Samantha juggling her stuffed animals
Unfortunately due to the heat, poor Heather got heat exhaustion and was pretty dehydrated. We had to cross six lanes of traffic to get to the Bob Evans across the street from our hotel. We ran. Dante, our server, was wonderful. He brought us a pitcher of water and kept it coming. He let us buy a whole pie for dessert (instead of individual pieces which would have been really pricey) and gave us the pie cutter and lifter too! He made Heather laugh, which was a good thing, considering how yucky she felt. We ran across the six lanes again and rested well that night.
Monday morning, we crossed the six lanes yet again to have breakfast. While at breakfast I got the call about the van: spark had blown through the cylinder and the coil might be damaged as well. The van probably wouldn't be fixed until Tuesday afternoon. So Mrs. Tollmann and I considered our options: rent a car and drive back, rent a small car and send her, Heather and Samantha back, or stay put and wait for the van. We decided to stay put.
Mrs. Tollmann contacted the Crown Plaza hotel, which was on the same side of the highway as Bob Evans and had a pool. She sweet talked them into giving us one room with a king sized bed, fold out couch and roll-away bed for less than we were spending at the Red Roof Inn for two rooms and no pool. We crossed the highway for the last time with all of our stuff.
The night before I had remembered that I knew someone who lived in Cincinnati. A member of Homeschooling A Houseful that we had met ten years earlier on a family road trip to Kansas. I had Sam contact her through facebook telling her of our situation. Marla contacted me and she arranged to bring us pizza on Monday afternoon. Mrs. Tollmann watched all the kids as they swam in the pool, while Marla took me to an amazing bagel shop to buy Tuesday morning's breakfast.
This is only about 1/3 of the bagels that were there!
Tuesday morning Sam called the repair shop to check on the status of the van. They informed him that it would be ready within the hour!!! We quickly finished our bagel breakfast and packed up the room. True to their word the shop sent someone to pick us up and bring us back to the repair shop. The bill wasn't too bad and certainly they could have really charged us, but they didn't take advantage of the situation. Turned out our mechanic was a christian!
We were back on the road before 1PM! We decided that at the next state rest stop we would clean the van out. Before abandoning the van on Sunday, we had condensed all the coolers into one, and in the process of packing a change of clothes for everyone into one suitcase, the van looked like a disaster. At the rest stop we parked close to the trees figuring we would be dumping rotten food from the cooler into them. When we opened the cooler, everything was still super cold! Amazing after three days of 100 degree weather!
We drove straight home with minimal stops for bathrooms and gas. We arrived back in Connecticut around midnight. We are just so grateful that God kept us safe and provided for all we needed on our trip. Romans 8:28