So What… At Least… (A road trip story)

* Author’s Note: So what if this post was written a month THREE months ago! I still want to share it… if only for the mere fact that I personally really needed to remember this experience. 🙂


Bump! POP! Bang!



I guess it could have been worse.

We could have been in the middle of nowhere, with only mountains in our view, no cell reception or sign of any exit for miles.

That would have been really bad. But (lucky us!) when we heard: Bump! POP! Bang! we were in a city(ish?) area that also appeared (somewhat) safe. 1

1 A positive fact when your van’s bike rack decides it no longer wants to hold your family’s four bikes while driving on the highway.


That we had to leave our BRAND NEW bikes locked up at a busy, barely-standing-because-its-under-construction gas station?

(Due to the construction) the gas station’s (very nice!) owner happened to be there and gave us his blessing along with indication that he would watch said new bikes as we quickly made our way to purchase a new bike rack (at a sporting goods store located only minutes away). 2

2 Ah, if it had only been that easy.


That the sporting goods store carried no bike racks that could fit all 4 of our bikes? (Unless our van had a hitch – which of course ours doesn’t!)

The salesman was very knowledgeable and gave us the name (and number) of a bike shop located only a few minutes away!

(Good news for a moment until…)


That en route to the bike store we happened to call first, only to learn that our particular van’s make and model will never work with any (affordable) bike rack unless the rack is connected to a hitch. And that additionally, the type of rack we have will always eventually “snap off a van’s spoiler” (exactly what we discovered happened to us) because of how the van is designed (van design = good for aerodynamics, bad for bike-riding-families-of-five)3.

We were all safe
AND our new bikes were all safe
AND we had not gotten into an accident
AND we had not caused an accident because of this “glitch”
… yet.

3 Really, who chooses a van for aerodynamics anyway? Don’t most people buy vans to haul all their kids – and their friends and their bikes! – around?


That (while going on hour two of our long, frustrating detour) driving back to the gas station bike-rack-less (while brainstorming every unlikely bike-rack-disaster solution) ominous clouds popped out of nowhere.

We were trapped in our van with 3 children (ages 10, 7 and 3) at a gas station where we could conveniently refill our gas tank (allowing us to keep the overhead DVD player running for the kids).4

4 Seriously, I don’t even think the kids realized we where having” issues” as they sat in the back of the van with their headphones on staring at the newly purchased movie we had gotten for our vacation travels.


That our rear spoiler to our van had nearly popped off (we hadn’t truly noticed this until the bike store told us this is probably what happened and we were able to take a look at it after the storm subsided).

The storm only lasted 20 minutes, my husband and I were still on (somewhat cordial) speaking terms and we managed a temporary “fix” to get us to my parents’, good friends’, son’s house (did you get that relationship connection?) 5 which happened to be only another 20 minutes from our bike-rack-breakdown headquarters (a.k.a. – the construction ridden gas station)

5 Yes, people who barely knew us graciously agreed to store all four of our bikes for a week in their backyard storage barn while we whisked off to Hilton Head Island.


That the bike rack broke AGAIN just as we pulled off the exit to my parents’, good friends’, son’s house.

We were able to temporarily fix it (again)
AND we were all safe
AND our new bikes were all safe
AND we had not gotten into an accident
AND we had not caused an accident

Sure it was a little annoying.

Yep, it was not the best way to begin a vacation.

And NO, we will NOT ever drive again (flying is worth the cost after this trip).

We made it there. And that’s all that matters.6

6 Albeit we kicked ourselves that we hadn’t just decided to rent bikes in the first place, since it was only $100 (including drop off and pick up at our beach house). Additionally, after arriving we realized that the thin wheels of our new hybrid bikes would have never allowed us to ride on the plush beaches of Hilton Head.

HiltonHeadHomeOur beautiful beach house directly on the beach!

Eating lots of ice cream as a family.


And plenty of biking throughout the island and on the beach!


The vacation was definitely memorable.

And most importantly, we made it home.

  • Despite a 14 hour return drive with three kids.
  • Despite a detour caused by construction-stopped traffic.
  • Despite another 3 hour trip (after picking up our bikes from my parents’, good friends’, son’s house) with a “rigged” bike rake on our van and being on pins and needles as we drove-stopped-checked bikes, drove-stopped-checked bikes, drove-stopped-checked bikes (the entire 3 hours).

AT LEAST we made it home.

Kids safe. New bikes safe.

And of course, the first things we do upon return is count our blessings and take a bike ride…


… close by, so we had no need for a bike rack.

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