Sunday, August 4, 2013

In case any desert dwellers are confused, this is the color GREEN...

Before beginning, on a completely unrelated topic:

Last week, trying to get Alexander to go in the house in the garage and having some trouble:
Me: Go on inside. Seriously, I'm tired of trying to herd you like a cat...
X-Man: Meow......

It's cute crap like that which keeps him ALIVE. 

Okay, it's today is Sunday August 4th and our car is back. Yes, it's BACK!

View of San Francisco Peaks from Hwy 180, just north of Flagstaff.  Look how GREEN!
We drove it home from Flagstaff Friday night. What an ordeal.  Not the drive home, but this whole car situation in general! 

Seriously, if you ever need transmission work done in Flagstaff, DO NOT use the AAMCO on Route 66 (across from the Galaxy Diner). I am not kidding. Galaxy Diner is fun, but don't go to the AAMCO!

Aside from the suspiciously shady operations, the owner (his name is Kevin, though I have another name for him) is rude and doesn't give a rip about Customer Service. I know my pain in the butt Engineer-minded husband took a road less traveled, so to speak, to get the out-of-pocket cost down on our transmission, but that is no excuse for the incompetence and complete disregard of professionalism from the AAMCO.

One mistake I made, was when we took the car in on the morning of the 12th (after the transmission bit the dust on the drive up to Flagstaff), we didn't check on-line customer reviews for transmission shops in Flagstaff. It wasn't until we were deep inside the commitment of having it done with the incompetent AAMCO that I realized my mistake. I won't make that mistake ever again! There is a much better transmission shop in Flagstaff that is more reputable and with happy customers.

Chris and I, along with X-man ended up spending the night in Flagstaff Thursday night (August 1st) because even though our car was supposed to ready on Thursday, the AAMCO shop screwed us out of that. Now it's August and it's hot at home. Why not spend some time in cool Flagstaff? Yes, that is nice. But we have a 13 year old (as of next week) and a 9 year old IN SCHOOL. So we had to scramble for them to spend the night at a friend's and have that wonderful friend get them to school on Friday. She was okay with it, but I hate bothering people! Well, I don't mind bothering people about some things, but not this! 

Therefore, I have to give a shout out to my friend Wendy who let Christian hang at her house after school both days, and my friend Corina who took 2/3 of my kids in for the night Thursday night!

And remember the fun I mentioned from all three kids in a Flagstaff motel 3 weeks ago? Well, Alexander flying solo the other night wasn't much better. Those little A/C cooling units that are standard by the windows are a pain when you have curious and energetic boys. OY.... 

Not to mention, having to disconnect the room telephone and clock radio and putting it up high so they can't throw it, mess with it, dial it, unplug it, plug it....need I go on?

But if you want a comfy bed, shower/bathtub combo, ironing board with iron, for a nice low price, use the Ramada near I-40 and Butler. We stayed there last summer too. Sure, I would love to splurge on the Little America Hotel (someday....someday...:sigh:), but until then, that Ramada is nice.

On a prayer that our car would be ready sometime Friday, we had to take a hike. It is so green and beautiful up there. It's greener than I ever remember seeing it. Flagstaff has set the record for its wettest July since 1919 and it looks like they're about to break (or have already broken) their all-time Monsoon rain record. And it shows! So gorgeous and green. It has Oregon green!
View of San Francisco Peaks from Hwy 180, just north of Flagstaff.
The perfect hike for time (since we had to get back to the Incompetent AAMCO shop and either pick up our car or stare them down until it was done) and a toddler is the Lamar Haines Memorial Loop hike. It's also called the Veit Springs Loop or Veit Springs Trail hike. 

It's only about 1.5 miles to make the beautiful picturesque loop along with some fun spur trails to explore.

Take highway 180 (the road to go to Snowbowl and the Grand Canyon) north and then turn right on Snow Bowl Road. You'll go about 4-5 miles and at a bend you'll see a gate. Park at the gate and the trail starts just beyond the gate.

Our X-man was upset because he fell right away. However, things got better quickly.

These aspens had *just* fallen onto the trail! We were told about it by some other hikers and they just missed being hit by them! Look at the others leaning! I suspect it's because of the record rains this summer has really soaked the ground more than the trees have been accustomed to. 

Meanwhile, some of the most adorable wildlife on the trail:

So Gorgeous!

This rock was so flat on the top, it would be a perfect place to catch a nap!
The is the site of Ludwig Veit's Cabin, built in 1892.  Well, is and was. The cabin itself has been cut down so that no one can enter it - it stands about 5 feet tall now - but it is still an interesting artifact.

How we saw the cabin on our hike.
I found this picture of the cabin (taken before it was knocked down)
Just as we finished the hike, a miracle happened. The incompetent shop actually called us to tell us our car was ready. I didn't think that shop was capable of first, calling us for a change, and two, actually finishing the work! We were previously wondering how we were going to get the rental car back before that place closed, and now we didn't have to worry about it.  There was still a good hour to do that. Another "bone" that was thrown in this situation! I am grateful for that, because in case you couldn't tell, my patience was gone. 

My theme song understatement of the year. Contains the "a" word. 

Therefore, we could have gotten on the road to head back home around 5pm, but I had to take advantage of one more "it's not hot here" opportunity - vacuuming out the car. At home, it's so hot that vacuuming out the car in the garage or at a self-serve is so frustrating. Not in Flagstaff! The breeze was cool - the temps were going down to the upper 60s and rain clouds were moving in. Time to throw some quarters in a vacuum and take care of business! I know Chris thinks I'm crazy which such priorities - especially when we have to get home, but I wasn't going to let this opportunity to vacuum out the car sweat-free and sun-free go by!

After that, we headed home. We waited until we were an hour south of Flagstaff before we grabbed dinner. We tried "Famous Pizza" in Camp Verde. Yum! If you want to go there, take the Camp Verde exit where you see McDonalds. Famous Pizza is across from McDonalds in the parking lot where the World's Largest Kokopelli is. 
World's Largest Kokopelli
X-man drawing while waiting for our Pizza.
His two snowmen! Wow! Age 2 years and 7 months.

And this hopefully ends our Car Saga.

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