Find a New Love at the DFW Auto Show

DFW Auto Show
Find a new car crush at the DFW Auto Show this year. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Cupid’s arrow pointed me to the DFW Auto Show to find a new love for 2018. Spend Valentine’s Weekend finding a new car crush.

Browse  half-million square feet of new cars, trucks and SUVs. Talk with the manufacturer’s representatives, slide behind the driver’s seat or take one out for a spin at the DFW Auto Show Ride and Drive Event.

DFW Auto Show Details

DFW Auto Show
Kay Baily Hutchison Convention Center
650 S. Griffin

Dates

Wednesday through Sunday, February 14  to 18, 2018

Times

Wednesday: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Thursday: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Friday: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Saturday: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Sunday: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Ticket Prices

  • $14 for adults
  • $7 for senior citizens 65 and older
  • $7 for children 6 to 12 years old; children 5 and under admitted free
  • $10 for active and retired Military members (ID is required)

Getting to the Show

The Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center is located at 650 S. Griffin in downtown Dallas. Parking is available in the Convention Center parking garage ($15) and surrounding lots. Please note that C Hall Parking Lot between Griffin and Lamar will be closed for the Ride & Drive event.

Parking Reservations

The DFW Auto Show has partnered with Spot Hero, the nationwide leader in online parking reservations, to allow visitors to purchase guaranteed parking at many convenient locations near the convention center for the DFW Auto Show.

Once purchased, parking passes are emailed instantly and guarantee you access to your selected location. Parking is very limited and locations fill up, so we strongly recommend that you reserve your 100% guaranteed parking space now.

Get Free Tickets to the DFW Auto Show

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DFW Auto Show
Take a spin at the DFW Drive or Ride Event. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

DFW Auto Show Ride and Drive Event

Take a car out for a spin. It’s my favorite part of attending an Auto Show.

This year the DFW Auto Show offers the following manufacturers.

Toyota

Mazda

Kia

Ford

Nissan

FCA–Fiat, Chrysler, Ram

Honda

Acura

Chevy

DFW Auto Show
See the Redesigned 2018 Toyota Camry at the DFW Auto Show. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

DFW Auto Show VIP Experience

Ticket price: $50

Limited to the first 100 guests. VIP Experience tickets may be purchased online only. Tickets only may be used on the day for which they are purchased.  Saturday or Sunday admission only.

  • Enter early to the Show on Saturday, February 17 or Sunday, February 18, at 9 a.m.
  • Guided Tour*
  • Photo behind the wheel of a featured high-end vehicle. Guests must use their own cameras.*
  • DFW Auto Show Swag Bag
  • VIP Experience Badge

*Please note that the guided tour will begin at 9 a.m. sharp. Photos may only be taken behind the wheel of the featured high-end vehicle from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. for the day you purchase your ticket(s).

Why attend an Auto Show

If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, the local Auto Show should be your first stop. And here’s why:

  • Get an overview what’s the new in the industry-from safety to style.
  • Shop brands efficiently and effectively without the pressure of sales people.
  • Have some fun. I test drove a stick shift convertible just because.
  • Sit in all types of vehicles. Try on that convertible, slide into the luxury SUV.
  • Find a new car crush. A totally out-of-your-league dream. That’s until you win the lotto the same day as the kids get full-ride scholarships.

What’s New at Toyota

While I’m exploring the DFW Auto Show Toyota will find its way to the top of my must see list. Since I’ve driven a Toyota for over 20 years, it’s proven its value and reliability to me.

Toyota have roots in Texas. With a new Toyota headquarters in Dallas/Fort Worth, the design team isn’t far from one of its assembly plants. Toyota trucks are manufactured just south of San Antonio.

DFW Auto show
With a redesign for 2018, the best selling Toyota Camry offers aggressive styling. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

The Redesigned Toyota Camry

Not ever family needs an SUV some desire the efficiency and style of a sedan. Toyota Camry offers a total redesign for 2018, including its hybrid model.

  • Best-Selling Car in America for the last 16 years
  • Standard Toyota Safety Sense-P
  • New Emotionally-Charged Design and Performance Experience
  • Aggressive Exterior Character Lines and Low Center of Gravity
DFW Auto Show
The All New 2018 Toyota CHR offers a new generation of functionality. Courtesy Photo

The All New 2018 C-HR

As a new crossover to the Toyota line-up, the C-HR offers a more compact option to the popular Rav4 and Highlander crossovers.

