Sunday, March 13, 2011

Big Car + Small Parking Garage = Bad

Hee Hee.... This is funny now. This was NOT funny then. (Well, I kinda thought it was a little funny then...) :)

Both in Brussels and Paris, at both hotel parking garages... our car was too tall. I guess technically our car plus the roof top carrier thingy was too tall. Minor detail that I've never thought about before, but you can be sure that from now on I will check hotel parking restrictions. What a pain!

We were told that our car would not fit and that we would have to take the carrier off. I decided that maybe we could make it, I thought maybe the "restriction height" was more of a "safety precaution" or a "suggestion". :) Nope, turns out the "restriction" height was pretty darn accurate.

It was just that the thought of unattaching the roof top carrier sounded so miserable so we thought we'd try to fit anyways. We got into the parking garage by shoving the garage door up a bit as Paul squeezed his Giant BMW in. We felt pretty hopeful... WHOO HOOOO!!! ...but not really. That got us in, but then we were surrounded by concrete overhangs and there was no way we were squeezing those out of the way.

So at 11:00pm, after driving seven hours, with four tired children we are now unloading the whole roof carrier and taking it off the roof. Then Paul got to carry it to the -4th parking level, which was the EASY job because, I had to drive.

This parking garage had the tightest of spiraly ramps on earth. I got to the -2nd floor and got stuck in the spiral. I couldn't go up, I couldn't go down. I was just stuck. By the time I was done, I had wedged myself into the worst position possible and I was pretty irritated. The car is beeping at me from every direction because both bumpers were within inches of the concrete walls both in the front and back. I was seriously stuck. So I just sat there and waited for Paul to save us. I still don't even understand how he got us out. I happily carried the roof top thingy the rest of the way down.

Once at the bottom of the parking dungeon we had to manipulate the car into a spot in which we had centimeters to spare on either side of the car. That was also fun.

I won't talk about scraping the corner of our front bumper on the last spiral OUT of the evil Paris Parking Garage. It's not a laughing matter quite yet and therefore off limits for making fun of. However, if I was going to mention it, I would have to mention that I did NOT do it.

Oh, more Roof Top Carrier fun...

As we were leaving Hamburg the car was loaded and ready to go. All we had to do was lock the carrier closed.

Long story short... the key broke in half and it ended up locked closed on top of the car. Fine, but we needed to open it when we got there so we had to deal with it. My engineer figured out how to use half of the key in combination with some big pliers and a screwdriver. Using this ghetto method we were able to lock and unlock it with some consistency so we thought we were all good... Off we went, with half a key and some other tools/weapons in case we had to pry it open at the hotel ...which we did.

On our last day in Paris, our half a key trick finally wore off. So Paul, with sincere hatred, beat the roof top carrier until it opened. It was now "unlocked", but had a hole where the lock thingy used to be. Hmpf. We had some straps so we strapped it closed and went about our travels. I'll happily say goodbye to it.

Fun Times...


franziengland said...

I truly really really understand this wasn't funny at all when it happened! I hate small parking garage! That together with tired children (and parents!) would have made me the worst mom ever! At least it is good when we can laugh afterwards and I have to admit I did sometimes while reading your text. Sorry! Thanks for sharing both good and bad things happening to you!

Mads and Kelli said...

If I remember correctly this is not the first HAPPY EXPERIENCE in a parking garage in Europe!! Life is never dull with you guys!


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