BUT, as I was slowing down and turning off on the exit to go to this new scenic outlook spot, my car made a noise reminiscent of chewbbacca in the star wars movies. It was an awful grinding sound, but it was only there when I turned my wheel slightly to the left. Since it went away when I straightened out the wheel and was not there when I turned right, I figured it would be fine until I finished the remaining 600 miles. I mean, how often to you veer left while on the freeway, and besides, but check engine light wasn't on, my gas mileage was the same, and my breaks appeared in perfect working order. So I turned up the volume on the stereo and continued singing at the top of my lungs to the music. BonJovi, Kenny, and lots of good random mixes. The sound continues when I try to turn the wheel left, but everything else is wonderful. I felt instantly rejuvenated by all the clean country air and wide open spaces. And there were SO many baby cows along the way! I said hi to all of them. I am by no means a country farm girl and have never even been to the south, but I decided listening to Rodney Adkins, 'What I Love About the South' and 'These are my People' was in order. Good times.
Fast forward the rest of the morning, and into the afternoon. I pull up in front of Kristy's house and she and her two darling boys are sitting in the front yard 'watering' the plants. Kristy is actually watering, the boys are enjoying playing with the wilting flowers she had pruned out. Hugs and kisses out of the way, we sit and chat on the front yard, and got caught up like old times. This to me is the test of a true friendship. We have been friends forever, but haven't lived in the same state for years, or seen each other in ages, and every time we talk on the phone or see each other it is like no time has passed at all. There is never an awkward moment where you have to wonder how to fill the silence. So we chatted, and we ran to the fabric store so she could get new fabric for AMAZING bags and accessories that she makes... you must check them out ...go here now! Do it!! We also stop by this most amazing grocery store with aisles and aisles of the bulk bins that you thought were so magical when you were little. Turns out, they're still pretty entertaining! They have EVERYTHING in these bins!
When we were done Brady was getting off work and we all went for a picnic at the falls by their house. Pics to be posted later. We really just had an entire fabulous day of chatting and playing and making mint covered oreos... and chatting some more. I woke up and left after a yummy breakfast of muffins made from the bin mix from the grocery store ...SO good!! The nose continued in my car, but I was only 2 hours from my parents house now, so I figured it could totally wait till then. So I get to my parents house, walk in, and the surprise was priceless. Hugs and kisses out of the way, I tell my mom that I need to take Nellie (my car) to the shop down the way from our house. She follows me, I explain to the man behind the desk what was going on, and we leave. We're sitting home waiting for Cody and Chelsea to come over so we can all go to lunch, and the mechanic calls. The conversation goes something like this:
Mechanic: "So we have your car here, and the ball joint is completely shredded from one side of your car. It will take x-amount of dollars for parts and labor."
Me: "Sounds great. And it can be done today? I'm leaving early in the morning."
Mechanic: "Yeah, that will be no problem. I took it out for a drive for a couple minutes, heard the noise, and was scared that I wasn't going to make it back to the shop!"
Me: "Yeah, so it's probably not great that I drove it 700 miles from Seattle?"
Mechanic: "LIKE THAT???!!!!" *I can just see the look on his face here ...it will mirror the one on my dad's face when I tell him. Not looking forward to that* "It's a wonder you made it all that way like that. We'll get it fixed."
Me: "Thank you!"
So my family thinks I'm funny --albeit slightly retarded for actually driving my car like that, but they were really just glad to see me. We go shopping and I have dinner with Danielle and meet her beautiful new baby boy and her boyfriend. Company was fabulous, food ...not so much. I get home and repeat the same surprise scene with my dad, and then my mom tells me that when she and my sister picked Nellie up form the shop, she was making an awful squealing noise. This is not good. I have to leave at 0330 to make it back in time for a short nap before working the next day. My dad and I take it for a drive to check it out, and my dad informs me that I CANNOT drive my car with the awful squealing that is taking place on the tire that they fixed the ball joint on. Long story slightly shorter, my random road trip to surprise my family resulted in me flying home today, and my dad and sister taking a random road trip of their own to return my fixed car to me on Monday. They will stay at my apt Monday night, and leave the car at the airport when they fly home on Tuesday. This way, the car will be there for me when I fly back from Disneyland on Wednesday. Wow. Good times right?! I think I'm going to need a new car before I decide to take many more random spur of the moment road trips. For now though, I'm off to work, where hopefully someone will have a miraculous idea on how to pop my left ear that I was sure was going to explode when we started the descent into Seattle.