Monday, June 03, 2024

Edisto Island, Day 4: The van needs a spa day, too...

Here's Phoebe greeting the ocean on Tuesday morning (you can see our early birds already in the water).

Because we had to drive into Charleston for my optometry appointment in the afternoon we were sure to hit the beach earlier in the day and didn't let anyone sleep in.

In all honesty, we were ready for a half-beach day after our full beach day on Monday. Plus, Andrew had wanted to do one meal at the beach as a take-out or order-in or something, but there weren't really any eating establishments (that we could afford) nearby. So he was excited to go back into the city for dinner, which would give him a break from cooking. And I don't blame him—he did a lot of good cooking at the beach!

Here's Miriam hunting through shells. We have heard for years and years about how many shark teeth there are on these east coast beaches. Hunting for shark teeth is a very popular past time at beaches a degree that I personally never heard of on the west coast. Like, I never once considered going to the beach and hunting for shark teeth—shells, sand dollars, starfish, crabs, lobster? Yes, yes, yes, yes, and sometimes. But shark teeth? I just never considered looking. 

I don't know why...because it's not like there aren't sharks off the coast of the Pacific Northwest. 

But there you have it.

Anyway, all of Miriam's looking paid off. She found one shark tooth amongst the shells and then when she was cleaning out her bathing suit after a rough day of boogie boarding she found another one inside her suit. Lucky girl!

Here's Andrew and all the kids working on their "danger castle" or "calamity castle" or whatever they're calling it these days. It's been a favourite beach game of Andrew's for years—building the castle where the tide will swoop in and take it at any moment. They spend more of their time fending off the waves than they do constructing the castle. 

I've tried to convince them for years to move inland a bit, spend some time creating a really great sandcastle before the tide comes in...but they all just continued to follow Andrew's cue and build with the waves crashing onto their backs and eating away at the foundations of their castles.

Here's Phoebe doing some boogie boarding with Daddy's help:

And here's Benjamin wading in to get a little assistance as well:

All the big kids eventually ended up out there together, which was fun!

While the big kids played in the water, Phoebe and I spent some time playing together in the sand.

We built our sandcastle where we had plenty of time to add embellishments before the waves leveled it.

And here she is relaxing in a little sand pit before we went inside to get cleaned up so we could head into town:

My optometry appointment went well. My prescription hasn't changed, which is good, I suppose. And I ordered new sunglasses (and can now hop online and order others, I suppose). And eating at Cook Out was fun (we haven't had Cook Out since 2019, I think—it's a North Carolina restaurant, which has expanded around the surrounding states; the closest one to us in Alpharetta).

On the way home we had to stop for Phoebe to use a gas station bathroom...and decided just to gas up as well. 

When we were pulling back onto the freeway I noticed our battery indicator turn on. 

"What does that mean?" I asked Andrew. 

"I don't know," he said. 

"I'll find out," I said, opening the glove box and pulling out the manual.

Isn't it interesting that we still call that little storage space the "glove box" or "glove compartment?" 

I don't know of anyone who wears driving gloves these days. And the only person I really knew who did wear driving gloves on occasion was my grandma...who has been dead for twenty one years now. 

That's a lot of years elapsing with never having seen anyone pull driving gloves out of the glove compartment, so I just thought I'd tell my kids the reason it's called that—because people used to keep their driving gloves in that little box. Now we keep our car manual there, along with some other necessities like napkins, proof of insurance, and things like that.

Anyway, I pulled the manual out of the glove box and learned that the battery indicator actually indicates that the battery is not charging...because the alternator has bit the dust. 

Our manual didn't offer much information beyond that, so I hopped online and learned that we should immediately turn off anything that might use the battery—the radio, the A/C, everything. 

So we drove the rest of the way in hot silence while I researched nearby auto mechanics on my phone. 

We pulled in at the beach house and opened the hood of the van, where we looked at it and said, "Yup. That's an engine alright."

There wasn't much to do that evening, really, because all the car shops were closed, so we headed to the beach to play Fruit Basket in the setting sun, putting off all the fretting about the van for later.

I woke up at 7:00 the next morning to start calling around. 

None of the "we'll come to you!" mechanics would service our area. Many other mechanics said we'd never make it all the way out to their location before we died on the side of the road.

There's something to be said about "getting away from it all." Edisto Beach was quiet, a lovely hidden treasure. But it was also certainly "away from it all," including things like restaurants and auto mechanics, which is all fun and games until you really don't want to cook and your van breaks down.

But I finally found one place—South Coast Auto Center in Hollywood, SC, about 35 minutes away from where we were staying—who said they could fix our van up.

"We're currently staying on Edisto Island," I explained to the man on the phone. "And our battery indicator came on, which I am pretty sure means our alternator has gone out."

"Certainly does, ma'am. What type of vehicle do you have?"

"It's a Honda Odyssey from 2009."

"Mmmmhmmmm...we can fix that."

"Okay, great! Ummm...we really need to have our van back up and running by Friday so we can drive home on Saturday. Would you be able to fit us in this week?"

"Sweetheart," the man on the phone said confidently (I get called ma'am, sweetheart, and darlin' constantly down here, so I'm assuming that's normal. It's starting to feel normal). "I can get that done in a couple of hours."


"Sure. Just bring 'er on down to me and I'll have you fixed up by this afternoon."

Golly! I have never hung up the phone feeling so happy! 

Andrew and Reid drove two cars down to the mechanic and dropped our van, which just barely limped its way into the garage. By the time they arrived the battery was all but drained—the brake light wasn't coming on, etc.—but just like they'd promised, our van was ready to pick up that afternoon (this time Rachel went and helped drive vehicles). 

Our little Odyssey is feeling as good as least better than she was feeling before (and it was only $650!! which is less than we were expecting to pay). 

In a way, when you think about it, losing my glasses and heading into Charleston ended up being a good thing because it allowed our car to malfunction when we were close enough to the beach house to make it 'home' and then out to a mechanic before it stopped functioning altogether. 

Had we not taken this extra trip into Charleston, our alternator likely would have gone out on the drive home (which is 5 times as long as the drive into Charleston), and it would have likely ended up stranded somewhere, needing a tow into whatever mechanic we found, and then would have just...had to sit around and wait while they fixed the car.

So it worked out very well, all things considered!


  1. I have a pair of leather driving gloves which I wear regularly (at least in the winter).

  2. Funny about the glove box.

    I'm glad you were able to get your van fixed pretty quickly. Hooray for helpful mechanics, eh, sweetheart? ;) :D (This actually reminds me of books I read from Britain where they often call people - strangers! - "love." Maybe the same idea??)