So the birthday trip to the Outerbanks didn't go quite as planned, actually it didn't go at all. Everything started out promising, after work on Friday we went to the grocery store and bought enough soda, beer and snacks to get us through the trip down and the day out on the beach, came home and packed up the 4 Runner then went to bed for a few hours of sleep.
At 2:05am we were in the car and headed towards I-95 South. Since 2am is about the only time you don't find traffic on I-95 in Northern VA we were speeding along quite nicely when about 30 minutes into the trip the transmission dropped. This happened to Kristian before, ironically a year and half ago when he was on his way home from the Outerbanks in almost the same exact location, so he knew what it was immediately. Thankfully we were right by an exit so we were able to pull off the highway and make it to the parking lot of a gas station.
We sat there debating what we should do. He was pretty sure we wouldn't be able to make it home. I even thought of checking into the Ramada across the street to stay until morning but ultimately we decided to just have the car towed home. Fortunately I have a AAA membership, Kristian shockingly does not which is crazy to me considering that he's on the road all day long doing sales calls for work. I called AAA and within 30 minutes the car was loaded up and we were on our way home. If it weren't for AAA we would have spent probably $200 on the tow but with AAA we were able to be towed up to a 100 miles for free. I will be adding Kristian to my policy this week.
We made it home around 4am, completely exhausted and disappointed. We briefly discussed the idea of loading up my car and trying again however his fishing poles wouldn't even be able to fit into my tiny Toyota Corolla let alone the two coolers and other equipment. I told him it was better to just postpone the trip until the car was fixed and we do the trip as we initially planned. I felt horrible. Kristian had been so giddy and excited and to see him after what happened with the car he looked like a little kid that just found out Santa doesn't exist. It broke my heart. I almost wish I hadn't even planned the trip and gotten him excited about it.
So now we have to wait to find out what is going on with the car. He called the shop that fixed his transmission a year and a half ago but they weren't open this weekend so the plan is to have them tow it to the shop on Monday and fingers crossed that whatever is wrong with it is covered by the warranty. Otherwise there is a good chance he'll need a new transmission which run around $3-4K!!
As disappointed as we are we both realize how lucky we were considering. We weren't in an accident, we were able to pull of the highway to a safe location, we were able to be towed home for free (thanks to AAA!) and we weren't stuck in NC with a broken car. The Outerbanks aren't going anywhere, we'll get there eventually, it just sucks that his birthday weekend didn't go as planned.