We took another summer road trip last week! This time we were headed to D.C.. We were excited to meet my cousin and my sister and her children there for a ‘kid swap’. (Summer tradition where you trade children for a few days :-).
Our cousin would be taking my 3 older girls and my sister’s oldest daughter for a fun time in D.C. where she lives and is currently completing a secondary degree at Johns Hopkins. I would be collecting my sister’s younger daughter, whom all 3 of my younger daughters ADORE!
We had plans to meet, attend the temple, have lunch together, make the swap and then Mike and I would take the 6 little girls to the zoo for a few hours of adventure before heading home. We were all excited!
Our excitement was interrupted though as about an hour from our destination, driving down the freeway in Fat Boy, (the excursion if you don’t know him by name yet) we hit some rough road and the Beast (another nickname for Fat Boy) started to shake and tremor terribly.
“Wow, could the road really be this rough?” My husband questioned out loud. A few moments later he guessed, “I think it might be a tire.”
As the shaking and trembling got much worse even as the pavement got better, I instinctively vocalized “Our third time losing a wheel?!?”. Mike immediately started to pull over and slow down, we had planned to stop at the next rest stop anyway.
Perhaps most of you would not think of losing a tire on the freeway when your vehicle starts rattling but Mike and I have memories! We had lost tires twice before!
Once it happened at night as we were driving back from Canada when we had been married one year and had our little month old son in the back seat of our Golden Oldie car. Some strange grinding noises had given us a clue something was up and Mike had said he would drive so I had just started to pull over. It was hard to hold the car straight once the wheel was gone! And my poor Dad had to drive up in the middle of the night several hours to fetch us!
The other time we had our three tiny ones in the back seat driving in busy traffic through West Jordan, UT, in our little mini-van. Mike was at the wheel and we were completely surprised by a big ker-plunck on the front left side of the van and watched as the tire rolled off in front of us as if it could drive itself. It was nerve wracking, but we were ok. Tow truck and police officer had to interrupt the flow of traffic to fetch the van out. That was the worst part.
So we could NOT be losing a wheel a third time could we?? I’d never really heard of anyone else losing a wheel? But before I could wonder long, the little girls started to see things fly off the right side of the car, the noise got quickly worse and before we knew it a big ker-plunk and the whole car rocked down at an awkward angle as Mike held the wheel fast while Fat Boy skidded slowly to a stop. Brakes don’t work as well without the back right tire we learned! We left a long scar in the blacktop behind us, evidence of our predicament.
We were just soo grateful to be at the beginning of an exit ramp where the tire didn’t roll into traffic and the Beast could be safely off the road enough for flow of traffic and us! ,AND we were within walking distance of a much needed rest stop.
All tender mercies.
Mike, my hero, began making phone calls to find a tow truck, rental van, and a place to fix Fat Boy while I tended to helping the girls at the rest stop, calling family to let them know we would be late, and emptying the truck to transfer to a new mode of transportation.
People were SO KIND!! (May I just say we have travelled from one side of The US of America to the other several times, and ALWAYS, people have been so kind! God Bless America!!!!!!
Several men stopped to offer help at the car and even for my girls at the rest stop a man offered Gatorade and water bottles he had in his truck. He left the girls with a big jug of store bought water even though they were shy to accept it. Little does that man know HOW grateful I was for the water ! We had waited long enough I needed to make a supplemental formula bottle for the babies but had no other water left than his kind offer!! How do I say thank you? He will never know!
So as we waited we were fine and grateful for the comforting assurance that we had help if we needed it from those around us. Our only problem at the moment was finding the tire!
Mike had just had new, pricey tires put on the vehicle. In fact, it seemed that the lug nuts not being fastened securely enough had caused our problem today!
The girls had seen the new tire fly and they tried to show Dad where it landed but the brush was so thick and we had skidded so far that Mike could not find it. After searching for sometime, Clara, who was quite concerned, asked Daddy if she could say a prayer to find the tire.
A child’s prayer! So much faith & a moment later the children spotted the wheel and Mike fished it out from under the grass and trees.
The rental van showed up first, faster than planned and sooooo lucky for us- a 12 seater! We didn’t realize what a blessing this was (though we should have for we have searched several weeks before most airplane trips to find a 12 passenger van available) until the driver told us this was one of the vans they had in for the 150th Gettysburg celebration just prior to our visit. They were sending it back in 2 days and nothing more than 7 seaters would be available again for miles around.
Glad to be settled into our new ride, we girls saw Fat Boy looking so forlorn and abandoned on the side of the freeway. Clara expressed her concern: “Poor Fat Boy, Mama! Will we ever see him again?!” I actually wondered for a moment and couldn’t believe how attached I felt for a second to a vehicle! It’s just he’s been so FAITHFUL, seeing us through ALL those miles!!
As we watched Mike making last plans for the vehicle we were glad our lonesome, faithful Beast had the tow truck to keep him company and we wondered how many dollars later until we would see him again!
A couple hours later, and not much worse for the wear, we headed on our way, missing the temple trip and missing lunch but grateful to be there in D.C. with our family unscathed.
It ended up to be a delightful evening at the zoo! The big girls had an exceptionally wonderful time in DC with my cousin, and we had Fat Boy fixed up in time for our oldest daughter and her twin to drive him home that weekend as my cousin followed her on their way back that Saturday. We will head back to D.C. in another week or two and enjoy what we missed this visit!
And so ‘all is well that ends well’ right? ABSOLUTELY!!! I pray the Lord’s tender mercies over you and your families too!
Much Love, C&Crew