We traded in the rainbow truck for a 15 passenger van. Actually the mechanic bought the truck and we found the van on Craigslist for hardly more than we got for the truck. It has a big engine and can tow the water trailer and the horse trailer. Plus, we can all ride in it, with room to spare. It just needs a hitch.
|The "new" van.|
The van is in pretty decent condition. It used to be used by the town and then a local school district. The man we bought it from got it at auction. Unfortunately it got vandalized while it was sitting at the auction lot. One of the big side windows got broken out and all of the rear lights were removed...wires cut and the whole housing taken. Weird.
|Lots of room in this van.|
So we vacuumed out the glass and put plastic on the window and ordered the rear tail lights, which would take a day to come in. The manager at the auto parts store said a receipt would be enough if we got pulled over. What? A receipt in lieu of lights?
We picked up the van on Wednesday and lucky for me it was plenty big enough to hold my art piece, which I had to take to the gallery in town, for the show that opens on Saturday. We layed the piece on top of the back three rows of seats and still had enough room for all of us in the van. It was a little rough rolling along the dirt road out to the highway and I had to hold my art piece up off the seats to some degree. I was afraid it was going to shake apart on the washboard road. But we made it.
|Art in the van|
First stop: pick up and install the tail lights before we try to drive through town traffic to the gallery. Done. But then, the van won't start at the auto parts store. Why? We bought and installed a new battery when we picked up the van. Okay, time is running short. Have to get the art to the gallery. The clerk jumps the van and we are off, taking back roads and trying to keep the van from stalling out (the idol is a little rough).
We make it to the gallery and deliver the art without too much trouble. I worry about the van starting and ask Richard if it is a good idea to turn off the van? He isn't worried. But what choice do we have anyway? It takes both of us to carry the ginormous art piece into the gallery. Why do I make such monstrosities, I wonder, as I see other artists carrying their artwork in one hand?
|Stables Gallery, Taos NM.|
Excited to see the art show taking form. Pick up some postcards to hand out and keep for my scrapbook.
Oh, now it's time to leave, and guess what...the van won't start. Are we surprised? Not entirely.
So I go back into the gallery and ask all of the people I don't know if anyone can jump the van. The wonderful lady putting on the show has cables and we push the van out so she can get her truck next to the battery. But that doesn't work. She tells us it is a strange day for cars at the gallery. Ours is the third that has had issues.
Now the battery cable clamp has broken and some other men/artists are trying to help Richard put a makeshift clamp on the terminal. That doesn't work either. So we push the van into a parking space...it was in a fire parking zone or something, and I take the kids to the park while Richard runs off to the auto parts store for a new terminal clamp.
After a couple more hours and another trip to the auto parts store, Richard calls the insurance company for a tow/jump. Wonderful. The tow truck driver jumps the van and tells us the alternator belt is no good. So, off we go to the auto parts store again where they test the alternator, we buy a new belt and they tell us the starter is going bad. Great. We do not turn the van off again.
Eventually, the adventure is over and we make it back home with the traitorous van. All the people are in one piece, but nerves are frayed and moods are cranky. (Big sigh.)
There is something to be said for not having a car payment, but sometimes I wonder if it is worth the hassle. At least most (not all) new cars are fairly reliable and under warranty. Too bad we can't buy a new car with cash.
Needless to say, we will take our reliable Kia (which still has a warranty and still has payments) into town for the art opening Saturday.