It was so peaceful. I don't know if it's my obsession with everything Christmas but I really loved that little pine tree that was next to the deck. It was perfect and no I didn't feel the need to decorate it with lights...although???...I bet it would have looked pretty.
The cabin also came with an Ipod dock, a must have for a vacation with teenage girls. Having never gotten into the Ipod stage myself, I do have to say that the music clarity is amazing and I really enjoyed listening to Brooke's selection of songs.
We decided to head into town to buy some groceries and check out a few stores. When we got into the van I noticed the radio making a strange clicking sound. I had already called Jeff to tell him I was worried that the air conditioning wasn't working quite right while we were driving out. This was bringing back memories of our last road trip to Utah when I burned up the brakes coming down a very steep mountain...I have now learned the importance of downshifting. How was I supposed to know that, we don't downshift in Wisconsin?? Anyway...we continued on the road that circles our mountain. As we turned to head into town I sensed something wasn't quite right, the van seemed to sound differently. We are now on a hilly and winding country highway that does not have a shoulder. Most of the roads in Vermont don't have a pull off lane or shoulder but they do have little pull off stops intermittently. We got to the top of a hill when the van began to sputter (that's a technical term for engine dieing).
Being a person of faith, I began to pray. Now...for all of you who don't believe keep reading, I might be able to change your mind. We began to descend down the hill, went around a winding corner and I am desperately looking for one of those intermittent pull offs. The van begins to loose all power. I am now coasting in a vehicle with limited power, wondering how much longer we can keep going...I give it one last push on the accelerator and we round a corner right into a pull off at which time the van completely stalls. Are you a believer yet? Aww, come on...we could of broke down while we were trekking across 5 states at night on busy highways, we could have lost power on one of the remote mountain roads but no...the van dies on a beautiful country highway, where a pull off just happens to be conveniently placed on a cooler than normal day when Sam is in a great mood??? What are the chances???
So, now our adventure becomes a life lesson. I talk to the girls about how thankful we should be and they agree. I then begin to ask, so what do you think we should do now? Danielle takes the general route, get help...Brooke quickly agrees. I tell them "Well, we have a GPS, so let's look up the phone number for the gas station in Brandon and see if they can tow us." I tell them to begin opening the windows to allow for some air flow as I search for the number. The gas station thankfully answers and tells me they don't tow but can give me a number for someone who does. Great!!! I get the number for Thunder Towing. I call and get through to the tow truck driver and ask him if he is able to give us a ride back to our cabin when he picks up the van. He says, "No I only have a small cab". He then gives me the non-emergency number for the police department. Brooke and Danielle immediately get giddy knowing we have to call the police. I think you'll enjoy this conversation.
Police: Brandon Police Department, how can I help you?
Me: Our van has broken down on the highway outside Brandon and I have 3 children with me, one with special needs. (You know I had to pull out the special needs card)
Me: I have a tow truck on the way but he is unable to help us get back to our rental cabin.
Police: Uh, well...we don't give rides.
Me: (rolling my eyes) I understand but we are not from the area, we are here from Wisconsin on vacation, we don't know anyone in the area and we are unable to walk back to our rental cabin. Could you suggest or help me figure out what would be our best plan of action???
Police: (Long Pause) Let me put you on hold for a minute. During this time I explain to Brooke and Danielle what the officer has said and Brooke comes back with, "Aunt Sue, tell him to put his Dunkin Donut down and come get us....really....how busy can they be?" After I chuckle and tell her to chill, the officer returns on the line.
Police: I can give you the numbers of some taxi services. I say "Thank you" while my mind is thinking...well, there goes your "knight in shining armor award" did you not hear the special needs child portion...whatever.
I call the taxi service and they tell me they will be able to pick us up within a half hour to 45 minutes. I can't wait to find out how much this is going to cost. I call Jeff to let him know what is going on and ask him to communicate with the towing/service guy since I don't know anything about the van except how to drive it and even that was questionable after the brake dilemma in Utah. I tell him about my conversation with the police officer and his reply "What are they that busy in the country???"
