Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Unexpected Vacation, Day 3

(Recall Day 1 and Day 2.)

Russ, the mechanic, expected the distributor for our vehicle to arrive around midday today.  However, we had to check out of the motel by 11:00 A.M., so we ate our breakfast, took our showers, packed our suitcases, and walked the couple blocks from the motel to the automotive shop.  A gentleman getting out of his pickup on main street saw us hauling our luggage and bags down the sidewalk, and he offered to give us a ride to wherever we were headed.  More small-town hospitality!  But we were just a half-block away from the van (still parked outside the shop, which told us that the distributor still hadn't arrived), so we declined his offer, packed our belongings inside the van, and walked around town again to kill some time.

As we walked yesterday and today, I kept jokingly suggesting that we move to warm and welcoming Westhope.  Hillary agreed (she really likes the school's playground), but Suzanna and Abigail declined.  They agree that it's a friendly community, but they kept mentioning things that we can do in Dickinson that we couldn't in Westhope.  Our compromise: we will return to visit Westhope whenever we're in the area (which we are annually for Norwegian camp).

We spent a little time back at the school's playground, but then it started sprinkling, so we went to the city hall to get in from the rain.  It's attached to the motel, and the town's library is there, so we sat reading for a while.  A gentleman who works there (and who helped me yesterday to reserve our room for another night) offered us their TV (which we declined--we could have stayed and read all day), and the motel's maid saw us in there and shared her wishes for good news from the shop (everybody in town seemed to know who we were, why we were there, and what the status was on our vehicle!).

Then we went back to M & D for a late dinner and remained at our table to play cards.  The employee/manager/owner, who yesterday offered us the use of his car, sat with us for a while again today to visit some more.  The city hall/motel employee came to find us (I suppose it was a good guess that we'd be in the restaurant--how many other places in Westhope could we be?) and say that he had a meeting to attend, so he had locked the doors to city hall/the library--but if we'd like to return to our room for the afternoon to nap or watch TV while waiting for our vehicle, we could get our key out of the wall safe and go use the room for no charge.  So nice!!

We didn't take him up on that offer, though, because not long afterward, the restaurant employee/manager/owner popped his head in to say, "Praise the Lord!"  He was announcing that our vehicle was repaired and ready for us to go get.  (A man who works at the automotive shop is married to a woman who works at the restaurant, so the husband called the wife, who told the restaurant employee/manager/owner, who popped in to let us know--gotta love a small town!)  Before we could leave, though, he stopped us with, "Just a minute."  Then he disappeared behind the counter and returned with a foam "to go" container and some napkins, telling us that he was sending some bars with us (cake and chocolate topping, as it turns out) for the road.  So nice!!!

At the shop, I found Russ and the other mechanics and thanked them for their help.  They expressed sympathy for our being stranded but again noted that we'd be welcome to buy a house and remain in Westhope (our three kids would be a nice enrollment boost for the school).  (Yesterday the grocery store owner had pointed out that the post office was just across the street if we wanted to go fill in a change-of-address card.)  We paid our bill (much cheaper than we had expected), got some fuel, thanked the friendly cashier, and headed west out of town.

If you've got to be stranded with car troubles, Westhope, ND is the place for it to happen.


  1. Wow...what a neat experience! Not the breakdown, but the town's people! Love that.

  2. Gotta love small town hospitality!!

  3. Been there, done that! http://rangernathan.blogspot.com/2008/09/odyssey.html