As we were speeding down I-78 something felt weird about the car. It's a was barely perceptible, but I felt "something." I immediately alerted my husband and told him to slow down, something's wrong. By the time I got the last word out he felt the shift in the steering wheel and began to make his way to the right lane when we heard the sound of a blow-out. With each rotation, the front passenger tire shredded and smoked. We dodged 19-wheelers as we limped to the shoulder. While I held Bella close to my chest, my husband surveyed the damage and was surprised to see the disintegration of a pretty new, pretty expensive tire. It couldn't have come at a worst time...on a Sunday morning during a mad dash to get back to Roanoke from Brooklyn while traveling with Bella.
Changing a flat on the side of the interstate is a scary endeavor, and I was thankful my husband knew what to do and was able to do it. First he had to empty the full trunk of the cargo I took up and back to New York so he could get to the flat changing tools and donut tire. That sucked. What sucked even more was knowing we needed to buy a new one because you can only ride on that donut tire under 50 miles. I Googled and the first two places that were the closest to us were closed. I found a Firestone a couple of miles away. They said it would take three hours before they could put a tire on the car. Three hours? The manager pointed to someone in the shop and said he was about to start a job and that it would take at least three hours for him to finish that one. So we said, it'll only take ten minutes to mount a tire and put it on so couldn't we go first. No. How about if I make it worth his while? No. How about if I buy the tire, you mount it and I'll put it on myself in the lot. No. I'm a mechanic and my shop has an account with you in Virginia. There's nothing you can do to help us? No.
I saw where this was going, nowhere. No way could I entertain Bella for three hours in a sweltering parking lot. And I was sick to my stomach worrying about the frantic phone call from my daughter who was told over the phone she had bone cancer. I needed to get home. I found us another place a couple more miles away where they were much nicer, more accommodating, and way cheaper. The mechanic took a look at us and said it looked like we've been through a rough patch (gee, did I look that bad?!) so he put us first. He was done within fifteen minutes and my husband took care of him.
And on the road we went. Back in the cursed car that throws us a different curveball weekly. With a mere 50,000 miles on it, our newest car in the fleet, a 1999 Olds Intrigue, has had more things go wrong with it than I could list. If my husband wasn't a mechanic, and I hadn't inherited it from my father, I probably would have dumped it long ago. But guilt, and the need to have a set of wheels besides the horrid 1993 mini van from hell, made me hold on. Hell van was the way we usually traveled to Brooklyn, (it is roomy and so old that we never worry about something trying to steal it) but after the last trip when the oil pump went causing the heads on the motor to screw up, again for the umpteenth time, my husband finally, finally, agreed with me not to throw any more good money after bad. We would retire Hell van, bite the bullet and buy a new vehicle, hopefully something from this century.
And so the quest began...
...to be continued.
Meanwhile, here's some info on what to do if you find yourself faced with a tire blowout.