It was interesting to me how many cars went by and not one stopped to offer assistance. I guess in this day and age people are afraid to go out of their way or they just don't want to get involved. However one little old man stopped to check up on us. Brooke and Danielle have this obsession about old people and little people (dwarfs)...they think they are so unique and cute. Okay, they are, I guess!! He was from the Brandon fire department...obviously not the same training the police department had. Anyway he asked if we needed anything. I explained to him that we had a tow truck and taxi on the way and thanked him for stopping.
Sam then announces that he has to go potty. I get him out of the van and notice a truck that must have pulled in behind us however the driver never got out to ask us if we needed any help...a woman with 3 children and our hood up in the air. Go figure?? I then begin to worry if he is some kind of wacko, so I pray again and ask the girls for a blanket so I can take Sam potty. I hold up the blanket around Sam and have him pee on the side of the parking area just as the tow driver shows up. I tell him I'll be right with him, motioning to the stream coming out from the blanket. A half smile on my face...full smile on his face "You know...when nature calls??"
The tow truck driver was very nice and told me that our alternator probably went out and he asks if the police are coming to get us. This makes Brooke and Danielle chuckle and I explain that we have called a taxi. He then informs me that he will stay with us until we get picked up. He gets the "knight in shining armor award", thank you!! The girls asked him about the sticker on his front window since it has been intriguing them the entire time we have been in Vermont. They had all kinds of ideas as to what the different color stickers meant on the cars they saw, but were disappointed to hear that it was just a vehicle inspection sticker, nothing to do with night/day driving, parking, mountain lion, gophers/squirrels and whatever else they dreamed you needed that sticker for.
Our taxi driver shows up and we load everyone into the car while I give the tow truck driver Jeff and my cell phone numbers. My mind then worries about this random person, our taxi driver, knowing that me and 3 children are staying at this quiet, out of the way cabin in the mountains....stop.....I must be watching too many scary movies with the girls at night. He was very nice and offered to drive us anywhere we needed to go...of course for a price.
We settled into the cabin and ate dinner. When it got dark out it began to rain, really it was more like the sky just opened up and dumped water on us. The power almost went out, which the girls loved and they danced in the rain on the deck. With the amount of rain we had, the small stream outside the cabin swelled and the noise of the waterfall exploded. Nature is so cool!!! On this night the girls watched "Session 9".
On day 7 I got up early to check my emails and to sit outside and read for a bit. As I'm checking my email Brooke wakes up, she stands up and has a very confused look on her face. Not sure if she's sleep walking I say "Good Morning" and ask her if she is okay. She is patting and rubbing her stomach and pants and says "I don't know what happened but I think I might have wet myself". Not sure if she's awake I ask "You did what?" She says, "I'm all wet and I don't know why". And here I thought Sammy was the one I had to worry about not the 15 year old. I then spot a water bottle laying on the bed and ask her if perhaps the water spilled on her. She said I didn't have a water bottle and then she had her "Aha" moment. "Danielle, wake up, why is your water bottle in the bed". Danielle thinks maybe she drank it in her sleep, too bad she didn't put the cap back on in her sleep....and this is where I burst out laughing. The look on Brooke's face when she woke up was priceless.
We spent most of the day sitting out in the sun, the girls did a little swimming and I read another book. Sam was working on his Ipad and building a Trio block creation. One of our neighbors, the lady who cleans the cabin was nice enough to drive us to the service station so we could pick up our van. It was a small place with parts all over, a whiskey bottle on the filing cabinet and a ton of paperwork on the desk. We drove away happy to have the van back when I noticed the speedometer wasn't working but as we continued to drive it magically fixed itself and began to work. Are you believing yet???
We had brats and fresh vegetables for dinner and sat outside for a long time. Another great day!!