24 hr, $1000 camping trip that wasn't

Well I'm  siting on a nice cool couch with a glass of iced chocolate milk. Ahhh...
Kids are away or occupied and Alida is in the pool.  Sweet silence.

Can I tell you a story about heading out to camp Friday night?  Excellent.

Alida and I shopped, organized, packed, piled and planned for a wonderful 4 nights in Kouchibouguac.

Friday after work I cycled to pick up Mira at camp and we rode home. Arrived about 4:50 and supper was all ready for the girls...as was all the gear to pack...So... I changed into shorts and started packing the groceries, chairs, suit casees, beer, food, tents, kites, softballs, bat and gloves, sleeping bags, flashlights, eating gear, CPAP machine, camera, MP3 players, Walkie/Talkies, games and books as well as setting up the bike racks for 5 bikes into/onto the car and Jayco trailor.  7:00pm... on the road. (oops forgot to get the propane for the stove/BBQ - quick stop @ the HomeDepot rectified that).

The battle wagon (2000 Subaro Outback) was towing easily.  Just before Crapeau a little vibration seemed to start but we didn't thing much of it. Then this grinding metal noise emanated from the front of the car for about 3 seconds... I stopped, looked, felt for overheating breaks and found nothing.  I thought briefly, and mentioned that it would probably be a good idea to not continue ... but we did.

We drove happily, and smoothly, until just outside of Shediac; when the shrieking metal noise returned, much louder than the first time, lasting some what longer, and returning frequently.  We decided that Shediac was not the place we wanted to be on a Saturday AM with a busted Subaru so we drove slowly to Moncton towing our loaded 2000 lb Jayco trailer (Exactly like this)

Ahh... there's the Best Western... The night time reception indicated that they were full  (there must have been a look of despair on my face) and then gave her head a shake and said they had a "smoking room" with  2 queen beds... Then she gave me the price (yikes) then dropped it by $30.00...  We checked the room (it had been pretty well aired out) and took it b/c most other hotels were full as well. It was fine.

A digression here:
The staff at the Best Western Dieppe were awesome. They went above any expectations. We dragged our bicycles up to the room, slept 5 in a room, parked the trailer beside a reserved accessibility spot fairly close to the main entrance (bright lights) almost blocking the emergency loop (but not quite), helped facilitate a checkout 4 hours late,  moved our belongings into a conference room for us (they needed to clean the room) and offered suggestions to make our stay easier and smiled  the whole time. They even offered(and currently are) storing our bikes in an unused suite until next week when we can get back to Moncton to get them.  Friendly, courteous, helpful, great beds, an easy buffet Breakfast and the pool made our stay very easy.  I'll return to this hotel.

Saturday AM:
Girls woke up pretty early... Breakfast was @ 6:30 I think (maybe 7:00) and I wanted to get on the phone/road asap to get the brakes repaired.  Went to 4 local garages. One was closed, one was moving, one was booked solid and one didn't work on Subaru's... Only one was the least bit concerned with my plight. ... Hmmm Subaru dealer opens at 8:30 till noon and Canadian tire opened @ 7:30... I weighted my disdain for Canadian Tire and said brakes! CT can do brakes! So in I went and booked a Brake Inspection/repair.  Went to Tim's for a Coffee, got the estimate, walked back to the hotel for a nap while they fixed my work front brakes feeling pretty good! The car would be ready no later than noon, we could checkout in time, and be in the park by 1:30.  Excellent!

Indra and I walked back to CT to get the car and it was ready early - The brake pads had been completely worn and the calipers stuck.  $300.00 << sigh >> but it needed to be done and the problem was fixed. The brakes worked GREAT!

Stopped @ Indigo for a book (Dragon Tattoo and the next cat book for Indra - $25), the Bulk Barn for some celebratory snacks ($10) and Quizno's for a ($5) large Ham and Swiss sub.  Heading back to the hotel to pick up the patient (hah) familial units the SHRIEK returned... louder than ever! Can you imagine the words I had for CT!!!  As it turns out CT were very professional and not really at fault.  The only thing they missed was doing a comprehensive road test. So after much discussion we went on a road test. The Technician couldn't hear anything after a short ride (been there done that! (Couldn't hear the noise)) so I took over to extend the ride.  Sure enough after about 2 more min the shriek re-occurred, accompanied by a shudder! Crap! But see I'm not hallucinating!  Back at the garage it took the parts guy, 2 technicians and I to replicate the sound and/or a vibration... Bearings in the left front hub was the diagnosis. We could feel the play in the wheel and feel a vibration. (Did you know that an AWD will only spin 3 out of 4 tires when it's in the air?)

Meantime Moncton @ Crystal Palace is rebuilding the main road and it looks like roundabouts and extra lanes might be the final result... What a mess! Alida has left Tim Hortons after feeding the 2 little ones. I hear her calling me over the garage noises. The girls are tired, hot and cranky but not me :-)

CT has ordered the Bearings, inside and outside seals but can't get the "Bearing assembly lock washer" as it's a dealer part. The technician says he's never re-used one, as it breaks or loses its elasticity.
Choice #1: Drive the car the way it is hoping that the noise will go away without siezing up and causing additional damage or causing an accident.

Choice # 2: Have Canadian Tire try to take the lock washer off and re-use it... If he can't the car is in CT till Monday at the latest as it's a job that can't be "reversed" after the bearings come out.

Choice # 3: Take the car to the Subaru dealer and let them take a look when they can Monday/Tuesday.

I chose Option 3.
However - We needed to continue to Kooshie with a rented vehicle that can tow 2000 lbs or go home. There was nothning that I could rent on a Sat. PM that had the combination of 2" trailer hitch, 7 way plug for elec. brakes, seating for 5 and could accommodate 5 bikes...

By this time most downtown car rental joints were all closed as well.  So... Mira joined me as we dropped the Subaru (towing the  trailer) off at the the Subaru dealer (got lost of course) and took a taxi ($20) to pick up a brand new Impala from the Airport Budget rent-a-car till Tuesday ($230).  We could have had a Charger with leather seats, but I needed the 3 dead body sized trunk. Mira and I drove back to the Subaru dealer to pack food, coolers, suitcases, drinks, bike helmets, shoes and electronics into the trunk, dropped the Subaru key in the drop-off slot and returned to get Alida, Indra and Krista who had been waiting ALL day!

Everyone was tired and hungry so we went to the Red-Pepper Mongolian Grill - It's great!   (WOW! do they ever need a better web site!) By the time we got home @ 9:00 Krista was crying inconsolably, Indra was not happy about being in the middle of the back seat, and Mira was interchangeability hot and cold, Alida was listening to her mp3 player and I was giggling like a madman! But we made it.

A weird vibration in the rental car on the way home and an oily spot on my drive-way this AM! Great! I'll have Budget replace it Monday and drive back to Moncton Tuesday before 4:00 assuming the car is repaired ($300.00 ? )

At some point someone said that I must have been meant to be home... Well one of Doug's (Mom's husband) sons is visiting with his family, and I was able to meet them this AM.  We will hopefully see them again in the next few days.

Better cut the grass or something!

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