Thursday, July 5, 2012

Independence Day Woes {Retired Minivan Edition}

We could have spent the 4th of July doing what most people do: go to parades, grill out, light sparklers. Instead, as we were driving back from spending a beautiful evening with friends, our minivan began to "make noises" while Ellie and Nina asked, "Why is it so bumpy on the road?" Soon the air conditioner stopped working and Andy realized we have no power, and we cannot accelerate any more than we can break (no, we do not own a Toyota.)

Thankfully, we were loosing power quickly and slowing down, and although this happened in the highway, it also happened right as we were coming to an exit ramp, which we took, and we continued to cruise along until we literally stopped right outside a hotel. 

The van was smoking, it smelled bad, and we were more than happy to get out of the car. We called our friends, we called a tow-truck company, and we realized most likely our van is retired.

This ordeal took us into the dark night, but on the good side, the girls did get to watch firework displays as we drove home. Our original plan was to have them go to bed and skip the fireworks, but wouldn't you know it, we still got to watch the show!

We are so thankful this did not happen as we were driving to go to our family reunions and retreat!

On another positive side, maybe we can get a vehicle that will be "friendlier" or somewhat more "handicap accessible."

What type of car do you drive? Do you love it? Is it a minivan? How do you fit 3 kids and 2 of them that need help with buckling and mobility? Would love to hear your thoughts!


  1. Oh Ellen, I'm sorry about your minivan! I'm praying that God will provide just the right vehicle for your family! :)

    1. Like Ellie said, "This will be fun!" and hopefully we can find something more functional for our family. But it is always stressful at the moment, we are just thankful how "smoothly" the car retired and how thankful we are that we were kept safe!

  2. We just had a mishap with one of our minivans recently, too. My husband had it towed home, where it remains parked. Not sure, yet, if it'll be permanently retired. White 99 Ford Windstar. I drive a *gasp* burgandy 99 Ford Windstar. You'd be amazed (only you wouldn't) at how many of the exact same problems we've had to correct in both vehicles. There are definitely hiccups. Sorry about your trouble. Hope you find new wheels soon!

  3. I'm so sorry that happened! I hope the kids handled everything OK; glad they got to see fireworks. :) We have a Toyota Sienna and we love it. Right now, all three of our kids have some kind of carseat or booster. My son's booster is in the back, and he just climbs right in and buckles himself. The other two are split on the bucket seats on the middle row. My in-laws had a minivan with a lift for the passenger side, so my BIL could get in/out easily with his chair. I think he would ride the lift in, then transfer to the back seat.

  4. I am totally coveting my neighbors new Sienna! I spent a couple weeks test driving mini vans, and brought a couple home to see how easily they were for Angela to get in the back. The Odyssey and Sienna are by far my favorites, but the Toyotta Sienna wins in the accessibility department for Angela. The middle seats slide WAY forward giving her a whole 18 inches behind it for her to go through, and it can be slid up even when one of the boys is sitting in it. The Honda Odyssey seat tips forward for access but only gives her 8 inches.

  5. Oh, I'm sorry for you! What luck however that it happened on your way home and as peacefully as it did!

    We drive a Renault Espace and we really love it. It seats seven people, and all five backseats are individually removable which means that we sometimes use only as many as we need and get more space for luggage, climbing in/out etc. It is quite high though, so it might be hard to climb for Nina.

  6. As the parent of a child whose chair was much bigger and heavier than Nina's, I LOVED my wheelchair ramp Honda Odyssey. (It was the 3rd wheelchair ramp van we owned and definitely the most well done. Before I needed the ramp van (because I could no longer lift the wheelchair), I transferred Tim to a typical car seat in the middle row position and put his chair in the back of a typical Odyssey. The power sliding doors were a great feature when loading/unloading... any mom can always use an extra hand! :) It might be easier for you, while the girls are small, to find a small sport utility with a very low loading height... easier for them to crawl in and for you to load the chair, but still room for your family of 5.


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