  • Bold Style Signals New Direction in Toyota Design
  • Sharp Handling
  • Includes Two Toyota-First Features: Driver Distraction Secure Audio and Brake Hold Function
  • Only Vehicle in Its Segment with Standard Pre-Collision System with Active Braking
  • Standard 18-in. Alloy Wheels, Dual-Zone Climate Control, Bucket Seating and 7-in. Audio Display

Disclosure:

This post was sponsored by Toyota and the DFW Auto Show.

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Finding Mom a New Toyota SUV to Love

 

Shop an auto show for convenient vehicle shopping
An auto show is the ideal place for vehicle shopping with all the major manufacturers steps away.

I just wrapped up a day at the DFW Auto Show and after I propped up my feet, I started to think. With tears in my eyes, I was actually thinking about finding a new SUV to love. It seemed so wrong but I had to admit I was in the market to replace the trusty, reliable, super fun-to-drive Toyota 4Runner.

Why attend an Auto Show

If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, the local Auto Show should be your first stop. And here’s why:

  • Get an overview what’s new in the industry–from safety to style.
  • Shop brands efficiently and effectively without the pressure of salespeople.
  • Sit in different types of vehicles. Try on that convertible, sit in the luxury SUV.
  • Have some fun. I test drove a stick shift convertible and took a spin on a truck obstacle track.
  • Find a new car crush. A totally out-of-your-league dream.

I attended the DFW Auto Show to see what’s new with my go-to manufacturer, Toyota. I’ve got a teen itching to get behind the wheel coupled with an aging (sniff, sniff) family SUV.

My Toyota History

My relationship with Toyota began in 1990 with a light blue Corolla 4-door with a manual transmission and air-conditioning. It didn’t even have intermittent wipers or a rear window defogger. But hey, I was a kid and who needed that stuff anyway.

Vehicles are like family members.
Our Toyota 4Runner is a member of the family and the kids love her too.

Next I moved on to my current Toyota, a 2002 4Runner 4WD. A hard-working member of the family that’s hard to replace.

Then a red 2007 Toyota Matrix, nicknamed Britni, came and went. My husband (and the primary driver) said she was a girl car.

Then came the first crossover, the 2012 Toyota RAV4 that was allegedly stolen by a Russian international car theft ring in Montreal, Canada, and shipped to West Africa. Then a 2013 Toyota RAV4 AWD that replaced the stolen RAV4 after our insurance check came through.

My Girl

She’s a trusted friend, always reliably waiting for me and my three kids. Never left me stranded or failed to start, and always ready for an adventure.

I installed my first car seat in her. I strapped my last baby in her. I struggled with mushing three kids into a combination of boosters and carseats in her.

I can’t spill water on the back seat, or I’ll rehydrate a childhood of chocolate milk. I don’t know if she dreamed of being a Mom SUV, but she adapted and became a Mom SUV extraordinaire.

Finding a new SUV to love? I need to replace my beloved 2002 Toyota 4Runner in a few months so the research and the test drives start here.

Moms that drive 4Runners are fun, the guy’s girl that grew up and had a family. As a Mom driving an older 4Runner, I get a tiny thrill when a 20-something guy asks me about my 4Runner. Makes me feel younger, (I know he just wants to buy her but still…).

She’s still looks good on the outside with timeless styling and a paint job that’s held up but I demoted her to short-haul trips. I don’t take her on the long road trips I’ve made into a career.

So the time has come to think about replacing her and passing her down to my kids climbing into the driver’s seat. Though the thought makes me so sad, like putting down a pet. I guess that’s when you know you’ve owned a great vehicle.

The New 2018 C-HR

Toyota CHR, a Toyota Crossover, is a new this year.
The 2018 Toyota C-HR is a compact crossover new to the Toyota line up. Courtesy Photo

As the newest to crossover Toyota line-up, the C-HR offers a compact option to the popular RAV4 and Highlander crossovers.

The new 2018 C-HR offers a distinctive athletic build at an affordable price point, starting at $22K with a premium option at $24K. The rear spoiler and the sport alloy wheels, standard on the XLE, add to its sporty personality.

The estimated MPG is an impressive 27/31. The cargo space offered by the 2018 C-HR is 36.4 cubic feet with folded-down seats and 19.0 cubic feet behind the second row.

With ground clearance coming in at 5.9” along with the lack of AWD, keeps this crossover on the paved roads. A consideration for me, and drivers in rugged locales or snow-prone areas, since I need more control and traction. The seating for five accommodates my three kids.

