As a man, I am in charge that the car will get us through to the east coast and back (Tfu, tfu, tfu, Hamsa, Hamsa, knock on wood). So, the first thing to do is of course to clean the car. Mind you, this car has not been cleaned for 10 years some of which it spent parked outside under a tree and used as a shelter for the local squirrels. The person I turned to for advice is my friend D which I knew details his rare sports car every other week. I booked an appointment for my car to be detailed at the car spa he recommended (3 weeks wait) and when the day came, smoothly parked our 2004 Toyota minivan in a free spot between a brand new Maserati and a nice new Porsche. The receptionist took one look at the car and added three hours + other fees for the job. I signed the car in and promised I will take it back. 10 hours later, the car was ready and I couldn’t recognize it – it looked spanking new. Worth it.

Next, just to be sure, I took it into the Toyota service to fix all the stuff that the folks in the servicing department told me that need to be done for several years and I just ignored since I knew that if something happens, I can bring it over to them to fix. Not anymore when I am a thousand miles away. The service manager could not believe this is an old Sienna and kept touching it and saying how smooth it is. I of course told him that this is how a car should be kept. The service cost probably more than the car is worth but I’d rather not get stuck on the road (Tfu, tfu, tfu, Hamsa, Hamsa, knock on wood).

So, the car is ready and a day before the big trip I took it out of the garage so that we can hookup the rooftop cargo box (too high to fit into the garage). This is the place to mention that we had a beautiful summer with no raindrop for weeks and no significant winds. That night, we had the first rain and wind storm of the autumn and when we woke up the car was completely covered with these sticky thorny leaves that you need to pull off the car one by one. So, instead of spending 2 minutes covering the car at night I spent an hour trying to unsuccessfully get rid of these annoying leaves. Here’s how it looked like in the morning:

It did eventually clean up nicely after driving through three states:


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