Friday, November 19, 2010

Destination: St Louis. Or failing that, Pontiac, Illinois.

Yesterday morning, we got up bright and early to head to the airport to fly from Paris to Chicago. At the airport, we went to check out the Airbus 380, parked nearby. It's huge!

We were pleasantly surprised aboard the plane when we were settled in our very-last-row-of-coach seats, and a few minutes before takeoff, the flight attendant invited us to move up to Premium Voyageur (a new class, in between coach and business class). Other than dealing with the perpetual motion machine that we call Noah, and a short but violent bout of turbulence during lunchtime, our flight was fairly pleasant and uneventful. We made it safely to Chicago, with our friend, Danielle, who accompanied us.

My mom came to pick us up in Chicago. Frédéric took the wheel to drive the first leg back, and for the first two hours everything was fine.... then, as we were discussing what time to stop for dinner, the car started losing power. For a while we rolled along, on the rumble-stripped side of the road, at a speedy 45 mph... until that became impossible, and we continued on for a while at 30. We were hoping to make it to an exit where Frédéric could take a look at things, but as I suppose could be expected, there are very few exits in middle-of-nowhere, Illinois. A while later, we were going a measly 15 mph, until the car finally crept to a halt completely.

At that point, my mom got busy with her cell phone, calling the insurance company, the tow truck, the taxi service, and rental car agencies. Our taxi finally showed up after about 45 minutes:

Only my mom had ever been in a limo before, so for the rest of us, it was pretty exciting.

Car broken down? Who cares, we've got a limo!

The tow truck took the van to a dealership a few miles down the road, and the taxi took us to a hotel in the same town.

We walked down the main strip (who does that, in middle-of-nowhere, Illinois? No one but us) to find dinner (Arby's, not roadkill), then came back and crashed:

Much to our dismay, Noah thought he had finished his night at 1:30 am, so needless to say, Frédéric and I are dragging today. Noah and Benjamin, however, are bouncing off the walls.

My dad is on his way to get us now with a rental car, since the van can't be fixed until next week at the earliest. We are hoping to make it to St Louis tonight!!

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