Stranded in Flagstaff, Arizona

Clunk, gurgle, gurgle.. “Is that our car?” “No that’s not good ol’ Zippy, she’s a champ!” Clunk, gurgle, gurgle.. (A bit louder this time) “Uhh.. yep, that’s definitely our car!” “We’re almost to Jiffy Lube, we can make it!” Gurgle, gurgle, no power.. “I think we can roll down to that gas station.”

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She bled out all over the parking lot!!!

And there you have it.. Zippy put up a good fight.. but needed some work!!

Now let’s set this straight.. Zippy has had some minor problems this whole trip.. minor oil leaks.. a check engine light that read as an EGR code.. nothing big. Then two days before getting to Flagstaff, we had to replace all four tires. {Praise the Lord we noticed the tire that you could see the wire through before we had a major blow out!} Again, an expense we weren’t hoping to pay, but nothing too big.

We rolled into the gas station as far as we could, pushed Zippy to a parking spot, and popped the hood. She had oil, liquids in all the right places, had all the belts she was supposed to have.. everything was right, but clearly oh so wrong. We called my dad, and told him what happened and he immediately thought it was the water pump.. The question was where was all the liquid going—everything was full! He told us to check the radiator.. and there you have it.. nothing.. no antifreeze.. not even a drop. (Now keep in mind.. the overflow was right where it should have been with the antifreeze, so something wasn’t pumping right) Praise the Lord we had antifreeze in the trunk, so we got it out, filled the radiator up and BAM… the second we poured it in, it flowed right back out underneath the car.. like a waterfall at first, then quick droplets after.

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There she is, getting all fixed and stuff.

A man at the gas station pulled up next to us and asked us if we needed help. We explained the situation; he asked if it gurgled before shutting down, we said yes, and he also immediately said it must be the water pump. We looked in our Camry book to see if this was something we could fix ourselves, quickly noticed it wasn’t, so we got on the phone and called our insurance to get someone to tow us to an auto shop.

{Side not again.. Praise the Lord here too.. Not even two weeks before this happened, we bought road side assistance through our insurance for $10.00 for the whole year. With that we got free towing.. so instead of paying the $75.00 in towing fees insurance covered it! Yahoo!!}

We got to Heath’s Auto Service and gave them the run down of what happened before Zippy completely shut off and they got right to work with trying to solve the problem. We hung out in the lobby for a while, reading and blogging, waiting for the official report of what was wrong and what kind of money we were looking at. They pulled us to the back, showed us what was going on with Zippy’s underside, and then hit us with the numbers.

$1,397.69

Now doesn’t that number make you just grab your wallet tightly! We had to bite the bullet on this one. There was no way around it. Good news is we are still in the promotional phase of our travel credit card so we got extra points per dollar spent! Bring on the rewards!!

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Sad because zippy was broken-down along with a huge dent in our pocketbook…

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…but happy it happened in a large city and help was so readily available! 🙂

The parts for Zippy had to be shipped here and wouldn’t be here till the next day. Seeing how it was only noon at this point, and Zippy wasn’t going to be ready until 6:00 the next evening, we started searching for a hotel for the evening. We were “treating ourselves” right? We found a great deal on a hotel that had a hot tub and pool so we booked it. The room was $70.00 for a room with breakfast, high speed internet, a pool, and a hot tub. Up until this point, for the entire time we have been on the road we have only paid $80.00 in accommodations. Which means this motel cost us $10 less than what we have paid for accommodations the whole last six and a half weeks! Again, biting the bullet. {We will post in a few weeks all about the budget, cost of this trip, and how we have spent so little up to this point}

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Looks are sometimes deceiving…

We got to the oh so classy Super 8, and the room looked great from the doorway. It had beautiful bed, a nice kitchen area with a fridge and microwave, a lovely place to spend the next 24 hours. Or so we thought.

We looked closer at the bed, and there were dirt marks all over the comforter- simple fix- just pull the comforter off.

A couple of the towels were not clean – simple fix- use the towels that were clean.. or at least looked clean.

We went to get in the super nice hot tub from the pictures, just to find out it was dirty… with dirt all over the ground in it and the pool… well who knows what was on the ground in that thing.. you couldn’t even see through the water – simple fix- don’t get in the pool.. and enjoy the hot tub because it’s cleaner than what we have been showering in on our trip anyways.

Got on the internet to update the blog, and it didn’t work –simple fix- tell the receptionist and they reset the internet.