Though I love the styling, the C-HR doesn’t fit my needs for AWD or cargo space. A sporty option for the younger, less entangled drivers. I’ve got too many things to haul in my life and my SUV.

The RAV4

The Toyota RAV4, Toyota Crossover, hauls 73.4 cubic feet of gear.
After five years of ownership, I’m still amazed by how much the RAV4 hauls and the stability of the AWD.

The RAV4 offers proven performance and versatility that I’ve come to rely on for the last five years. As my husband’s primary car, I drive it on extended trips throughout the seasons. The starting price point of $24K entices many families into the mid-point Toyota crossover.

The estimated MPG is an expected 23/30. The cargo space offered by the RAV4 is impressive 73.4 cubic feet with folded-down seats and 38.4 behind the second row. I am amazed by how much luggage I can haul in the RAV4 during our trips. Coupled with a soft-sided roof carrier, I spent nine weeks on the road in our RAV4.

The Toyota RAV4, a Toyota Crossover, is loaded for a trip.
My RAV4 packed and ready to go on a multi-week long road trip.

The ground clearance is a comfortable 6.1” and easy on the knees for climbing in. The optional AWD has me driving with stability and security to the ski resort. With seating for five, it accommodates my three kids.

Though I love our RAV4, I don’t think we need another.

The Highlander

The Toyota Highlander, a Toyota Crossover, offers 3 rows of seating.
The Toyota Highlander is the largest of the crossovers and offers three rows of seating. Courtesy Photo

As the largest crossover in the Toyota lineup, the Highlander offers Moms lots of versatility. With refined styling and more space, the Highlander finds its way into many garages at a starting price point of $30K.

The estimated MPG at 20/23 is a little lower than I expected. The Highlander offers 83.7 cubic feet of space with the second and third row of seats stowed. With the second row down, it offers 42.3 cubic feet. And 13.8 cubic feet behind the third row, so no road trips will all the seats up.

The ground clearance is a generous 8.0” so a primitive camping spot with the best view isn’t a problem. The optional AWD has me driving with stability and security on the annual ski trip. With seating for eight, it accommodates my three kids and a couple of friends.

The Highlander intrigues me with its style and performance. Sounds like I need an extended test drive to help me make a decision.

The 4Runner

The 2017 Toyota 4Runner offers rugged style.
The Toyota 4Runner offers off road abilities with city sensibilities. Courtesy Photo

This SUV is an icon. It offers rugged performance that’s a breeze in the city with its tight turning radius. Its starting price point of $34K is manageable too.

With a 4×4 option and the TRD Pro option, the 4Runner wants to get dirty, in my case in a national park. I’ve used the 4WD option lots over the years and realistically never pushed my 4Runner to its limits.

The estimated MPG is a 17/21 that hasn’t changed much over the years. The 4Runner offers 89.7 cubic feet of space with all the seats down. With the second row down, it offers 47.2 cubic feet. And if you opt for the third row of seats, it offers 9.0 cubic feet of storage. Ouch.

The ground clearance in the 2×4 is 9” and the 4×4 option is a generous 9.6”. Though climbing behind the driver’s seat requires grabbing the bar to yank myself up. With seating for five, it accommodates my family.

A newer 4Runner is a contender. Though I love the rugged styling now, will I love it in a few years?

As in most major decisions, more research needs to happen. Stay tuned.

Disclosure:

This post is sponsored.

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How to Get your Car STOLEN While on Vacation in Three EASY Steps

She was a good traveling companion. RIP
She was a good traveling companion. RIP

Me: “Hey kids, Mom’s tired. Can we check out the fireworks from across the river, closer to the hotel?”

Melissa: “Great idea, my feet hurt. Let’s head to the car.”

The carful of kids lumber across the parking lot from the Canada Day street festival (the birthday of Canada) in the old port area of Montreal. Revelers fill the streets, enjoying street food and listening to one of several bands; everyone is flapping their little Canadian flags. They wait for the climax of the evening, the fireworks over the St. Lawrence River.

Me: “I think it was here.”

Melissa: “I don’t know, I can’t remember.”

The carful of kids walk around the parking lot for the second time.

Me: “Yes, it was; I remember, we parked in front of that grassy section, right there.”

Melissa: “Yep, I’m remembering that, too. Where is it then?”

The carful of kids, still in denial, stand in the middle of the parking lot looking in all directions for their 2012 white RAV4, with all-wheel drive. Melissa spots something in the distance.

