“The Road So Far…”
Starting in Fairbanks, AK, we’d blazed through the bear-infested Yukon and scenic British Columbia to pit-stop in Bellingham, WA, after which we tore east until the transmission went out in Wall, SD.
Alaska to Florida Adventure: Days 10.5 – 14
The tow truck dropped us and our crippled chariot off at the Liberty Chrysler Jeep Volkswagen dealership in Rapid City (for them to tell us how bad it really was. Just tell us! We can take it!). It was cool, though. The gentleman assisting us researched hotels, made calls, and then roped a driver to shuttle us to the nearby Holiday Inn (and to Target – supply run).
The Holiday Inn (Rushmore Plaza) cost a pretty penny because it was connected to the Convention Center but, with limited options due to availability (and pets), we went with it.
Neither of us had seen the movies or read the books but they were on TV every night (and in order!). They served as our feature picture (series?) in the evenings (it was fun looking forward to each sequel).
Sorry, You Can’t Stay. Why? The Track Meet.
We stayed a of couple nights while we and everyone we knew debated how to deal with repairs and such (so many parties and factors involved). Meanwhile, we also enjoyed boredom, fancy room service and relentless construction in the hallway until we were told our room was already reserved through the weekend and they had no vacancies. Apparently the high school state track meet of South Dakota was being held in Rapid City that weekend (who knew?).
We found a Howard Johnson literally around the corner and the dealership driver took us over. They had maybe one or two rooms left. It was close. (We happily continued our nightly movie-a-thon; we highly recommend that place. Mini story: Megan really wanted comfort noodles, the front desk lady happened to be ordering herself Chinese for lunch so she ordered some for Megan, too).
Megan’s family did the money math and our options were ugly: (1) get the transmission fixed and drive with our fingers crossed, hoping that nothing else erupts along the way, (2) ship the car and finish the trip in a rental, (3) rent something and tow the unfixed Jeep ourselves.
It was getting complicated so when the option came up to get a Uhaul with a trailer, I totally volunteered (I’ve pulled a trailer, I’d do it. I’ve never towed anything that far but you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do, right? Megan ‘d never towed anything period and I think the idea of pulling a whole other car scared her a little).
The New Chariot
Having a plan felt good. That night we reserved the Uhaul and appropriate towing equipment (complements of her amazing sister and brother-in-law who covered the cost). The next day we picked it up, the awesome dealership guys loaded the Jeep onto the auto trailer for us, Megan started our adventure music (FTIsland’s I WILL album) and we filled our sails.
We made Sioux Falls by nightfall (still in South Dakota?! We just wanted to get out of South Dakota! By the way, Bobby Singer’s salvage yard isn’t really there, we checked). But that just meant the next morning would be extra special.
The moment we hit Iowa (and finally pried ourselves free of SD), Megan happily sent out a mass text announcing we were officially on our way.
Next in the Alaska to Florida Adventure: Storm Dodging
[Did you wanna read the AK to FL mayhem from the beginning? Start here: Road Trip Manifesto: Go Big or Don’t Go.]