Tried to get back on the internet again that night. It didn’t work again. – simple fix – tell the receptionist again. Oh but this time they said it wasn’t going fast because they were completely booked. Wait a second.. completely booked?? There aren’t many cars in the parking lot! We had a feeling they weren’t telling the truth, so we called from our phone to see if they had any rooms available and, “Oh yes, we have plenty of rooms available, with high speed internet!!” I nearly laughed in the phone, but simply said, thank you and hung up.

The five-star breakfast consisted of yogurt, toast with no toppings, cereal with no milk, and a pancake machine with no batter. – simple fix- ask for toppings, milk and batter.

The ice machine… yeah didn’t spit out the ice, and the top was completely off so what ice was in there was getting covered by the dirty air from the air conditioner above it –simple fix- go to Starbucks and ask them to fill your water bottle with water and ice.

I think you get the point.. we weren’t too fond of the Super 8. Check out was at noon, so we checked out and walked next door to Barnes and Noble where we spent the next five and a half hours researching things about Peru, doing a few more application things for school in Scotland, and reading all about Scotland in traveling books.

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Where we spent a lot of time doing research and applications.

We got a call just before five saying they just got the last part for the car and were putting it all back together. We were both pretty hungry so we walked to Safeway bought two bagels from the bakery, and had a little snack. We then got a call at 5:50 saying Zippy was not going to be ready, that they would need to finish her up in the morning.

WHAT??!! How is this possible?! We knew we couldn’t afford to stay in a hotel another night. We had just spend nearly $2,000.00 in the last few days that we weren’t expecting to spend. So we had to look at our other options. We called my dad, who called my uncle, who new someone in Flagstaff that we could possibly stay with for the night. Since we didn’t know if it would work out or not, we got our sleeping bag and tent from our car and prepared to be true homeless people for the night. We found an abandoned building and were prepared to lay out our sleeping bags and sleep on the side of it for the night, when the phone rang.

It was Tracy- my uncle’s friend’s friend that lived down here. So to explain it in maybe simpler terms.. My dad called my uncle, who called his friend, who called her friends down in Flagstaff, who then called us and invited us over for dinner and then offered their couches for us to sleep on.

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Some super comfy couches!

While talking with Tracy, we found out that we were literally down the road from her house. It would be a 16-minute walk to her place, literally up the road that was right in front of us. Tracy insisted to come pick us up, so we met at a gas station, hopped in the car, and went to her place. Talk about a blessing! These people that had no idea who we were, or even who our uncle was, just freely opened up their house for us to stay in for the night, and fed us with some amazing homemade chili!

We sat and chatted for quite some time about what we were doing on the road, and experiences they had while breaking down on a road trip as well. We were like long time friends, who literally met only 20-minutes prior to sitting down for dinner together. Once it started getting late, we made our way downstairs and fell asleep on a couple of extremely comfortable couches.

We woke up the next morning, had breakfast, and Tracy dropped us off at Barnes and Noble where we were planning on spending the day until Zippy was ready. Barnes and Noble didn’t open up until 9:00 so we walked the mile back to the car place and figured we would just hang out there until Zippy was ready. Keep in mind, Jason had a backpacking backpack on, and I had two backpacks on, one in the front and one on my back.. we looked really homeless and totally were getting eyed while walking by a school, and through a school bus line. Once we made it to Heath’s Auto Service, we hung out until Zippy was ready then we hit the road.

**In the midst of the bad, there is always good**

-Zippy broke down in a major city… There aren’t very many of those where we are in Arizona, so Praise the Lord for that!

-We had just got the road side assistance with towing, so we didn’t have to pay for towing.. Praise the Lord again!

-Heath’s Auto Service was only a mile from our hotel, and less than a mile from Tracy and Glenn’s house.. Praise the Lord for the close proximity to everything.

-Although Zippy took an extra day to fix, no extra money had to be paid than what was originally quoted.. Again, Praise the Lord!!

-Tracy and Glenn opened their house to two complete strangers, so we didn’t have to sleep on the streets and we had an amazing home cooked meal, and met one amazing family.. Praise the Lord for provided such a welcoming family for us to stay with.

– Zippy was done by 9:30 on Wednesday so we were still able to go to the Grand Canyon.. Praise the Lord for His perfect timing.

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May possibly be going to school here…

-The town we broke down in is a place where if Jason get’s into school in Scotland for his master’s their doctoral bridging program is offered at one school in the United States, which just so happens to be here in Flagstaff. So we were able to tour the school and meet a professor in the PT program. Praise the Lord that He totally worked it out so we were able to see the school Jason could potentially be going to.

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