Friday, August 25, 2006
A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day . . . Part 1
We heard something hit under the wheel well and didn't stop to check it. Now, it was nothing major. It didn't sound like the lug studs snapping off, the wheel throwing the end of the stud still attached to the nut, up under the car. No, we know what that sounds like (that's another story altogether). This was more like the sound of a piece of some truckers steel belt radial: a soft, rubber-padded thud, but a thud nonetheless. Julia was driving with the cruise control engaged. Just a mile or so down the road she complained about the wind and its subtle tug on the car.
We were in the process of moving from the panhandled of Oklahoma where the gale force winds were 25-70 mph and constant. In Indiana, about 30 miles from Indianapolis, I doubted it was usually that windy. A small, white pick-up truck pulled around us to pass. A minute or so went by and the truck hadn't passed. Julia made a comment about people who didn't use their cruise controls on the freeway. The truck still hadn't passed.
After a few minutes Julia became annoyed, perhaps frustrated with the odd behavior of the pick-up truck driver. Now he was making gestures and such. That's when it happened. I looked over to see if there was something wrong when a muffled boom came from the rear driver's side of the Jeep. Julia attacked the brakes sending the full 44 oz. Coke I held in my lap (as if I needed that much anyway) tumbling to the floor. Julia pulled over without any further danger to us, however the carpet on the passenger's side will need a good shampooing. The truck that was acting so suspicious immediately pulled over, the driver jumped out, and ran back toward our Jeep. I got out, checked the tire to find it completely blown with massive damage from sidewall to surface one third of the way around the tire, and then walked to meet the (as we now realized) kind stranger.
The man approached me, telling me that he tried to warn me that the tire was extremely low. He flashed his headlights, waved his arms, all trying to get our attention. I told him thank you and that I was sorry we didn't understand him (although I didn't tell him that while driving we though he was some sort of loon). He asked if we need him to call anyone. I told him that it wasn't necessary, that I would just put the spare on and get the tire repaired in Indianapolis. He waved goodbye and that was the last we saw of him.
We drove to a Sam's Club in Indianapolis, bought a new tire to replace the blown tire, and we were finally on our way again. We recently had serious issues with a warped rim, broken lug studs, and a 3 day stay in a very small town in Southern Kansas. The fact that Sam's Club fixed the tire in less than an hour was very joyous indeed. However, this was only the beginning. This was only part 1 of a "Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day."