After four nights in Vegas, I was more than ready to get back to Reno and have a good rest before picking up the car and heading home.
On the seven hour drive, I got some pictures of some scenery I missed.
Back in Reno, my sweetie's dad was away on business but we had fun hanging out with his step-mom, who convinced his dad to give him his grandma's banjo. Apparently she was like a rock star in the 20's. It was awesome!
Of course the car was late getting finished the next morning, but we still were on track to get home by 2am Tuesday... until the car broke down in La Grande, Oregon, 5 hours from home.
...And I had a virtual release party planned for BITE AT FIRST SIGHT the next afternoon.
It was irony at its best. Right after getting front end work done on the car, the rear blew up. Thankfully we broke down right by a hotel... with an internet connection.
Too exhausted to do anything, we checked into the hotel and called all the nearby parts stores first thing in the morning.
The thing about having an old car and trying to get parts is that it can take awhile. We were told by all that it would take until the next day. It was a good thing my sweetie had just gotten paid from one of his jobs and was able to get the room for another night because, thanks to the Planet Hollywood overcharging my account by $465, I only had 45 bucks to my name.
But there was nothing to be done about it. We went and picked up some lunch at a wonderful cafe, picked up some hard cider and my sweetie dealt with the car while I first fought with the hotel. (The Planet Hollywood, NOT The La Grande Inn.) I had to bring my bank in on a three-way conversation before I got anywhere. I got a little over half of my money back.
Then I celebrated my book release.
Despite being stranded, I actually had a nice time. The party was fun, I got to interact with a ton of readers and authors I adore, AND reviews for BITE AT FIRST SIGHT were popping up everywhere, casting a cheerful glow on my troubles.
Another cool thing about La Grande was that it had a Trolley! I forgot to get a picture, but here's one from google images.
The next day as we got the parts, we discovered that we needed tools we didn't have to do the repair (But at least we HAD tools. Always have tools when you have an old car). So we had to take it to the shop... as we're both mechanics, this was a blow to our pride.
The shop then discovered that we were given the WRONG parts. That meant another day of waiting... and fighting with the Planet Hollywood to get the rest of my money back. But at least I had some of it and was able to reserve the room for another night.
We had dinner at this fantastic barbecue restaurant. 17 bucks got us brisket, tri-tip, ribs, mashed red potatoes, cheesy cauliflower-broccoli bake, and cornbread. And it was delicious.
We walked back to the hotel and got a friendly wave and smile from the local sheriff (With constant sights of my boyfriend walking to the parts store and auto repair shop and the jacked up car in the hotel parking lot, I figure he knew our situation). Really, everyone in that town was super-nice. If you end up stranded, let it be somewhere like La Grande.
We cuddled and watched Con-Air before going to bed.
The car was ready the next morning right at check-out time and we were finally on the road home. My boyfriend even got to pump his own gas in Oregon, because with his car's antique filler hose, the attendant decided it "would be best that way."
There aren't many interesting sights on the drive from there to Coeur d'Alene, but we did see these nifty rock formations.
Then a whole lotta nothing.
By the time we reached Spokane, we joked about how we never imagined we'd be so happy to see it. (It's a rival town thing).
Another bit of local humor are two signs you pass on the way home. First is "Now Leaving Apple Maggot Quarantine Zone" followed by the beloved, "Welcome to Idaho!"
After this crazy trip, I am eternally grateful to all of my friends and family, in person as well as online. Your supportive comments and words of encouragement lightened my stress.
And I cannot thank my boyfriend enough. Yet again, if he hadn't been with me, I would have been royally screwed. And his attitude about the whole thing was calm and optimistic. He didn't yell or freak out, which in turn made me not freak out. He helped turn a series of calamities into a romantic vacation. And THAT is why BITE AT FIRST SIGHT is dedicated to him.
One reader is completely right. I need to get him a good present. I'm going to start with a new blower motor for his car so the heater will work... and then I have some other, more fun ideas.
So, that was how I spent the week of my third book release. I don't think I want to travel again for awhile.
Check out PART ONE and PART TWO