When you stop to ponder your AAA membership, how safe Canada is and what this all means for family travel on a Monday


December 15, 2015 by Terumi

homemade gluten-free peanut butter cake

I met a few angels this weekend on my drive to Vancouver.  What started out as a mission to celebrate my grandpa’s 91st and my sister’s 30-ish birthday made for a bit of a disaster.

My car almost broke down on a big bridge in Vancouver, but thankfully crawled and spluttered a little farther and only ended up on the side of the highway.  ONLY.  I was in high panic mode while thankfully my two little guys slept peacefully in the back seat because it was late and I usually drive this route after putting my kids to sleep in the car.  (I have driven the route between Seattle and Vancouver SO many times and nothing like this has ever happened.)

take a picture when you're stuck to send to towtruck like one that comes with AAA membership

My first angel arrived shortly after I stopped while I was frantically calling my husband.  “Are you here to help me?” my husband heard me tearfully ask my tattooed, orange-jacketed, burly angel with a flashing truck from a helpless 100 miles away. “Well, are you in need of help?”  Thankfully this angel helped me get my car off the road and out of the way of the traffic flying by.  He even offered to call me a tow truck but said I was better off with AAA if I had it.

And thankfully we have AAA membership. I always think about quitting AAA.  I only need so many maps and I hardly use the discounts and I’ve never been towed before.  After this, I will get AAA  forever.  I love you for life AAA.  I have no idea where in Vancouver I was and somehow their tow truck found me with my vague and fearful directions.  (It is so handy now though with GPS to give a semi-decent idea of where in the world you might be. My husband also used the find my iphone feature to help as well.)  My sweet second angel, my savior AAA tow truck driver, calmed my nerves and told me that my family was safe and we’d be rescued while I waited for my dad to arrive.

And how handy is it that when you are in your 30’s with little kids of your own that you can still call your dad to pick you up and save you from whatever jam you get yourself into.  My dad has had so many of these calls from me over the years that I’m lucky he still answers them-but I know wherever I am, he will always get me and make me safe.  I hope that I can pay this debt forward to my kids but I totally forbid them from getting themselves in troubles like this.

Because this jam definitely gets better.

We get towed to the car dealership that can fix my car and I lock the car and fill out the little form and stick the keys in an envelope in the door.

And then I realize the light is on and glowing in my locked car.

At least it’s at the dealership, where they can fix it right?

But when we finally arrive in my parents driveway, I realize I do not have my passports. They are in the car, the car with the lights on in the back alley behind a car dealership.  They are in a giant wallet, with money and credit cards sitting in that car and they are basking in a big warm spotlight of come and get me now.

But Canada is a lovely place and I must have had a four-leaf clover in my pocket this weekend.  When my dad drove me back out to where we dropped my car off everything was fixed and fine in the morning.  My passports were there.  My money was there.  My car had suffered a wheel misfunction and the dealership fixed it for free.  To top it all off when I got in my car to drive away there was a rainbow in the sky overhead.

rainbow in the sky after a traumatic event

And we made it to the birthday.  The kind of special birthday that makes you feel happy for sweet people in your life. And I would do the whole weekend minus the awful getting stuck part all over again.

grandpa and grandaughter share a birthdaybeautiful sunset and family walking the dyke in steveston

So these are the things I learned about family car travel from this experience that hopefully will make me wiser.

  1. Always bring snacks and water (like an earthquake prep bag) when you travel just in case you get stuck.
  2. Make sure your passport is always in the same place even though you feel lazy and just want to flop it around in your car after you cross the border.  Pull over and put it away.
  3. If you go to a place where your dad can’t get you make sure you think of a plan like having something like AAA membership just in case something happen.

At least we survived and there was cake.

(PS Do you have AAA?  Have you ever broken down on the highway????  Do you have any tips for family road trip travel?)






  1. I love a good story that ends with a rainbow…

  2. mrsportiasmith says:

    This post brought me to tears! As a momma of two little ones, as well, I can totally relate to the panic that sets in, and feeling helpless! Thankful for kind people in this world! Glad you made it to the celebration – and yes we have AAA and have used it a few times. I highly recommend it to anyone! Better safe than sorry 🙂 Happy Holidays! xoxo

  3. Colleen says:

    What a trip! Thank God everything worked out just fine. We don’t have AAA but this post makes me think I should! 🙂

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