Bill is the Vehicle Coordinator for the mission and even though this does not involve oil changes or fixing brakes, it keeps him very busy. We have received 5 new Chevy Malibu's in the last month, two Toyota Corolla's are waiting to be picked up as soon as the paper work is done, and 4 Fords are in the works. This creates many phone calls, faxes, computer work and more phone calls for him. These cars have to be delivered to missionaries and the cars they have been driving are brought to the mission office to be cleaned, inspected, repairs made to any incidental damage, advertised and sold.
In addition to this, three cars have been involved in accidents since we got here. The first one happened the weekend we arrived back in August and it was caused by the missionary going around a corner at too high a speed, skidding and taking out the right rear fender/bumper on a guard rail. The next two happened General Conference weekend. A deer tried to cross the road and didn't survive the impact with the car. And a pickup driving toward the missionaries car lost a wheel which sped down the highway and hit the missionaries' car then went under the car. Damages came to over $6000 for that one, but because it was a fairly new car, it was not totaled. Fortunately, there were no injuries with the exception of the deer. Needless to say, that creates a lot more phone calls, paperwork, reports, faxes, etc.
However, not all is unpleasant. A week ago Wednesday, we found out the damage to the "tire accident" car was going to take more time to repair than first estimated. One of the new cars needed to be delivered to Elders West and Papa in Ithica, which is about 100 miles from Utica. The elders with the damaged car were in Cortland, which is half way in between. So Bill drove the new Malibu and I drove our car and we went to Ithica, found their apartment without much trouble (thank goodness for the GPS which seems to work a lot better here than out West), dropped off the new car and picked up the old one. The elders were a tiny bit disappointed--the old car was a 2008 Malibu, same color as the new one, and didn't look a bit different! Somehow, it just didn't feel like a new car. We visited for a few minutes then headed to Cortland. Again, we found their house without much trouble, but we couldn't find Elders Spotz and Dalton! We rang what we thought was the bell to their apartment, but no one answered. So we called them (thank goodness for cell phones--every missionary companionship has one) and they said they would be there shortly, they were just around the corner. We waited another 10 minutes because just around the corner was a few blocks and they were on foot. They were grateful for the wheels, they had already been on foot for two weeks. They took us up to their apartment--they live in a big, three-story colonial that had been divided into three apartments. They live in half of the second floor and we were impressed with how clean it was. I wished we had brought cookies... Again, we visited for a few minutes then drove home. Cortland is a pretty town with some really impressive old buildings. We took a short detour and drove past the Catholic cathedral the elders told us about. It was close to 200 years old and beautiful. I wished it had been a better day so we could take pictures, but it rained all day. In spite of the rain, it was a beautiful drive, the leaves were still colorful and we enjoyed the outing.