I love to go camping, but our summer vacation was a little frustrating, with the poor choice of spots and the constant drizzle/overcast skies. A hint: Sandusky Ohio may have Cedar Point Amusement Park, but not much of anything else if you’re vacationing there. Put-In-Bay island was a distinct disappointment (and also a distinct ripoff). Although to be fair, all the people were as nice as pie.

But all the places were BORING.

At any rate, tangent aside, we went camping again this weekend (October 1-3). It was scheduled in advance, so we were committed.

It was a fun weekend, and the weather was (I thought) perfect. It would have been nice to take our pop top camper with us, though.

You see, to take a camper, you need something to tow it with. Like a ’93 Ford van, for instance.

Which we have.

But not right now.

You see, it left us high and dry at the library last Saturday–wouldn’t start. We’re sitting there with the kids (and our books), turning the key with absolutely no result. Hey, at least we could all read our books while we waited for AAA.

So you would think a starter problem could be fixed within a day or two, right? Yes, it can, but not when you ask the garage to check out the whining noise coming from the transmission.

And you kinda know what they’ll say.

So, yes–a new transmission is needed, for about $2300. OK, that’s expected. You figure you’ll drive it around for a bit until it really dies, until the dealer explains to you that when the planetary gears go, your car stops. Dead. As in, you’re going 60 miles an hour on the highway, and your car stops dead in its tracks immediately.


So you figure it’s repair time, right? After all, the dealer says it should be ready by Thursday, so all systems are go.

Unless Thursday becomes Friday.

And then the kicker sets in. It’s Friday afternoon, and the dealer explains to you that the transmission is installed and filled, but that Ford won’t warranty it unless they also replace the transmission oil cooler. Of course, that’s on the way, but nowhere to be seen yet on Friday afternoon. And camping is imminent. Like, right now imminent.

So, we dragged the tent and cook kit, etc., out of the camper and packed up the Subaru Forester for the trip.

You haven’t lived until you’ve pitted your best Boy Scout packing skills against a Subaru Forester, let me tell you. You know you’re getting a little manic when you’re packing stuff under the kids’ legs. And between them. And on top of them (blankets and pillows). Really, in the end, you’re just packing the kids into the vehicle along with everything else (make sure that they’re getting good air!). Good thing they’re not too big (hey, they thought it was the coolest thing–glad someone was amused).

Are you still really with me this far? Man, you have stamina. So, that’s why we went camping with the old tent this weekend. Hey, it was fun in the end.

But now it’s Wednesday. Guess what part hasn’t shown up yet at my dealer? Apparently the oil cooler is coming to Etown by way of Guam.

Which means that my brother could have probably sent it here faster than DHL is taking.

Hey, thanks for listening to one of my classic Dave Mancuso circular and tangential rants. Stay tuned, and I may even get the van back on the road by oh, who knows–maybe 2007?