Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Short version:

We rented a camper, mid week, off season.  We drove for 50 minutes and my car BLEW UP.  We spent 6 hours trying to get the camper back to the dealer and they are trying to charge us for a full week.  I understand policy and we're hardly trying to take advantage.  We offered to pay for the day or even 2 but we had the camper for 50 minutes before we blew up.  The company is demanding we pay the full week.  What happened to compassion, my car blew up! We only had it 50 minutes, the rest of the day was trying to get hold of camper dude and trying to get back to Austin from San Antonio!  SERIOUSLY! What happened to Texan courtesy and love and caring for your fellow man?

Seriously, my car is GONE but Dependable Camper rentals:
 http://www.dependablecamperrentals.com/ 512-484-7955 is refusing to even work with us.  They are demanding a week's payment.  I don't think so.  Don't rent from them, if something happens to your car or truck, like, say the engine blows up (as ridiculous a possibility) they're not going to give a damn.  I am going to be in touch with all the authorities i can think of to help us, a friend suggestion the Attorney General Consumer Fraud department, I don't know if it can help us but I'm on it.  

I'm outraged and I fully intend on taking my friends in social media with me and we're going to make some noise. 

For your entertainment, in the mean time, here is the story of today: 

We loaded the car with a weeks worth of camping in luxury supplies. Husband and child went to get the camper we rented from dependable camper rentals (remember the name, you'll be writing letters for/with me later!) I cleaned the house and loaded the coolers. They returned and we loaded the popup. Checked all around, waved good bye to the house for our first vacation in 14 months, we stopped for gas and drove toward Garner State Park. Happiest day I've had in a year, or more, I was so so so so so excited. Us, on vacation, in a state park, at Garner, in a popup, with our own stuff.  We even went and bought a camp stove and a table to go outside.  I'd made a rug!  Seriously, this was an enormous, gigantic, deal for us.

At 10:48, we turned on 410 in San Antonio and the car blew up.  The engine went insane, smoke poured from under the hood.  BOOM!

Husband pulled over onto a triangle shoulder between the highway and an onramp. Child and I sat there and waited for murderers while Husband bravely walked the ridiculous distance to the nearest (ha) Target to buy oil and other man vs car things. He made the walk and back in an hour. He's a hero.

He valiantly tried to get the car going. With a little coaxing, he managed to limp us off the highway, whew, no murderers.
I called my friend, whose father's house was literally a throw from where we perished. We tried to backroad the car, go a little, rest a little, go a little, to the house to park the car and unload the trailer.
We died before we got there, at the stop sign of a 4 lane road, we would have had to cross it. The car made an awful noise which I think was a death threat to us and died.
I knocked on the door of the house and a creepy guy with a lovely wife came out. They called people from their "network" ?? to see about suggestions for a mechanic or anyone. No.

Husband's mother lives in south San Antonio. We haven't seen her in a long time. Not awkward at all. She, being a mom, rushed to our rescue. 

She drove us to a local Uhaul, then another, to get a truck, with a ball. Good thing we don't have to pay for the trailer, so we have uhaul money (remember...dependable camper rentals... we'll get back to them!)
We rented a Uhaul, 10 footer, 2 seats, 3 people. I parked my ass on a cooler in the middle, my butt will never be the same. We, as a family ceased to be able to speak, the disappointment was palpable. I couldn't even look at Child, he was crushed.
We drove the Uhaul to my dead car. We emptied the car and the camper and put it all in the Uhaul (truck).
Some guy, a friend of my mother in laws husband, came with an enormous tow truck and hauled Precious (my car) away to locations unknown. He was a lovely, smiley, man who nodded at me a lot. I took pictures and waved.
We hooked the camper up to the truck, said our good byes to mother in law and people in the house, our new friends, and climbed into the truck to head home.
I'm too old and my butt too old to be comfy parked on a cooler. I didn't say a word. None of us really spoke.
We stopped at the gigantic Bucee's truck stop for food. We hadn't eaten or drank all day. It was 3pm at this point.
It felt like a very very long day.
We wandered Bucee's and realized we needed real food. We bought souvenir crap, a hat for me and a shot glass. A pillow and a bracelet with beavers on them for Child.  Husband could barely contain his fury at the car and trip. He is a hunter gatherer and my hero. He arranged this trip to surprise us with the thing we all wanted to do so desperately. As badly as I wanted a vacation, needed a break, I think the success of it meant more to him. Did I mention he is the hero in all this? He kept us warm and safe and dry and arranged to get us saved and the car towed and the truck rented and the camper hauled.

