Last Wednesday my father, Lt. Col. Thorsen, had his retirement ceremony. I cried, Marissa cried, Dad cried. Brianna looked over at me, shook her head and whispered, “I can’t take you anywhere.”
We said our goodbyes to the Coxes. That was hard for all of us. We all promised to see each other soon. I said goodbye to my friend Andrew.
On Thursday afternoon we left. After about an hour of driving in my little Honda Civic, the air-conditioning shut off abruptly and my thermostat went into the red. This was the beginning of the longest drive known to man. Bagheera (that’s what I call my Honda Civic) kept overheating and we had to continually stop to allow it to cool down. I stopped driving after a bit, because I was so exhausted and Brianna took over.
We stopped at a restaurant where we each got a different type of food. I got American, Brianna got Italian, Marissa got Mexican, Grace got French, and Mom got Greek food. We met a little old man who ran an antique shop who told us about the only humpback bridge in existence in the country. We had countless people come up and offer solutions or solace, or simply to compliment our beautiful dog. There were small blessings as we went along and we tried not to let the grind of stopping every 40 minutes or so get us down.
Brianna had to be at the airport early on Friday morning, but at the rate we were going it would take us a week to get to Ohio. So Mom dropped us off at a hotel in Beckley, WV, which was approximately halfway to our destination, and drove Bree to the Dayton airport, getting the name of the mechanic for me so we could go in the morning.
We slept well and even got a little laundry done. We all showered, relaxed a little, and tried not to worry about how we were going to get home.
When morning came we cleared out the hotel room in record time, grabbed some bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits from McDonald’s and made our way over to the mechanic. We were so excited because the problem would be fixed and we’d be on our way. Woo!
The mechanic determined that we needed a coolant flush and because we had our own gallon of coolant it didn’t cost as much as it would have. After maybe an hour we were on the road again and happy as clams.
An hour and a half after that we hit Charleston and my car started overheating again. It took us seven hours to get from Beckley to the Jamestown area. But I hit my breaking point before that. We had stopped twice on the side of the road and both times a state trooper stopped to make sure we were all right. The second time I was on the verge of a breakdown when a lovely bird flew overhead and pooped on the car about three inches from my face. That was it.
“We are literally getting shit on!” I screamed and Marissa started hysterically laughing. Grace had been quiet for the entire trip and remained so. I called Mom, who had frequently asked if we needed her to come get us, and told her I was done and that I didn’t want to do it anymore. She laughed and said she was on her way. She ended up driving Bagheera to the Walmart parking lot where we left it and we all made it home. Finally.
Alas, the journey wasn’t over. The next morning we had to take the car to the mechanic. We were up at an early hour and Mom once again drove my car and I followed in the truck. We got to Murphy’s and it took them several days to diagnose the problem. It’s the radiator.
And that is our epic adventure.