But now prepare yourself for the story of why I will probably never own any other vehicle besides a Ford.
Warning: this story is long and contains excessive amounts of words in all caps.
Last Thursday morning, we (my mom, dad and i) left Illinois with one Aerostar with seats removed and packed to the extreme and one Focus wagon packed to a moderate amount. The plan was to drive all 12 hours to Rochester that very day, stay overnight in Rochester and then move me in Friday morning and head out to Boonville/Steuben/wherever that afternoon once we’d finished.
It was a good day for driving. Nice weather. We’d been sailing smoothly for about 9 hours, trading off with driving here and there as there were three of us and two cars. Additionally, my car was feeling pretty awesome after an expensive trip to the dealer to have new breaks, struts, and some spring under the front of the car put in. We’d just driven through some pretty bad Cleveland rush-hour traffic and made it to the slightly less crazy side of Cleveland. My mom was driving, for whatever reason, and we were following my dad in the Aerostar. All of a sudden my mom says “something’s wrong!” I go, “with my car?” She says, “Yes! I’m not getting any power. Call dad!” So I call dad, and tell him the car isn’t getting any power and we’re pulling over and he says he’ll get off at the next exit and double back to find us.
My mom pulls over, right before an entrance ramp to the interstate. The car officially dies. My mom tries restarting it and every time it starts but dies immediately. My dad apparently exits the interstate and drives back towards us on the service-road, where he leaves the Aerostar with its blinkers on and then walks to meet us on the side of the interstate. He tries starting the car a couple times only to not, and then calls AARP (p.s. I am covered by the AARP and thus am covered for towing up to 100 miles). The AARP says they’ll have a tow truck come for us in less than 52 minutes and they’ll call us to be sure.
In the meantime my Dad calls a bunch of people, such as our hotel, and Heller Ford back at home because they know us on a more friendly basis (though actually they probably also know us on the basis of “your used car has ANOTHER weird problem?”) to try and ask if they can look up the nearest Ford dealer. I sort of laugh, like “ha ha! we are such a family of car foibles!” and call a couple friends to be like “ha ha! guess what?! i’m stranded on the side of the road with my parents outside of CLEVELAND! Isn’t it HILARIOUS?!”
I was actually probably trying to ward off frustration with being thwarted from moving to Rochester and also the fact that my car was clearly trying to tell me something. Something like “I’ve been taking diligent notes on all the other used cars in your family and we are going to have so much FUN together now that I’m right at 60,000 miles!” My parents on the other hand basically thought this entire occurrence of car-deadness was a good laugh, and an adventure. I guess this was comforting for me in some way. The fact that something so much worse could have happened. Also the fact that they’ve dealt with so many stupid car occurrences throughout the years that one more is not a surprise, but also clearly inevitable (it’s funny to me that packing and moving one of their kids makes my parents understandably stressed and frustrated, and yet a car set-back while in the process of moving is a laughable thing). My mom spent a good 15 minutes telling me some other great car stories, and it actually helped to calm my inner woes.
So we wait for our tow-truck, the driver of which calls us a couple times through the next 52 minutes to try and figure out our exact location. My Dad A highway patrol-man also pulls over to check and see if we’re okay, the Cleveland police, and some guy in a truck who just wants to see if we’re okay. My Dad thanks him but informs him the tow-truck is on its way, and then laughs and asks if he knows where the nearest Ford dealer is. Then the guy pulls out his FORD MOTORS BUSINESS CARD, hands it to my Dad and says “Why yes! I actually work for Ford!” Ha freaking ha, right? But then the tow-truck pulls up and the guy knows right where the nearest dealer is anyway.
And this is a funny story. Because there are no seats in the Aerostar except for the front two, but there are three of us, but we need to follow the tow-truck kind of right then. So we all run to the van, climb in, with my Mom and I SHARING THE PASSENGER SEAT, seatbelt and all, and it’s probably all kinds of illegal but we manage to get there. I just wish I could have gotten a photo of this part.
We show up at the Ford dealer, and it’s just after 7pm so we figure they’re going to be closed. But no! No! They’re open until 8pm! My Dad talks to a service person, telling him what the car was doing and saying he suspects it’s the fuel filter or pump. The really awesome service guy says that if it’s either of those things they’ll have to order a part that probably won’t be in until Monday. Which spells “failure” for moving and my parents ever getting back to Illinois. Until they basically offer us one of their dealer cars for us to use and return on Monday when we come to retrieve my car. SAVED!!
The Focus is emptied out in the parking lot so we can transfer everything into the loaner car (a Ford Fusion, which is freaking gigantic for a sedan, as it easily fits all the stuff that was in a Focus station-wagon). In the meantime, 8pm rolls around and the dealer closes its garage door. Some dark, nasty storm-clouds with occasional zaps of lightning are rolling off of the lake, headed right towards us. And it turns into a race to load the car with all the crap, especially as my mom is choosing this moment to be OCD and extremely meticulous about the whole ordeal of loading the car. It actually reminded me of that part in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe in which the Pevense’s were in the home of the beavers and have just discovered the White Witch is probably coming after them and Mrs. Beaver is running around grabbing random things and asking “do you think it’s possible to take the sewing machine?” and everyone else is like “omgwtf can we please leave?!” It wouldn’t be a huge deal but there are things like musical instruments and a PRINTER sitting out in this parking lot. But we manage everything and climb into our respective vehicles right as the rain and hail begins. Hooray.
Everything else goes fairly according to plan. We end up staying overnight just on the border of PA and NY and getting to Rochester around 10am and unloading and then driving further east and eating lots and lots of food for the next two days, with a little bit of rainy weather on the side. Word also came through that the problem with the car was in fact the fuel pump.
Monday we ended up back in Cleveland by 11, where I retrieved my car, which they had actually WASHED in addition to replacing the fuel pump. What service. And the whole repair only cost $660. Yeehaw.
And so concludes the story of why I will only ever own a Ford. Because when those foreign cars break down in the middle of nowhere as they so often like to do in our family? Or even when they break down in town, those foreign parts and their labor charges. Bad bad news. Good service is also nice.