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Our Virginia Beach Vacation

May 17, 2002 to May 26, 2002

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Sunday, May 26, 2002
Day 10....Sunday morning...I phoned AAA and got the number for the towing service and phoned and woke him up too....I needed to know if he could tow both the van and trailer and how much for the trailer. $1.00US to $1.50US per mile for the trailer plus other costs. Motel guy was sober in the morn, and still very nice and helpful. Even when not drunk he was trying to help with everything. Tim and I went with the tow truck towing our van with the trailer in tow (less swaying then with our van) The tow truck was able to do 65mph all the way to the border. We didn't know how bad the transmission was, but at the border, the US guy topped up the transmission and by-passed the transmission cooler which had the leak and told me I might be able to drive over the bridge to Canada and save some hassles....but the stupid Van just wouldn't go....it kinda lurched and revved and clunked.....I didn't want to take the chance and so I called CAA. Our Friend, Dave picked up Joanne, Eric, Sam and Grace and met us at the border. They arrived at the border about 10 minutes after the tow truck left us at the duty free which is just before Canada customs and we then had to call CAA to tow us the rest of the way in Canada. Joanne continued home and Tim and I continued our wait for the tow truck to show. There was no phone at the Duty Free, so we were directed across to US customs. The first time was no problem, but the second time Tim and I went over, we got a surprise. We were almost at the customs building when I heard, " SIR, WHERE ARE YOU COMING FROM?" I slowly turned around and said "Pardon?" The customs officer had his right hand on his holstered gun and his left hand pointing at me and said again. "SIR, WHERE ARE YOU COMING FROM?" I told him I was trying to find how the tow truck from Canada was going to get to us. He very loudly said, "SIR, THE TRUCK WILL COME UP THIS LANE AND WILL BE INSPECTED, AND THEN WILL TURN AROUND OVER THERE AND WILL PICK YOU UP!" I said, "There is no other way?" And again very loudly and pointing, repeated what he said before. We turned around and headed back to the van. About 15 minutes later we went back to use the phone with no problems. CAA contacted the tow truck driver and was I was told he was still about 20 minutes away. We waited almost 2 hours. I was REALLY starting to get MAD!!!@!!! Then the tow truck shows up and the driver tells me its going to cost $85 plus tolls to tow my trailer at the same time....I cursed at the ground and said "JUST TOW IT HOME" because I had just paid the US driver $98US to get our trailer to the border. Anyway, the guy must have felt bad and only charged me $70 and told the towing company that it was an easy trailer hook-up. He even dropped the trailer off in front of my house and let me unload most of the van before he took it to our repair shop. Then, I had to go and borrow another friends van to pull the stupid trailer off the street and into our driveway. (The reason I didn't leave the trailer in the US and come back, was because I didn't know anyone that would be available and with a big enough vehicle that also had the same plug for our trailer lights. It was easier and saved time (not money) to have the trailer towed with us, and I was worried about crossing customs each time. Also, the thought of paying someone the motel Guy knew locally to tow it home was probably cheaper, but insurance could have been a problem?)

So........ The last time we had the transmission rebuilt was 2.5 years ago for $1900 dollars 2 weeks before Christmas. 3 months ago, I had a body shop look at the rust on the van and they said about $2800, and don't do it for a 1992 Caravan. We probably need brake work and Rad work to fix the overheating........I think the van is scrap, but we really don't want to spend the money for another one.

So....that was our vacation.....The kids had fun and so did we.....It just wasn't what we expected. I do believe things could have been worse! If the van had broken down in Delaware, or Maryland or Virginia, we would have been stuck until Tuesday and then probably 2 or 3 days to fix it. That would have BEEN HELL!!!! Or, we would have had to rent a van to get home, and then come back for a repaired van the next weekend. So, I guess we did ok for the problems we had....

I took an extra vacation day on Monday so that I could just stay home and unpack and put some things away and have a DAY OFF!!!! There was no way I could go straight back to work after all that....


Monday, May 27, 2002
P.S. I was told today that the van is probably worth $75. That would be in Canadian Funds.


Blown Tire I-81 South near Exit 6



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