Everything Was Going Splendidly, Then....

Just got home late last night from a wonderful vacation, just James and me. We went to a Focus on the Family Couples Retreat for Pastors and their spouses at the beautiful La Quinta Resort and Spa just outside of Palm Springs, California. The retreat was truly just that, a retreat, and I'll write more on that later, but suffice it to say that after four nights at this luxurious resort I was feeling like quite the princess.

After we left Palm Springs we went to cool and lovely San Diego for James to run his first marathon. He finished his 26.2 miles in just over 4:45 and did splendidly.We both ended up with bad sunburns at the end of the day, but the dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory in the Gas Lamp district that night was a fine and well-earned reward for a grueling day. (No, I didn't run the 26.2, but I did walk about 5-6 miles just trying to see him at the midway point, getting to the finish line, and then returning to our car afterward!)

We had rented a car for our trip because all three of our automobiles are very old and not really up to the long drives anymore, especially across the desert. To our delight we ended up with a free upgrade to a Grand Marquis with leather seats and all the bells and whistles. It served as this princess' fine carriage for 7 days. But, it didn't quite finish the trip with us.

We had just eaten at the Olive Garden in Yuma, Arizona, and were on the last five hours of our trip when we sighted a Border Patrol check point ahead. We're used to these in southern Arizona, so James slowed the car down to stop and I awakened from one of my little mini-naps. And then it happened. Our golden carriage with the leather seats began to sputter and gulp, as though it couldn't get the gas it needed to carry on. I would have concluded that we were out of gas except we had filled up that morning and the gauge showed that we still had a half a tank. So unless the gauge was faulty (and we don't think it was) we had plenty of gas. But our car wasn't going any further.

Glad to be only about 200 yards from the makeshift Border Patrol station we grabbed a few waters and headed in their direction. They were nice enough to put us in their trailer with the weak little window unit air conditioner for a couple of hours until we could get a tow truck to pick us up. I'm leaving out lots of details at this point because I try not to spew venom too much to keep things pleasant on this blog, but let's just say James spent a good hour on the phone before the rental car company kicked it into gear for us. They were trying, bless their hearts, but I guess they just don't have folks stranded out in the 110 degree desert very often. We weren't even in a place, you know. We were just at exit 78 on Interstate 8. We were literally out in the middle of the desert with no one or nothing around, except the Border Patrol guys, their German Shepherd drug dog, and their pathetic little trailer. I passed the time by watching about 7 different camera views on their closed circuit tv. (They were evidently looking for someone driving a gray car because they pulled over several and sniffed them out thoroughly before letting them go. Fascinating... if you're stranded in the desert with nothing else to do.) We were about 70 miles out of Yuma, but ended up going back there to get another car. Ooh! I'm getting hot and miserable just thinking about it...

So we ended up getting home about five hours later than we had planned and I've had to work real hard to not let this one little mishap ruin the end of my vacation for me. Funny how that happens. We had a perfectly blissful time and I was honestly coming home feeling rested and rejuvenated and this little incident is threatening to steal all of that away. Hopefully, I won't let it. To that end I'm trying to dwell on the positive today.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true,
whatever is honorable, whatever is right,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence
and if anything worthy of praise,
let your mind dwell on these things.
(Philippians 4:8)

So today my mind is trying really hard to stick to things like millions of palm trees growing in the desert oasis of Palm Springs, the delicious strawberries we bought at the street market, the steak dinner we had at the couples retreat in lieu of the usual baked chicken you normally get at such deals, and the thrill of watching James run by mile 13 of the San Diego Rock n' Roll Marathon. And yes, I'm still thankful for my golden princess carriage on wheels, even if it couldn't seem to make it the last 350 miles!

Labels: ,