29 April 2009

The Minute-by-Minute Details

LET'S MAKE THIS short and sweet. I think bullet-points are best way to go in order to avoid unnecessary details. Here's what you need to understand this timeline: we were driving a 2002 Renault Scenic with 90,000km on the clock. Not exactly an ancient vehicle.

  • Thursday, April 23, 2009, 11:07am - we role out of our driveway and begin our trip to Annecy and Geneva.
  • 3:50 - while overtaking a truck, our Renault loses all power and we pull to the side of the road.
  • 3:52 - it becomes clear we have a pretty big problem.
  • 3:53 - we also realize we have no idea where we are (we took the 'scenic' route along the Route de Napoleon.
  • 5:00 - finally contact a garage and they come tow us to La Croix Haute, France (we'd never heard of it either).
  • 5:30 - we're told the car will have to stay at least 3-4 four days.
  • 5:31 - what the hell are we supposed to do now?
  • 5:32 - oh, there's a train station across the street? Sweet. We'll take the train to Annecy and rent a car when we get there.
  • 5:45 - I begin to think that this may cost us about 1000 Euros!
  • 6:00 - train is supposed to arrive.
  • 6:25 - train arrives.
  • 10:08 - we arrive in Annecy (layover, including dinner at Quick, in Grenoble)
  • Friday - Sunday go smoothly and we have a wonderful time.
  • Monday, April, 27, 2009 - 10:15am - Renault Garage in Veynes, France tells me over the phone that the car is très malade (it has a broken distributor) and can I call back later that afternoon.
  • 2:00 - with the help of our friend Candide, I talk to our local Renault garage to see if they might know how much it would cost to fix a broken distributor.
  • 2:01 - my stomach begins to hurt when they say 2000-3000 Euros.
  • 2:04 - the pain in my stomach worsens as the numbers 2000 and 3000 begin to sink in.
  • 2:05 - our local garage promises to call the garage in Veynes and talk with them.
  • 5:30 - the local garage calls to let us know that the Veynes garage thinks it will cost 5000 Euros to fix the car.
  • 5:31 - more pain in other various parts of my body.
  • 6:05 - we call the garage in Veynes (thanks again, Candide) and they now say it will cost 7200 Euros to fix the car and it would probably be better to just junk it.
  • 6:06 - 6:23 - I have no recollection of this period of time.
  • Tuesday, April 28, 2009, 9:20am - I visit a local english-speaking garage for their opinion on what to do. They say they can't imagine that a broken distributor caused that much damange. They also suggest I have to car towed back to our part of France because they have a feeling they can fix the problem for significantly less money -- and there is certainly no need to junk the car.
  • 9:30 - the english-speaking garage says they can tow it for 400 Euros. Great news!
  • 2:20 - the english-speaking garage calls to say there was a misunderstanding with the towing company and it actually going to cost about 800-1000 Euros. Not so great news!
  • 3:30 - Kerri and I begin hitting the internet looking for cars we can buy; not exactly a fun process in France!
  • 4:20 - I realize that our Renault Scenic -- the one I like to make fun of -- is actually a perfect car for us.
  • 6:30 - we head to some friends house for a wonderful dinner! It keeps our mind off the damn car.
  • Wednesday, April 29, 1:34pm - some good news. After spending the morning trying to figure out how to get our car (with all our things still in it, mind you) back to our house we find a place that rents tow-trucks by the day! Estimate to have it towed professionally were all in the 800-1000 Euros range.
  • 2:30 - using just my regular driving license, I reserve a flat-bed tow truck for one day 180 Euros plus gas.
  • 2:31 - I privately gloat that the towing companies will not be getting my business, or my 800 Euros.
  • 2:34 - I wonder if other countries let people rent flat-bed tow trucks with nothing but a standing driving license, knowing that they are going to drive 400km through very mountainous terrain.

That's the skeleton version of where we are right now.



Jonathan et Kari said...



That sounds awful.

angus said...

I feel for you dude!

I've liked that car ever since I saw it on your 'cribs' bit. I especially love the airline trays for the kids!

And to add insult to injury...you just put on new back tires while we were there!!!!

poppy fields said...

I've had to change the distributor on our old Scenic, and it cost 700-800 euros, no more.

Jennifer said...

Just sent email to Kerri that we could help this weekend as we aren't far i Grenoble. good luck if you are there now. PS.Yelling is politically correct to prevent getting ripped off in France!

Kevin said...

OK, Monday, 6:06 to 6:23 entry made me laugh out loud. I had a horror story coming back from Boston last week that I was going to share with you (think of Steve Martin and John Candy movie), but it seems so comparatively silly now.

French for a While said...

Kevin...do tell!
Poppy...but did you replace it before it broke?