Melissa: “Hey, there’s our roof carrier, did the wind blow it off?”

Me: “Ugh.” Denial fading.

Melissa runs to the black, soft-sided roof carrier laying on the ground. She picks it up. The kids follow, still confused.

Melissa: “Look, your passports!” She looks side-to-side to see if the perpetrators are still lurking in the background.

Fade to every poorly-written spy thriller I’ve ever seen.

Me: “#^*%, stay with the kids! I saw the police at the entrance to the parking lot. I’m going to get them!” I run off leaving my best friend of 30 years to deal with my confused kids.

***

Previously on the Carful of Kids blog–a mom, three kids, aged 6, 9, 11 and one best friend and traveling companion were on a 7,000 mile road trip from Central Texas to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada. We had driven up through MemphisVirginiaPennsylvania and Vermont before crossing the Canadian Border into Montreal.

Earlier in the day, we toured the BioDomeInsectarium and the Montreal Botanical Garden; we drove down to the old port area of Montreal to eat some crepes and to enjoy the fireworks over the St. Lawrence River.

***

My mind zooms past light speed as I race to the only entrance of the well-lit, security guard-paroled, paid parking lot that I chose for those reasons just hours before. I grab my phone and dial. <Step 1>

Husband: “Hello?” Hissing in the background, the sound of dog’s claws scratching the wood floor is unmistakable. A large thud.

Me: “Hey, our car just got jacked.”

Husband: “What? I can’t hear you. I’m moving the office chair. The cat and dog are at each other again.”

Me: “Are you listening? I don’t have time to explain. Our car has been stolen. We are OK, but I need the VIN number. I don’t have much battery left so text it to me soon as you find it. I’m running to find the police.”

I hang up before he can say what? again. I see a man in a uniform. I run to him.

Me: “I need the police, I need to report a stolen car.”

Man: “Pardon?” (all dialogue should be read in the best Pepe Le Pew accent you can muster)

***

Kids: “Where’s our car?”

Melissa: “I think it might be gone.”

Kids: “Who took it and when is it coming back?”

Melissa: “I don’t know. But your mom is looking for the police and your parents have lots of insurance.”

Son #1: “What about my skateboard? My surfing magazines?”

Melissa: “Might be gone.”

Daughter: “My Harry Potter’s, I have five in the car.”

Melissa: “Good Heavens, five? I’m sure your parents will replace them.”

Kids in Unison: “Our iPods!”

Melissa: “Ok, what else was in the car?” Digging out an old envelope from her purse to write on, she realizes her iPhone is gone too.

Me: “J’ai besoin de la police.” (I need the police)

Man: “Ah,” the man points to another man in a golf cart. “Sécurité.” (Oh, Security.)

This guy is not the Police but the uniformed officers I just saw minutes before when we walked past them on our way to the parking lot have moved on. <Step 2>

Me: “Ma voiture est allé.” (My car is gone.)

Security Officer: “Pardon?” (No translation needed. But add more Pepe Le Pew)

Me: “Ma voiture a été…comment dites-vous…Stolen! (My car has been…how do you say…Stolen!)

Security Officer: “Ah…your car?”

Me: “C’est une 2012 White Toyota RAV 4 avec Texas Plates.”

Security Officer: “Ah…White Toyota? All-wheel Drive?” (more French accent)

Me: “Oui, j’ai besoin de la police. Aurez-vous les appeler?” (Yes, I need the Police. Will you call them?)

Security Officer: “Oui, bien sûr. Où avez-vous garez?” (Yes, of course. Where did you park?)

Me: “Huh? Je parle un peu français.” ( I speak a little French.)

Security Officer: “Pardon, you speak well. Did you study aboard?”

Me: “Non, j’ai étudié le français au Texas. Où sont la Police?” (No, I studied French in Texas. But where are the police?)

Security Officer: “D’accord, Oui, show me where you left your car?” (OK, Yes, show…)

The wind whips through my hair as the security officer drives as fast as his golf cart will allow back to the scene of the crime. The sense of denial has vanished–my SUV and its contents are gone; I will not make it back to my hotel room anytime soon.

I hold onto the roof of the golf cart as the security officer rounds the last corner on our way to the location of the alleged grand theft auto. As we arrive on the scene four faces look into mine, hoping that I have found our SUV and we will be on our way shortly.

