We asked some of the people at the shelter if they knew of a oil change place and they directed us to a place a few exits down the interstate. At this point, we were to worn out that all we wanted to do was get on the road and get as far as possible before we crashed. But we knew we needed to get the van checked. We made it to a place called Sullivan Tires and informed them of our problem. We walked down the road to a breakfast place to eat while they checked out the van. I couldn't shake the bad feeling I had in my stomach. Once we got to the diner and ordered I just lost it. Brittany was being so calm and just asked what I was so worried about but every time I tried to talk I would cry (exhaustion does not help with emotions). So I had to excuse myself and step outside and take a few breaths. Once I got back, Brittany said to let her know when I felt better so she could have her breakdown. What a great sister! Unfortunately for her, I continued on with my meltdown for the next 3 hours so she never got her turn.
When we got back to Sullivan Tires they still had to finished with the van. They kept rising it up and down and up and down and I could see people under it knocking on things. Then they would take it for a test drive, come back and load it back on the lift. This went on for three plus hours. Not a good sign (which is why my breakdown continued). I just kept envisioning us stuck in New Hampshire forever and I had used my last vacation day to leave on Friday.
We finally found out that there was a bearing in the drive shaft that was bad. They informed us that this bearing would need to come from a dealership and so they called the closest dealer and found out it would have to be ordered and would not come in before Tuesday. Great. So, I start asking questions. I cornered the actual mechanic who had been avoiding the smelly girls from Alabama having the panic attacks in the lobby. I asked him what he thought our odds were of making it 1200 miles on the bad bearing. He said they were pretty good. I then asked if it did fail if it would cause further damage to the van. He said no. I then asked if it was a safety concern and he said no. He said that if the noise got worse or we felt a vibration in the floor then we would need to pull over and 'seek assistance'. That was all I needed to hear, I just wanted to start heading south while I had at least a few hours of consciousness left. We called our contact at the Shelby County Shelter, Sara, and informed her of our situation. She was very calm and told us to get on the road but that she was going to call the dealership where they had bought the van to get a second opinion on if it was safe for us to drive.
I drove for about 45 minutes until I hit my breaking point and had to pull over and switch with Brittany. We had both attempted to sleep at points along the trip but neither one of us were successful so at this point we were at about 28 hours without sleep. By this time in the day, our original plan would have had us almost to New York City. But instead we were still in New Hampshire. When we got about an hour down the road Sara called us back and very calmly told us that she had spoken to the dealer and he had informed her that we should not be driving the van and that we should get it to a dealer as soon as possible. This was not what we wanted to hear. We pulled over in Auburn, Massachusetts and sat in a bank parking lot while we tried to figure out what to do. There was a lot of calling back and forth to Sara and we finally found a map in the van and I just had her calling out cities in Mass and Connecticut that had dealer and I would try to find them on the map and see how close they were. The plan was to drop the van at a dealer and then rent a car to drive back. We finally settled on Bristol, Connecticut. Sara called them and spoke to Norman the service manager. Sara then called me and ask that I call to get Norman to get directions. While talking to him I asked if he could suggest a place for us to rent a car. Norman then informed me that all the car renters in Bristol close after noon on Saturdays and would not be open on Sunday either. Not good. I then look at the map and notice that we will be going through Hartford, CT to get to Bristol so I had the bright idea to call the rental places at the airport as they would probably be open. By this time, we had been sitting in Auburn for over an hour so I just typed in the address for the Hartford Airport and told Brittany to head that way. It was about 45 minutes away and I figured we could find a car before we got there. Oh little did I know, it would not be that easy......
Part Three coming soon!
I know this is getting lengthy and not as interesting since it does not involve the dogs anymore. You won't hurt my feelings if you don't read. But, don't leave us quite yet. Sara said that the two shelters that we went to are very good about updating them when our dogs are adopted and one even usually sends photos of the dogs with their new families (I am going to loose it every time I see one). So we hope that they will trickle down to us and we can share them with you!