We left Bucees and drove to Cracker Barrel. That's where you go on vacation. I ordered breakfast. I was delivered of my food without toast. Ok, so there's a little stress going on here so the fact I didn't have my toast seemed the absolute end of the world. I started to take it out on the waitress, explaining that I knew it wasn't her fault my day had gone to hell but that because SHE was in front of me when I wasn't happy, then SHE was going to get it full in the face and I was sorry but I was going to explode. Child said I was scary and Husband just stared and muttered something about leaving the poor girl alone. It was a tense moment. We were all feeling a little stress, from different directions. 

We left after we'd eaten anyway. My eggs were almost raw though, you know the jiggly, slimy white bit that just sort of oozes and half slimes around your plate and toast, yeah, turned me off. I ate bacon.
We drove to the camper rental. HERE WE GO! Dependable Camper Rentals (Husband had been calling the guy ALL DAY LONG to no answer) He finally called and told the guy we'd had to return the camper, that my car had blown up and he was happy to pay the day's rate? and we would get hold of them as soon as we could make another vacation plan and the guy said NO! HE IS GOING TO CHARGE US THE FULL WEEK. I don't THINK so buddy! 

I am so furious and am going to start a campaign that makes the Cuisinart deal look like a church function. How dare that dude pull that on THIS GUY who just wanted to take his family on vacation and had a damned car blow up. OH NO NO NO NO NO. 

I'm going to YELP (and you are too because you heard the story and you can Yelp as how your friend had a hell experience with them) I mean c'mon, it's not the middle of summer or a high season, it's Tuesday to Sunday in middle April for pete's sake. Oh no, this ain't over. I think the contract isn't any good because I THINK it says 2007 but I digress. I'm just going to do a social media campaign and you'll all help me, I know it, because I cannot cope with this day and the loss of our vacation time, just us 3 to reconnect. I am not a happy camper and may weep again. 

SO, we dropped the camper off and came home. 

We emptied the truck of all our vacation loot, which was a lot. Child stayed home to unload food (he deserves a pony, poor little guy so sad and disappointed, he just wanted to camp and fish with his dad) I jumped into the Mini and followed Husband in the truck to return the Uhaul truck. 

Location 1, sorry, closed, can't return it. Husband calls Uhaul. They give him another location to return the truck.
Location 2, sorry, business relocated. it's not even a Uhaul location. Husband.loses.his.mind.

He calls me and we decide to just come home. Child has moved all our clothes to our rooms, he put all the food and groceries away. He wants to play XBox, hell yeah baby, eat oreos while you do it! ANYTHING you want! 

We contacted our chicken sitter, they're off the hook. We called the Pug sitters, we'll go tomorrow to retrieve Walter and Hurricane Baby Alice. I'm borrowing a friends truck to go get my Lola tomorrow because of her enormous crate. 

Who knows what the hell the car will cost. I'm very angry at it and might kick it when it gets back here. I hate it, it stole our vacation. I may hit it with a stick, angrily.  I don't love it any more.

Some guy called Husband's mother, who called us to say there was a problem with the 8th piston... some feat considering my car is a 6 banger.  Whatever, I don't even care today.  I hate that car and it wrecked our vacation.

At the end of the day, we are healthy, together, safe and even though we're out of pocket, our disappointment will fade and this will be a Griswald vacation story we'll tell at parties and everyone will laugh, including us. (I did take photos of the day and will put them together as our million dollar for nothing day vacation) Today though, we're so very disappointed and I still need a damned day off.

I'm car-less in way N/E Austin so I will need to be picked up and drank with and delivered back home, if anyone is looking to babysit me ;) I won't be needy for a day or two, I fully intend on hiding out, pouting and generally feel sorry for us for a bit.
I just thought you'd like to know who am I disappointed in, it's Dependable Camper Rentals.  I am writing letters at the moment and will continue to do so.  ANY suggestions on places to share my story about them will be appreciated.  Heck, copy this and share it for me, I'd love that. 

Anyway, THAT is how we spent 11 hours and 30 minutes today. A friend went on vacation last weekend and regaled me with stories of her horror vacation when she and her husband were poisoned...ha, amateur, we totally win :D

THAT, was our day, our vacation and the shock and awe that it is being in our family.  


  1. ADDENDUM: I've spoken to other people who have rented from this place and had bad experiences, been charged for problems that weren't theirs. Stay clear of this place, this guy, SERIOUSLY

  2. So, did you end up getting any of your money back or did they stick you for the entire week? Hate to bring up bad memories, but know someone who is planning on renting from them for Labor Day weekend.