“Best Road Trip. Ever!” WINNING ESSAY – Phillip V. (CO)

 

“Venture into Tribeca”

On a warm morning in July 2009, we awoke early as we prepared to embark on a nearly 2500 mile 10 day loop starting in:
Colorado Springs – Boise – Las Vegas – Sedona – Albuquerque the back home to Colorado Springs. The main purpose for this journey was to attend my 20 year high school reunion in Boise, ID but we decided to add the above stops instead of just driving to Boise and back.

Oil freshly changed, tires rotated and a brand spanking new after market cruise control installed and we were ready to dive into the heart of the
Rocky Mountains in our 1999 Chevy Venture van; or so I thought. Travelling westward on I-70 outside of Denver we started climbing in altitude, and climbing and climbing until we and our plugged ears finally reached the summit where we entered a 4-mile mountain tunnel called,‘Eisenhower Tunnel’. Traveling through the tunnel was a great experience for the children as they questioned about why it was there, how it got
there, why there were there lights inside etc. Upon exiting the tunnel, I spotted two state troopers with radar guns drawn and pointed at out coming traffic. At the same time, I noticed my speedometer was slowing, slowing and slowing. An eerie feeling crept over me as I navigated our powerless Venture down a 10 mile stretch of freeway and coasted onto an off ramp into a town called Silverthorn, Colorado. We sat stranded. With my extremely limited mechanical knowledge I proceeded to troubleshoot our troubled, powerless Venture. My eerie feeling became amplified as my
instinct told me our Venture was Burnt Toast. After 45 minutes of hemming and hawing over what to do, our called tow truck arrived and scooped
up the Venture and the my family and I piled into the cab with the scruffy yet jovial driver and proceeded to a nearby mechanic shop. So nearby in fact that it took all of 30 seconds to arrive. That was the most expensive 30 seconds in my life as I forked over $95 to the driver for services rendered.
The Venture was offloaded into the garage as eager mechanics swarmed over it to give it a $65 diagnosis. The results came in a about 11am that the engine was blown and our option were: New engine, (3 days and $4000) or scrap it for a few hundred dollars. It was not a difficult choice as we opted the scrap route.

But, what were we to do now? My reunion was in 3 days and we were essentially stranded in Silverthorn with no wheels. Should we rent a car? Should we go back home to Colorado Springs? After consideration and consulting with family, we spotted a Subaru dealership a few hundred yards away.
As we approached the lot, a smiling, heavy-set 40 something year old man greeted us and offered his condolences upon hearing the loss of our
Venture.

It was well past lunch by now so my wife and kids were eating while I combed the lot for a car that would serve my family of four well. Then I spotted
her. She was pearly white sporting a roof rack and sun roof. By 4:30pm we were transferring goods out of our old sick Venture and into our newly acquired, sporty 2006 Subaru Tribeca. We said our final farewells to the Venture and we were back on track, heading west down I-70 by 5:00pm.
Apart from what some believe this 8 hours of car trouble, stranded in Silverthorn to be a traumatic experience, we accepted it as a great experience which built character and resolve. We made it to the reunion and completed the rest of our 2500 mile loop and still enjoy our 2006 Subaru Tribeca to this day.

Congratulations Phillip!