I look at Melissa and shake my head in the tiniest of shakes that only a friend of 30 years understands. As I open my mouth to break the news–I hope for the best, but prepare for the worst, just as Rick Perry–the Texas Governor used to say to us before every big hurricane. I just don’t know if the kids are going to lose it. This is their first international crime experience while on vacation.

Me: “Hey, guys, it looks like our car got stolen.”

Son #1: “Yea, we thought so.”

Daughter: “Melissa told us.”

Me: “Hum, OK, thanks for being so cool about this.” I tell myself a Good Job Mom, I raising some well-adjusted kids.

I turn to the security officer, who has been inspecting the crime scene.

Security Officer: “So where did you last see your car?”

Me: “Right here, next to the Toyota Sienna–see, it’s still here.”

Security Officer: “Yes, it appears your car is gone. I will call the police and check the security cameras.” (the French accent is really pissing me off now. It seems I have been asking for this for 10 minutes.)

Me: “Ok, and what should we do?”

Security Officer: “Ah, yes, stay here. The police will be here shortly. Make a list of the missing contents.”

The security officer walks back to his souped-up, turbo-charged golf cart and flicks gravel up in our faces as he speeds away. (Think Inspector Gadget)

Me: “OK kids, thanks for taking this so well.”

Son #2: “It’s OK, Mom, it’s just a car. Melissa said you would buy us new iPods.”

Me: “OK, it might be a while.”

The carful of kids sit down on the only thing we have left from our SUV–the black, soft-sided carrier that holds all our sleeping bags. We use it as a bean bag chair in the middle of a random parking lot in Montreal 2,000 miles from home. We itemize our lost contents. The sun sets.

 

***

As the golf cart screeches to a stop, we all stand up.

Security Officer: “The police shall be here shortly. It’s a busy night, it’s Canada Day–lots of people.”

Me: “Yes, there are a lot of people walking around. I thought that would’ve prevented my car from being stolen.”

Security Officer: “Ah, Yes…” He looks away.

Me: Is he in on this? I think to myself.  Or is it the statuesque blonde at the entrance booth selling parking.

The Montreal Police car drives up with lights on but no siren. I hear Melissa humming The Pink Panther theme song. The officers get out and introduce themselves.

Police Officer #1: “You reported a stolen car?” (Would they quit with the accent.)

Security Officer: “Yes, a white Toyota RAV4, with all-wheel drive.”

Police Officer #2: “Ahhh.” He nods.

All men give each other knowing looks and speak to each other in fast French that I can’t translate.

Police Officer #1: “Does someone else have keys?”

Me: “Yes, my husband.”

Police Officer #2: “Ah, yes. He took the car?” Ready to solve the crime, be the hero.

Me: “No, he’s in Texas.” Sorry Frenchie, I’m a Texan if it was that easy to solve, I would have done it myself. I squint as I keep that comment to myself.

Police Officer #1: “Oh. Did you lock the car?”

Me: “Yes, I locked the car. I tested the doors. I looked around to see if anyone looked suspicious. I felt safe and thought my car would be here when we were finished sight-seeing.” <Step 3>

The police officers and the security guard look at each other. Police Officer #1 grabs his report book out of his back pocket and opens it.

Police Officer #1: “Your name?”

I give the police officer all my information.

Police Officer #1: “Do you have anyway to identify your car?”

Me: “Like the VIN number? Do you want the VIN number?”

Police Officer #1: “Yes, do you have that?”

Me: “Yes, my husband texted it to me, from Texas.”

As if on cue, my phone dies as the officer writes down the last digit of my VIN number.

Police Officer #2: “I see you have an iPhone. Is it a 4?”

Me: “No, it’s a 5S.”

Police Officer #2: “Nice.”

Me: “Do you have a charger?” (I might have adopted the French accent.)

Police Officer #2: “No.”

Police Officer #1: “What was stolen besides the SUV?

POP! Bang. The fireworks start. We stop for a moment to enjoy them.

Police Officer #1 to Security Guard: “They are nice this year, no?”

Security Guard: “Yes, very nice.”

Me: “Ok.” Interrupting. “I have a MacBook, 2 ipads, one with the retina display, 2 iPods–32 gig, 2 iPhones 5s, my Canon 60D camera with upgraded lens and external flash, 6 audio books, 2 pieces of luggage with contents and a box of camping equipment.” The police officer stops me, having a hard time writing everything down.

Police Officer #1: “Nice stuff, you do well in Texas.”

Me: “You wrote down Canon camera, I need the model number attached for my insurance.” I tell the Police Officer, who adds it begrudgingly.

