out of the goodness of my heart - haha), got to see a ton of concerts and it's where my high school graduation ceremony was held.

Easter afternoon walking around downtown Saratoga Springs (niece, Jacob and sister)

Gotta run for now, more about my trip later.


Cheap&Sweet said...

So glad you got your car fixed how nice of evryone! You must have had some fairy dust on you or something!

Diana said...

Your comment about being lucky to have broken down near a "civilized" exit reminded me of when a boyfriend and I broke down during the night on a highway NOT near civilization 10 years ago. We ended up walking along the side of the road for a while until a Walmart truck driver picked us up! Scary! Glad things worked out for you.

twins said...

Sounds like you just had a very lucky trip. The weather here was great that week (for the end of March) and you were lucky the Saratoga Monument wasn't open. If it was you would be walking up to the top with your son. I did it once, out of stupidity, and will never go up again. It is an open staircase that wraps around the inside of the monument. There are windows that you can look out along the way, but the look down inside is aweful!!!

slugmama said...

I hate breaking down so far from home.
It happened to me on the Thruway outside of Buffalo on a trip back from Canada. Alone with a 4 yr old in the backseat in a totally dead car at dusk above a pretty seedy part of town.ugh
The State Trooper saved our lives by taking us to a motel and arranging for a garage to tow the car. A motel bill and repair bill later and we were back on the road the next afternoon.
I'm glad it worked out so well for you.
The next time you drive up I-81 outside Wilkes-Barre wave hi to one of your readers...me!lol

gherlashdawn said...

Oneonta has a unique combination of big-city excitement and small-town charm. Just a few hours north of New York City, visitors can enjoy superior Cooperstown lodging and year-round attractions. American citizen have the right to vote, travel with a U.S. Passport, work as a Federal employee. Take full advantage of Otsego County's natural beauty, heritage and culture.

Randee Colton said...

You were lucky to end up with such professional mechanics! Imagine, even if they close at 5pm, which is minutes away right after you arrived, they still entertained and made sure to have your car fixed. Did you thank them enough for helping you out?

-Randee Colton @ CapitolHillExxon

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