Thoughts From Behind: A Few Words From the Minivan


From Newaygo, before all this happened.

Do you see the Kortmans anywhere?



It's about time you heard from me. They don't value me and neither do you. But I'm very important.

It grinds my gears that no one talks about me. There's a whole blog post about Gracie, and they mention her all the time. Even the dog got an introduction blog post.

But me? Nope. Nothing. I don't even have a name.

Until today.

Everything changed a couple weeks ago when the Kortmans were preparing to leave Marquette, Michigan and head for the Soo Locks. (Yeah this was the first time they weren't watching and I could get word out... hopefully you won't tell them!)

It was raining. Isn't it always raining in books and movies when something important happens? And the kids were crying as they had made fast friends with the boys we were hanging out with.

But the Kortmans cannot leave without me. Shoot, they can't even backup Gracie without moving me first.

So they went to load me on this Towing san jose services. I hate the trailer. They call it a tow dolly, I call it the toe prison. It's no fun being tied down, being dragged around, told where to go and I cannot even see the road in front. Have you ever tried to look past a billboard while following 5 feet behind it?

So annoying!

But this time loading me on the toe prison wasn't going so well. Like i said it was raining and the cold metal bars ... er "ramps" were slippery. Paul tried three or four times to get me to go on but I really didn't want to. As my wheels were spinning I was sliding to the left and started to hit the side of the fender of my prison.

That made Becky and Paul nervous and frustrated.

So this time Paul backed me up and got a running start. Little did he know but I (like a good horse) was trying to tell him that something was wrong. Something with the toe prison was different than it had been before.

But he wouldn't listen.

So he made me run up on it and my nose got caught.


Have you ever had a broken nose?

Hurts like nothing imaginable.

Becky made a bad face and Paul got out of me to see what happened.

There was my nose, under my body.

And get this. Paul got his phone out and took a picture. He even misquoted a friend of his "if you're gonna laugh about it later you might as well take a picture."

Who is that mean? When my nose is broke, lying under me that they talk about laughing and take a picture of me in my pain.


OUCH! even looking at this picture hurts... that's my nose under me ... still attached , yet under my feet all at the same time! OUCH OUCH OUCH!


They had to rip of my nose since it was still attached... and yes they took yet ANOTHER picture. Ug. At least you can see how I was throwing stones balking at being put in my prison yet again. Yeah folks check out my skills!

I was so embarrassed. Who wants photos of themselves without their nose all over the internet. I felt naked and exposed.

But I will have the last laugh.

They backed me off of the prison, ripped my nose off and shoved it into my backside.

Who does that?

Who rips off someone's nose?

Who then shoves it into their backside?

This was not going well.

So the Kortmans tried again and this time I went on willingly. Let's just say I was terribly afraid of what they'd do next if something else broke.

Here I was again following behind the billboard er... Gracie... choking on her exhaust and being told where to go. It's like I'm a little kid, I was born 7 years after Gracie but that just makes me newer, shiner, not young and stupid!

Evidently the parking lot we were going to sit at in Tahquamenon Falls wasn't good enough, so they had to drag me to a town called Paradise. Did you know there is a Paradise and a Hell both within the same state? What's that say about those Michiganders, eh?

Great, now I'm even talking like a Yooper.

Anyways, Paul decided to take a phone call inside of me. Hey at least when the rugrats aren't in me I can provide a calm quite place for a phone call.

However he made one mistake.

And I have the last laugh.

He turned me on and had me blow air at him. Like he was a prince and I was feeding him grapes or fanning him.

I started to boil over, and decided this would be it. This would be the end of the fun and games. I was putting my wheel down, no more would they drag me around and ignore me.

And I still had a broken nose!

Next stop? A campground in Sault Sainte Marie Remember what I had said about them having to move me in order for Gracie to back up? Well this campground didn't have pull through spots (aka ignore the van on the toe prison and park). So they had to remove me from my prison and then they could park the beast ... er Gracie.

But remember Paul's fatal move?

Yeah, my battery has been old for a long time and if ever the kids left an inside light on it'd drain all my juice. Well I used this opportunity to drain everything I had.