Police Officer #2: “Do you have the Find Your iPad app?”

Me: “Yes, but my phone is dead.”

Police Officer #2: “You can use mine, they might still have your iPad on.”

Me: “OK.”

I sign into it but I get the offline message.

POW. Raining Sparkles–my favorite. I look up to enjoy a moment of the show.

Kids: “Oooo, Ahhh.”

Me: “Did you really think they would have left the devices still on?”

Police Officer #1 interrupts: “They were professionals, see.”

We walk over to the alleged parking spot and look on the ground. We see tiny bits of metal, like shrapnel.

Police Officer #1: “They drilled out your lock. See? They are good.”

Police Officer #1: “Your passports, do you still have them?”

Melissa: “Yes, I found them on the ground.”

Police Officer #1: “They were nice, they left your passports.”

Me: “I would’ve appreciated it if they’d left my car.”

A couple of shrugs and a lip curl from the men. I sigh.

Police Officer #1: “I think we have enough. Can you sign this report and I will give you a case number.”

I dig through my purse for my favorite 4-color pen, in the girly colors of pink, lime, turquoise and purple. I ignore the police officer’s offer of his blue Bic. I find it at the bottom, pull it out.

Me: “It’s French.” As I look down at my pen.

The police officer shrugs and puts his pen back in his shirt pocket.

Me: “And my car? Leads?”

Police Officer #2: “Oh, it is gone. Probably on a ship down the St. Lawrence already.”

Me: “What?”

Police Officer #2: “Yes, they are loaded into a container and put into a cargo ship within a few minutes.”

Me: “Where’s it’s going?”

Police Officer #2: “Africa, probably. They like the white Toyota SUVs with all-wheel drive. Rugged, you know.”

Me: “So…?”

Police Officer #1: “Bonne Chance. Little chance of recovery.” (Good Luck)  He shuts his report book and slides it into his back pocket.

Security Officer: “I have the tape pulled if you would like to come to my office?”

Police Officer #1: “Oui, Bien Sûr…” (Yes, of course.) Fast, French talking ensues.

Me: “And me and my three tired kids? Can you give us a lift?”

Police Officer #2: “No, sorry. Too many people. A cab will get you back to your hotel.”

Security Officer: “Yes, I will call a cab. But it will be awhile. There are a lot of people down here. Canada Day, you know.”

Siiiing. Flash. BANG.

I walk back to the black roof carrier, sit down and watch the last of the fireworks with the kids. I consider renaming us the Carless…with Kids.

The fireworks end. People see us. They ask questions. They all seem to know about the car thefts. Some elude to organized crime. Russians, maybe. Son #1 wants to know all we know about hot-wiring. Son #2 falls asleep. I breathe heavy and long for the hotel room.

When the majority of the cars have left; the security guard screeches through his empty lot to inform us, he has secured us a cab. He seems to be amazed by our good luck or impressed by his skill at hailing cabs. I would have been happy if he had done the one thing he is paid to do–KEEP THE CARS FROM GETTING STOLEN. But maybe this is his job security.

When the cab arrives, the cabbie offers us a discounted rate to take us over a bridge I’ve never heard of and back to our hotel but only if I agree on his price before we leave. I kindly tell him Merci but I use to live in NYC and the meter would be fine.

Me: “Et prendre le pont du Jacques-Cartier sur le Boulevard Taschereau, s’il vous plaît.” (And take the Jacques Cartier Bridge to the Taschereau Boulevard, please.) In the best French accent that I can muster.

Cabbie: “Oui, Madame.”

We load the black carrier into the trunk and climb into the cab. Melissa sits in the front seat with the cabbie. I sit with the kids in the back. The traffic has thinned out. The wind whips through the rolled down windows blowing my hair into my eyes. All the kids fall asleep. I look out the window and mumble.

“Montreal, you may have taken my car but you will not take my spirit.” (If I had had a cigarette, I would have lit it.)

***

I slide the card into the lock and push open the door. The kids flop on the bed while Melissa pushes the valet cart into the room with the black roof carrier. We heave it into a corner of the room like a dead body.

I plug in my phone and wait for a minute. Sure enough, it starts to beep and vibrate. I look at Melissa.

Me: “Well, should I call him?”

Melissa: “You have to.”

I dial his number and my husband answers.

Me: “We are back. We are tired. I want this day to end. And by the way, your passport that you thought you would forget so you sent it with me. Well, it got stolen.”

And that is how you get a car stolen abroad in three easy steps.