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Losing A Family Member

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“Goodbye Alice.”

Yes, you guessed it. Alice the truck is no longer a member of our family. As the trip across the US comes to an end it was necessary for us to part company… there is just no way we could get her into the suitcase to take her home. (Besides, I don’t think the NZ Green Party would be happy with us doubling the oil consumption in NZ!)

So Alice has been given to a new family who will love her as much as we have. TJ, her new Dad, has taken her home to meet her new sister – a classic old motorbike. We are sad but are certain that she will be happy in her new home.

Praise God she hasn’t yet passed away – that news would be too hard to share!

Here’s the brief story of how we parted:

As we are leaving Florida in two weeks I felt it was wise to try and advertise Alice for sale. I took photos and wrote a story for “Craigs List”, a for sale website. Within 2 days I had contact from TJ who was looking for something just like our Alice. He fell in love at first sight and came and paid me cash that same week! Awesome – the car is sold! (Oh no – how will we get around town for the next three weeks?!)

How did we meet?

We first met Alice in Boise in the cold days of March. She was a big white truck that had plenty of space. Just what I was looking for. Unfortunately there was a bit of mechanical work required… and more than we were told about. So here started our tenuous relationship that allowed us to meet many different mechanical service personnel across the US!

Here are some of the not so good experiences:

  • Transmission reconditioning and rear brake replacement – these repairs cost us more than the value of the truck.
  • Persistent brake light issues resulting in many blown bulbs and trips to our new friends at Bobby’s Transmission and Mechanics.
  • Worn out windscreen wiper motor meaning we drove to dinner at the Carlson’s in the rain with very little visibility!
  • Air conditioning needed a full service so the front and rear air conditioning provided respite from the summer heat.
  • Overheated engine in Boulder Colorado at 5.00pm on a Friday night. We had no cell phone and no idea where to go. A new radiator and thermostat were fitted the next morning and we tried to enjoy a bonus night in Boulder!
  • A shuddering steering wheel in Georgia meant we got to meet the service technicians at Wal-Mart, but now Alice goes in a straight line and can handle cruising at 65 mph.

There have been many fun times with Alice as we’ve traversed the US from West to East, taking in a bit of Canada and lots and lots of stops in-between:

  • Having three rows of seats meant we could take a load of kids from church and deliver them to Youth Group or the park.
  • When the Hubbell family loaned us their push bikes we simply put them in the back and transported them around town.
  • There are not many vehicles that would have accommodated all our suitcases, camping gear, food and the many books I’ve collected along the way.
  • Sleeping in Alice may not have been as comfortable as a Motel bed or even the air bed in the tent, but we were missing her spacious seats when we slept in the small European cars!
  • There was one day crossing the State of South Dakota through a rain storm when many small cars were blown off the road… but Alice plowed on through. I doubt a tornado would shift her off track!
  • And you have to admit – she looks pretty cool.

We were very attached to Alice so seeing her drive off was a little sad… there are so many memories we have of the many, many hours.

I hate to think how many hundreds of gallons of gasoline she guzzled as we travelled over 10,000 miles. (She holds 40 gallons which is approx 100 litres). You all know how much I like to drive cars fast, but this was more like driving a tank – she went around the corners like a bulldozer!

It may be hard for some of you to comprehend a 14 hour day driving, but in Alice it wasn’t a drama. She just ambled along the freeway minding her own business.

This ‘lady’ will be one of the fond memories we have of our US Adventure.

So please join us in saying “Goodbye Alice”.

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