Paul and Becky didn't know about my cool feature... that if my battery is drained/disconnected and I'm being towed I will not allow my key to turn and therefore you cannot put me in neutral.

So when they tried to coax me out of my prison, something I'm typically really willing to do, this time they couldn't get me to move.


Not gonna happen.

Paul sat there dumfounded, and I laughed and laughed.

Remember I get the last laugh :)

So Paul had to figure out how to charge me up without getting me out of my prison.

Good Luck with that dude!

Then suddenly he had an idea... you see Paul had always planned for things like this and figuring that beast of a Gracie has like 5 batteries. (Who needs that many batteries, anyway?.) So he just had to figure out how to get my broken nose and Gracie's nose near each other...

But what I thought was a hopeless task he was determined to overcome.

So he grabbed some 4x4 chunks of lumber and put them under my toe prison. Chocked the wheels of my toe prison and did something I totally didn't expect.

He had Becky put Gracie's rear jacks down!?!?!? Right there in the roadway in the campground (remember the darkness of night was approaching, the kids were getting hungry and we hadn't even gotten into the parking spot yet. )

Just as I was getting really nervous about my front end getting higher and higher. Paul shouted to Becky to stop.

Then he said let her down. And Becky did.

I have no idea what happened but there was a bang and while I was still in my toe prison it was no longer connected to Gracie.


At least when I'm tucked up under Gracie people cannot see my broken nose... but now, now they can see everything and my nose is like 2 feet in the air.

I vowed at that moment to get back at them one more time. This was just too much to handle well.

Paul back Gracie up next to me, jumped me and got me going.

The rest of the evening was pretty uneventful for me. I sat there in the dark, sulking, planning my revenge.

And boy did I have it!

The next morning when everyone piled into me I wouldn't start again... heh heh heh. Perfect way to start off the day. You see the Kortmans had to get to the boat to see the Soo Locks and the boat waits for no one, so being late is not an option. 

Unfortunately for me there was a gentleman er, gentle truck nearby who was able to jump me. Since Paul had parked me too far away from Gracie to be able to reach! Heh Heh Heh!

Oh and what the Kortmans didn't know is that overnight my splash shield started sagging.

The faster and longer they drove me the lower it would sag, to the point where it was dragging and made a pretty terrible noise.

Trust me if I could have stopped it I would have, having everyone on the streets of Sault Sainte Marie stare at me was not something I really wanted!


The Kortmans took this picture to show the ship going through the lock right at the end of the road, but instead it shows the people on the side of the road staring because of my splash shield scraping on the ground so loudly.


Dude's like "What in the world is up with that minivan?....? uh where was I , oh yeah so there was this one time..." This was just one of the thousands of stares I got that day :(

Unfortunately they caught their boat on time but I wasn't ready to give up yet!  I was having a great time messing with them!!!  When they came back from their Soo Locks tour my battery was dead again...I was loving this!  Finally they were paying attention to me and thinking about ME all the time!!!

So after some fun tracking down a battery and driving through the city multiple times the Kortmans finally drove me home.  I was elated!  Then I overheard that Paul was putting my nose back on that night.  FINALLY!!!!

I'm happy to have my nose back but I was not pleased to have it attached with snotty glue and screws. Fortunately Paul was doing his best to hide the screws and only put them where screws were before.

I wasn't happy with the job he did.  I was determined to re-break my nose in order to make him do a better job.

The next day when they tried to imprison me again they forgot to lower Gracie's jacks before driving me into my prison.  I knew this was my chance!

They had realized the angle must have been off when they tried to get me in the prison in Marquette, but they never thought about the jacks. How they make the prison the wrong angle and how my nose doesn't have that clearance. So when I went to get back on my nose ripped of again!  Perfection...except I look terrible.


Once again he ripped my nose off and put it in my backside.

I was pleased but feeling like I was ready to be put back together nicely and not have my nose messed with anymore.

At the next stop, somewhere in Ontario, Canada outside of Toronto, Paul put zip ties on my splash shield to hold it up, and for the next couple of weeks they drove me around with my nose in my backside.


