When we last left off, we had finally left Mobile, Alabama and started our trek across 1800 miles. We were also doing this on the busiest travel days of the year – Memorial Day weekend. Chris already had the holiday off, and we were going to try to make the trip in three days so he could be at work on Tuesday. It would be a long and exhausting trip, but we felt this was the best option for our family. So, off we set with our vehicles pulling our cargo trailers. Have I mentioned this was the first time I had ever pulled a trailer? Ever. I was terrified! After the first few miles, it wasn’t as scary, but at first – wow, was I nervous! (I’m also not in any hurry to pull another trailer!)
We left later than we had originally hoped, but were just happy to get on the road and put some miles behind us. It meant the next two days would be even longer driving days, but it was still manageable. Sunday, May 29, we woke up early and hit the road again. We were driving out of Shreveport, Louisiana when we hit our first bump in the road. The pick up truck that Chris was driving made a loud bang-pop, like it backfired, and lost all power. It started back up, but then again, did the same thing. We pulled off the highway into an abandoned gas station and evaluated the situation. Car trouble on a Sunday morning in an unfamiliar area isn’t ideal, to say the least! Chris looked up nearby mechanics and by pure chance, a mechanic that had stopped by his shop to pick up a birthday card answered his phone! He was just a couple miles away and would wait for us and look at the truck. Chris could see by looking underneath that there was a sizable hole in the muffler. We wanted to get it checked out. We drove our now SUPER noisy truck over to the shop.
John, the mechanic, let the kids and I into his private lounge to wait while the truck was evaluated. We were surrounded by the most beautiful paintings! John is a self taught artist that just started painting a few years ago. He creates the most amazing portraits and paints historical scenes from photos. John and Chris looked at the truck. The catalytic converter had failed and pieces of it went into the muffler and caused the muffler to clog up. The resulting pressure caused the muffler to explode. They removed the debris they could see, and John assured us that while the truck would be loud, there was nothing that would cause more issue and we could fix the exhaust system in Utah. This generous mechanic didn’t even want to charge us for his services! We gave him a “tip” instead since he wouldn’t charge us, and I gave him a huge hug! We were back on the road afterwards and we headed into the long drive across Texas. We didn’t have any other issues from the muffler the rest of the day.
Monday morning, we again hit the road, ready to get to our new home in Utah. It was going to be a super long day, and we were exhausted but excited to be in the final stretch! We drove part of the day on Historic Route 66. It was so fun to stop at this little gas station and fuel up. The quaint shack store had the tiniest post office I’ve ever seen and the gas pumps were the old rolling number dials. Shortly after filling up here, we hit our next road block.
Yes, that’s us on the side of a busy highway in New Mexico. The truck lost power and wouldn’t stay running. Chris very carefully went into the back of one of the trailers and removed some tools. He thought it was the muffler still causing issue. Maybe it had gotten blocked up again and needed ventilation. He drilled several holes in the muffler and pipe trying to make it better. We went a bit further, and same issue – no power, truck died. We limped it along very slowly to a rest area. His cordless drill was dead, so we hung out at the rest stop a few hours while it charged ever so slowly on a power inverter in the car. After making his muffler and manifold look like Swiss cheese, we started out again. Knowing it was unlikely we would be making it all the way to Utah by the end of the day. A mile or two from the rest stop, the truck died again. We had no idea what was wrong. We called a tow truck to come rescue Chris, and the kids and I headed up the road to a gas station and restaurant to wait.
We had the truck towed to a service place. The mechanic evaluated it and said it was a faulty fuel pump. He had no time to repair it that day, since it was so late, but could do it the next day and be done by close of business.
Here’s where my memory of the events get a bit fuzzy. I was so stressed out (as I’m know my husband was, too!) and I was so tired and sore from moving and driving. We stayed overnight in a hotel nearby and we agreed that I would head out the next day and continue to Utah while Chris remained behind with the truck and would see us the next day. Ultimately here’s what happened: I left with three of the kids, one stayed with Chris. I made it to our new home around midnight on May 31. The mechanic that was originally going to fix the truck couldn’t do it for some reason, and sent the truck to a different shop who fixed the fuel pump. A few miles up the road after the repair, the truck died again and had to be towed back to the shop. It was then determined that the distributor cap was bad and that could be fixed the next day. Chris finally got to our new home late June 2. The details of the last bit of the trip are blurry, but I was just so happy to have my husband and son back with us safely.
We were finally all together and ready to start the next chapter of our lives in Utah. Chris had found a home for us nestled at the base of one of the prettiest mountains in the valley, Mount Timpanogos. We have beautiful mountain views all around us and it never gets tiring to see them. I’m constantly taking photos of the mountains! We are in the city of Pleasant Grove and it’s perfect for our family. It’s got a very “small town” feel but is close to everything you’d need. The kids have now started school and are making new friends every day. We are very happy to be settling in and making a home here in Utah Valley.
Isn’t that view stunning?! I seriously have a mountain photo taking addiction. And yes, that’s snow on the mountain this past June! The snow is gone right now, but the temperatures are starting to fall already and it’s cooling off. There should be snow up there again, soon! I’m so excited to have an autumn season with leaves that change color and a winter with snow! It’s been quite a journey to make the move but we’re so happy to be here now.