Whoa. What a day. It started out well enough with a quiet morning and a cup of coffee. We loaded up the van for a day in Ansbach visiting our friends who are new to Germany.
We were driving 110K going down the A3 when I felt a strange jerk in the transmission, and then another. I pulled into the far right lane, slowly losing speed as I had no transmission. I noticed that just ahead was a small pull-out, something very rare on the Autobahn. I prayed that we’d make it if only to give us a few more inches from the rushing cars flying past. We did, and Matt quickly set up the emergency triangle behind the car, as is German law.
We weren’t really stressing about the car breaking for a few reasons:
a. We knew it was going to happen… We were told that it could happen tomorrow, or in 2 years. We knew the risk we were taking, and it wasn’t a safety one.. more of an inconvenience one.
b. We were only 20 minutes from home! Last week we were in Garmsich 5 hours from here and the van worked beautifully for that trip!
c. Matt was with me and we were not headed anywhere time sensitive. In fact, our friends, when they heard we were stuck here, hopped in the car and came to see US!
d. Not only did we break down in a place with a small pull-over, it had a jogging trail and woods for the boys to explore.
e. The weather was nice. After a week or two of rain, today was a very nice day to be stranded on the side of the road!!
f. ADAC was able to tow our car home and fit all of us in their tow truck. (Not all of us had seat belts, but at least we were all together.)
And the final reason we’re not stressing…
g. We’re DEBT FREE!! This, a few years ago, would have been a crisis. Now, it’s just an event. We just aren’t worried. Sure, it’s annoying. Especially since there are so few cars here that will be exactly what we want. I’m going to miss this van! The sliding doors; the automatic lift gate… And it has a full tank of gas, an oil change 10 days ago, and has two brand new tires on the back! SERIOUSLY!!! (Anyone know how to siphon the gas out so we can use it in the Durango?!? Is that even legal?) As annoying as those things are, I wish I could explain to you how non-stressful this is. If you haven’t done Financial Peace University, DO IT!
I have to say, the worst part of this is that Bailey pitifully said, “Mom, I’ve never had another car before.” Poor kid… he’s right! We’ve had this car his entire life.
We saw two cars in Ramstein this evening, both of which are possibilities, but we are just not quite ready to part with our savings. Neither of us felt a peace about them, at least for today. We’ll just be patient and see what happens. When we see the vehicle we’re supposed to get, we’ll know. Until then, we’re at “peace.”
For those living in Germany, just a little bit of helpful information: These little blue signs are every 500 meters. When you call ADAC (the German version of AAA) you can tell them the number you’re near along with the Autobahn number and voila, they know where you are! (Turns out, poor Matt had already walked 400m forward and there was one 100m behind us. We learned that these are every 500 meters while he was walking and I was on the phone with ADAC. Now we know.)