Even the TomTom guy was cooler than fixing my nose in Ontario!

Downtown Toronto, Church in Toronto, Niagara Falls, Houghton, Pittsburg, Asheville, Marion, Atlanta and then back to Marion. Seriously, everyone in all of those towns and highways between saw me with my nose tore off. At this point I was gravely embarrassed and wished beyond anything to have my nose replaced.


In New York, now the wires for my towing lights broke... Insult to Injury, Thanks New York!

Oh, man, can it get any worse?  Now my pretty lights are gone too!


Chillin in Hotlanta, will they ever repair my nose?

Every time I got out of prison they'd take my nose out and throw it on the ground... planning on putting it on at some point when Paul had time for another round of surgery.

I was pretty much begging at this point that if only he would put my nose back on I would calmly get on and off the trailer with no trouble from this point on.

This past weekend in Marion NC Paul finally had a chance.

What would he have to do to keep my nose from coming off this time?

Then I saw it, of course, he had the impact drill, but he also had a whole box of self tapping long screws. The screws he had put in the first time had never come out instead the plastic tore off the screws. What was he going to do this time?


The Operating Room: Right next to my brother, if only I could look at good as him. 

15 staples... er I mean screws later my nose isn't going anywhere... of course it looks terrible, with screw heads all over and it doesn't fit perfectly so there's a couple of warbles in my nose.  But, hey, I HAVE A NOSE AGAIN...and most people don't notice the screws!

There's no way those good looking Siennas are going to think much of me, not with the face of a boxing match loser but I am learning to love myself!

Heres my new Mug shot.

Here's my new Mug shot. You can see the screw on the right side of this picture.

I know its vain but my nose looks awful!

I know its vain but my nose looks awful! Look at those wounds, bullet holes where he couldn't hit steel and the glue that didn't work. You can also see the warble under my eye... ug, now I even have bag under my eyes!

No matter what it looks like with exposed screws at least it looks better than without a nose.

No matter what it looks like with exposed screws at least it looks better than without a nose.

So, since the surgery, I have kept my part of the bargain and loaded and unloaded without giving them any trouble.  It feels good to be back in the Kortman's good graces and I do plan to try and be more kind to them in the future but my newfound compliance doesn't mean I have to like riding all day looking at Gracie's butt! :)

Editor's Note: If you have any similar stories, encouraging words, or thoughts you'd like to send to our minivan to encourage him or her feel free to posit it below in the comments.

See! They can't even decide on a gender for me!

Listen, they are nice people but...seriously.....LAME!

Home Along the Way is now on Pinterest!!!  Hover over the image below to reveal the Pin button!

Paul Kortman

Dad of 4, husband, blogger, digital marketer, follower of Jesus. I podcast at and own We're on this crazy journey to travel the world as a lifestyle. Looking for help in how to live as a digital nomad family? Join this Facebook Group!

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  1. christy

    Park umm… her at our house for awhile and we’ll pamper her, but make sure you come along too ;P Too funny! No more words :)

  2. Gay

    That was clever and fun! I will use it as an example of creative storytelling for a subject that might otherwise but tedious or boring! Thanks

    • Paul Kortman

      The Minivan called to ask why you think his/er story is boring ;)

  3. Jeremy

    If my old Diesel K2500 was talking to me after trading him in for a minivan (which he’s not . . . nothing offends a 4×4 Diesel K2500 with a custom tow bumper like being traded in for a minivan!), he’d sympathize.

    • Paul Kortman

      Lol, yeah that’s pretty bad, but hey at least he got an awesome craigslist ad out of the deal! (Is that still in the archives?)

  4. Karen

    That was an imaginative, and very cute story, lol. She’s right tho…have to come up for a name for her tho….to me, in the limited way that I know her, she feels like a female. A little Gracie of sorts. :)

    • Paul Kortman

      That’s funny, giving a personality to our vehicles is fun, but when you suggest that you “know” her… wow we’ve entered a new realm now ;)

      Actually we’re with you on the gender thing, cause no male would complain about following a girls behind that closely…


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