Another Rocky Start!!

Boy, do I have a lot to catch everyone up on…We made it home after another 40 hour trek with a week’s stay in Minnesota. It was fairly uneventful considering, well, that it’s us;). We spent a lovely month between home and the cabin and had some great visits but it’s time to get back to Adventuring.

The View From Hinton Nordic Centre

Our trip down to Houston did have some purpose, you know, besides finding nice sunny weather;). Nick wants to open a shop there and we did manage to find a space in an area called ‘The Woodlands’ and we get possession in September, it’s very exciting. In addition to the shop, we have found a condo in the area to stay in when we are down there. It’s basically the same as RV living if you think about it and we are pretty decent at that;) We are excited to stay in an area where we can walk everywhere. The dogs get a lot more exercise when we don’t have a yard and there’s also an off leash area at the condo which will be great. Our doggos are getting older now and are very content to find some cold tile to lay on with A/C blasting at them.

We had some decisions to make when we arrived home, like should we keep our ‘trailer house’ considering the next time we head down to Houston we will be staying in a condo? Turns out, the RV market right now is on FIRE and it was a very attractive time to sell. A few things we considered before we went ahead and listed it:

  • It was still in great condition but was starting to show some signs of wear
  • We have owned our 5th wheel for 3 years and travelled over 40,000 km’s
  • We plan on travelling between Canada, Houston and Australia so it would likely be at least 2 years before we took it out on a serious road trip again
  • We really didn’t want it to sit for that long without use

All of this inspired us to unload, clean and make repairs on the ‘ol girl. Thanks to our friends company, for coming out and helping with the improvements needed and the advice to sell privately!! We ended up selling ‘Blaze’ – The kids named her;), in a day and with that a lovely era for our family came to an end.

MOVING ON – Now what?? Nick has been eyeing up his ideal ‘Soccer Dad’ Wagon for some time and it was now or never to pull the trigger. Our new road trip wagon is a 2021 GMC Yukon XL with a 3 Litre diesel engine. Let me tell you, Nick’s eyes light up when he talks about fuel economy!! I actually get a little jealous, haha. We have been super excited to get it on the road, it’s a serious school bus with plenty of room for the dogs and ALL of our luggage. We have spent some hours getting it ready for the 80 hour return drive – Nick installed a booster because the cell service in the States is challenging. I bought luggage that fits perfectly on the floor in front of the kids seats, filled the car with all sorts of wipes and holders to make our lives easier BUT you know what, you can plan all you want but at the end of the day, you have absolutely NO control – I’m 40 this year guys and I still struggle with control, hehe

The new ‘Whip’

So get this!!! We load up and hit the road and it’s great, like really great. Everyone is really comfortable and happy… much room. You can even tell that the dogs LOVE it. We cross the border with such ease that it surprises us and its extra great because we are way ahead of schedule. We are in Montana and it starts to happen, a little shudder here, a little shudder there….it’s like the engine is misfiring. Just a few times, I didn’t even notice and then it gets substantially worse!!! Nick has to restart the engine while we coast in Neutral several times to limp it to the next town. We made it to Conrad, Montana. Go ahead and give it a Google. What you’ll notice is that it’s in the middle of absolute nowhere and has only 1 hotel, which is FULL, and the entire state of Montana is fresh out of rental cars. It’s a super hot and dusty day, we make it to the GMC dealership and the news is NOT great!! They were so busy they weren’t even going to look at it for a week until they noticed the kids and dogs.

Small town dealerships are the BEST and we are so thankful for the people that were so kind to us and went the extra mile to help. They hooked us up to the computer and basically there was no obvious answer but a little more investigating led them to believe the problem had something to do with our Transmission Control Module and it’s looking like it could be at least 3 weeks before it would be fixed!!!! As the mechanic is speaking, I’m having an out of body experience!! You mean to tell me that our BRAND NEW vehicle that has less than 3000 km’s on it is totally useless and will now barely make it around the corner into the shop? While the mechanic was investigating further, I was trying to keep the kids entertained, the dogs cool enough and tamp down my panic attack. It’s the weirdest feeling to feel completely stranded with your entire family and no place to stay and all of your stuff sitting in a dusty parking lot, talk about vulnerable. Guys, seriously, remember Gunner shit on our bed, day 1 of our last trip – I handled it, I was WAY more cool about it than I should have been…..let me tell you…our new challenge almost broke me!!

I went from, ‘it’s cool’, to crying mess, to angry, back to ‘holy shit, holy shit’ meanwhile Nick is ever the problem solver and he had engaged that talent and put it into high gear!! Long Story Short – as I’m trying not to lose my shit, Nick is test driving every used vehicle on the lot and is getting down to business with the used car salesman. Let’s just say he kicked a lot of tires and wielded a lot of deals!!! haha. We ended up buying a used Honda Pilot (basically the only one that would house all of us and make it the distance) and hit the road!! We are crammed in here like sardines, not an inch to spare. The dogs have a decent amount of space and our main suitcase, which happens to be solid plastic and happens to have a seal (like, what are the odds?) rests directly on the roof where it is stylishly ratchet strapped down . As we said goodbye to our beautiful soccer wagon and climbed into our new ride that smells slightly of urine, I looked back and asked the kids what they thought? – ‘Mom, we love it!! It’s so great’. Kids are so resilient!!!! We are 12 hours away from our destination now and to be honest, looks like I might be too. (We ALL know Nick is, Look who he’s married to;);)

Oh, and by the way, one of the dogs decided to puke in the new car about an hour down the road. It was icing on the cake;)

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