Okay, so this isn’t really a story about the road trip itself. It’s actually a story about that one time when the car broke down *no less than three times* during a road trip to New York. So, buckle up…
My Junior year of college I went to New York with some friends. At the time, I had a friend who lives there and so it was an easy fall break location. So the four of us loaded into Rachel’s car and we set off. I’d never been on a road trip before and so I didn’t really know what to expect. I have always been the car DJ and this trip was no different. I complied a playlist of everyone’s favorite songs and we headed off. Good times.
It was only a three or four-day trip. I think we left on a Friday morning and we were supposed to be back to school by that Tuesday evening. We accomplished this–but it was far from uneventful. We got about half way and stopped at a Cracker Barrell in West Virginia. Driving through Virginia is sort of the bulk of the trip since we had to cross it diagonally. We drove through the day and only stopped for dinner because we needed a break and because the car had started making a *quiet* noise. We ate dinner and paid. In the dark parking lot of the Cracker Barrell, we used our phone flashlights and checked the oil. All seemed well. We got in the car and started heading back towards the highway. we’d just reached the end of the road that led to the restaurant when the car just quit. Nothing. Luckily we were kind of already on a hill, so we rolled forwards, across an empty road and into a Sheets gas station.
Now came the part–calling moms. We were stuck, a few hours away from home and unable to go anywhere. In the dark. Joy. I called my mom, opened with a, “Okay, so everyone is fine, but…” and proceeded to explain the situation. At this point, we were around four hours from Rachel’s house in New York. We were four hours away from the closest parent who could help us. Mom located the nearest hotel, which was actually positioned directly behind the gas station, and called to see about getting us a room. I was the only person with enough money to get a hotel room, but I wasn’t old enough to rent a room. The lady at the hotel was incredibly sweet and let me do it anyway–since we were stranded.
We pretty much rolled Rachel’s car to the hotel and stayed there until her dad reached us at around two in the morning. He traded cars with us, loaded us into their family van and we were on our way to NY. What ended us being kind of cool about this is that we were actually able to see the sunrise over New York since we arrive right around that time. We got to Rachel’s house and pretty much died until some time later that Saturday morning.
New York was fun, but that isn’t what the story is about–so fast forward to Tuesday morning at like five or six. Since Rachel’s car is still in West Virginia (fixed and waiting for us, mind you) we load into her family van and begin the drive to get her car. The plan was to get to West Virginia and get her car. Her dad would come later to get their van from where we were leaving it at the mechanic. Her dad had taken the van to the shop the day before to have it checked to make sure it was set to take us to West Virginia the following day. We should fine. We leave Rachel’s house without incident. We had just gotten onto the ramp onto the highway when the check engine light came on in the van. It starts acting weird and Rachel calls her mom. We pull off onto the side of the side of the road until we have spoken to her and we feel more confident that the van can actually manage to get us back to Rachel’s house. We head back. If this isn’t the most ridiculous turn of events. Sigh. At this point, we were just really all over it and ready to get back.
We reached Rachel’s house and huddled in the basement watching Elf. We napped and waited to figure out what was going on with the van. We woke up to word that the van was going to need some work and we would need to rent something. Since none of us are old enough to rent a car at this point, Rachel’s dad left work and came back. He rented a van *exactly* like her family van and we finally left New York. Things were fine and reached West Virginia without too much trouble.
Rachel got her car from the mechanic in WV and we were told it was good to go. We moved all of our bags from the van to her car and settled in for the ride back to North Carolina. Rachel’s dad said that he was going to follow us for an exit or two just to make sure we were going right, and then he would take the rental back to NY. We said goodbye to him and headed off. We were tired but in good spirits. Then the third breakdown happened. The check engine light came on in Rachel’s car and she called her dad. We left her car at a gas station and put all of our stuff back in the van. Rachel’s dad drove us all the way back to Gardner-Webb and we arrived really late Tuesday night.
And that is the story of how we were broke down three times during a road trip.
The struggle is so very real.
Hello! My name is Brianna Joy Crump and I am a twenty-two-year-old writer from Raleigh. North Carolina. I am a recent graduate from Gardner-Webb University where I received my BA in English with an emphasis in creative writing. While in college, I wrote nine and a half novels, as well as multiple short stories and a handful of poems. I am currently rewriting one of my novels and hoping to pursue agents and publishing come the fall. For more information, feel free to contact me on social media or check out my website.