Friday, December 2, 2011

VACATION POST! : Frought with Drama! And Exclamation Points!


So.  Where were we?  I had to check back to remember, so it’s okay if you have to too.  Or you can just wing it with me!


It was our last day in Northern Wales/ Snowdonia National Park area, and we were supposed to be heading south toward Brecon Beacon’s National park.


Brian wanted to look around Snowdonia and revisit some of the pretty things that we saw, and I wanted to stop by another beach and then plow ahead!  More pretty things to see!

So, we bickered for a little while, and eventually came up with a compromise- seeing a bit of Snowdonia, heading to the beach for an hour before nap time, and then driving south while the boys slept.


Remember when I mentioned how narrow the roads are in Wales?  I cringed every time someone came barreling (and I do mean barreling) past us.


So, after we did Brian’s thing and took some more pictures (waah waah, Caitlin had to see some more of the most beautiful things that she has ever seen in her life!  I don’t know why I was fighting this!) we started driving towards the beach.


We passed a bicyclist, and when we were going back into our lane-



In case you have ever wondered, this is what it looks like when you are hit in the shoulder by an exploding side-impact air bag:


(see the air bag curtain on the left in the picture above?)


Brian clipped this rock


and our rental car overreacted (didn’t we all?) and immediately deployed all of the airbags on my side of the car.


I started crying..well…kind of wailing…as my shoulder was tingly/burning and I thought for sure it was dislocated. 

(it wasn’t)

Also, the car was filled with smoke from the airbag explosion, which added to my…distress.


The boys on the other hand, were completely fine (thankfully I had just raised Joseph’s car seat headrest that morning so he was not touched by the air bag) and Joseph wouldn’t stop asking questions.

The bicyclist (have we decided that we will say it was all his fault Brian?) stopped to make sure that we were okay and then continued on.


Our car wouldn’t start.

I composed myself and tried not to panic.


After a few tries and several minutes of….panic, we got it started and wheeled jerkily, noisily, our-car-is-very-very-broken-ly ahead.


Have I mentioned that we had no cell phone coverage?

And that we were in the middle of nowhere in Wales? (Funny, Brian at one point called it no-wheresville USA, and then we laughed and realized that it was much, much, further away than that)


But, Praise the Lord (seriously!) out of nowhere a café appeared ahead of us.

And they had a phone!

And spoke mostly English!

And….wait for it…another American family was stuck there waiting for a tow truck because their rental car hit a rock and they lost a tire!  And they were from Brooklyn! GAH! What are the chances?!


Anyway, I was able to go the bathroom and get some food for the boys at least, while Brian was on the phone off and on with the rental car company.

And the bicyclist came to the café in his car to double-check that we were okay and had made it there safely!  (awww!)


A mere 4.5 hours later, the tow truck driver showed up.

Only to tell us that he needed to take his mandatory lunch break before he could take us anywhere!


So, about 5.5 hours after the incident we were on our way!


Do you see how happy I made myself look?  And do you see the flower in my hair that Joseph picked for me from someone’s driveway behind the café?  And don’t you love the way that Joseph is looking at me?

Not a care in the world for those boys!

Isaac was thrilled!  A tow truck ride!  Huzzah!


About 20 minutes later, we got the news from the rental car company that they couldn’t actually take us in the direction that we 2 hours to Liverpool!  The opposite direction!  And about 4-5 hours away from London, where we needed to go the following day!


The good news is that the tow truck driver was a really cool guy and basically gave us a tour of Wales, pointing out different historical sites along the way. 

My favorite was a lake that I thought was pretty, which actually turned out to be a man-made reservoir.  BUT, the shocker is that it used to be a town!  And the government made the people vacate the whole town so that they could flood it and create this reservoir!  The driver said that on low water-level days you can see the church steeple.


We arrived in Liverpool and dropped the car off at a car repair place, which meant that we (correction: I mean BRIAN) had to transfer all of our luggage and kid junk into the cab (!!) of the tow truck.

Brian and the tow truck driver dropped the boys and me, plus all of our stuff (!!!), off in the lobby of a Holiday Inn, and then they had to continue on so that they could make it to the rental car company before it closed.

I had to throw myself on the mercy of the front desk people to help me get all of the luggage (they didn’t have any luggage-carts) up to our room.  A girl has to know her limits!

We eventually made it up with everything and I let the boys loose in the room for the next 2.5 hours while I waited for Brian to come back, watched a sheep dog tournament (bonus!), and tried not to cry.


He finally came back at about 9:50 pm to check in with me (no cell phones, remember?!)  and then he ran to get us some food somewhere before everything closed at 10pm.


Needless to say, the vacation was mostly over after all this went down.


The next day we woke up and drove back to London, stayed in an airport hotel, and flew home the following day.

But, we did take a picture of this cool Liverpool-ian bridge!



Also, we had just been talking about how smart Brits were to make their license plates so long so that there are so many different combinations of letters and numbers to reduce the chances of duplicates.

And then, look what was in front of us: (click to enlarge)


Haha!  Almost exactly the same!  Oh, how we laughed!  And I took 5 pictures!  We were super tired.

But, you know the saying “This too shall pass?”  That long, loooong painful day… it passed.

Overall?:  Awesome trip!


ter@waaoms said...

yikes! what a way to end your vacation but in true Caitlin Style it became a highlight story! :)

(Glad everyone was okay!)

britney said...

Oh my gosh! I can't believe the airbags deployed for basically scraping your tire on a rock. LAME! And OWEE! Your poor shoulder. I am so sorry that you have the weirdest stuff happen to you when you travel, but it does make for a good blog.

Jenners said...

You certainly know how to vacation!

Note To Self: Never ever go on a trip with Caitlin.