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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Vacation Day Fourteen and Fifteen

It's sooooo hard to leave friends.  I really, truly almost cried.  And I know, God willing, we will see them again, but it was SO nice to be able to visit and so sad to say good-bye.  Here are a few more pics from our visit that I forgot to share in my last post:

Goofy faces

Sooo cute!

You KNOW this will make an appearance at his wedding someday!!!

The kids had a hard time getting up, and we got on the road a little later than I had wanted.  We had a schedule to follow as we made plans to meet up with friends who live outside of Nashville.  We hadn't seen them in 2 years as last year they adopted two boys from Africa.  We hit traffic driving there, and I was stressed out that we were going to be late.  As I reached for the phone to call her, I noticed the time on my phone was an hour earlier than the time in my car-thank GOD for time zones!  I forgot we'd go back an hour outside of Nashville!  We got there right on time :-).  I had planned to stay 2 hours tops so we could get to Chattanooga and do something tourist-y before the day was out...but 2 hours turned into 4 1/2 and the kids were having such a nice visit, and so were we moms, that I let out Chattanooga plans go.  In the end, she was the one who had to leave to pick up her husband at work, or we may have visited even longer.  I have NO pictures from our visit :-(.  I knew one of her adopted sons is camera shy, and I also knew meeting total strangers, especially a large family of total strangers, especially a large family or total strangers who was invading THEIR house, might make the boys uncomfortable enough without having a camera in their face, but I do wish I had thought to at least bring in the point and shoot and gotten a picture of the girls.  Her girls are so sweet, and Mimi really enjoyed the chance to reconnect.

We headed on down the road, and stayed outside of Chattanooga as I had an early morning meet-up planned with a fellow 4 year member of the TOS Crew who happens to have boys the same ages as mine.  It turns out being frugal lead us to the scariest hotel I think I've ever stayed at, but on the plus side, the beds were VERY comfortable, and I got a great night's sleep.  Ironically, the hotel we stayed at (an America's Best Value-note to self-never stay in one of those again) is the SAME hotel my Crewmate's MIL is LIVING in while she starves herself to death.  Very sad!  I'm sure it took a lot for her to come visit us there, but I was glad to have the brief chance to meet her.  I was surprised my boys weren't more social, but I think sooo many days on the road and the fact that we were meeting in the hotel lobby made them less outgoing than usual.

After that we got on the road with home as our destination.  It felt so good to know we'd be sleeping in our own beds that night!  And everything was going fine.  In fact, for the first time on the whole trip, the interstates were construction free, and 70MPH was norm, not the exception (okay, that's what the SIGNS speedometer might have read a little higher...).  Everything changed however at exit 109 in Georgia-south of Macon and north of Valdosta- and right in the middle of nowhere. 

It should be noted that I was being VERY careful to watch for road debris.  On our trip, we had encountered more semi tires in various states of shredded mess than I've ever seen in my life.  In fact, if we want to stimulate the economy, they should put people to work cleaning up the roads-it's really, truly that bad.  So anyway, I was driving along in the fast lane, probably going close to 80, but traveling with traffic, when suddenly WHAM! and the whole car started to shake in that way it does if you blow a tire.  Ironically, the kids and I had just talked about blowing tires (inspired by the gazillionth blown semi tire we saw) the night before.  We had talked about how bad it can be for a car to blow a tire because you need all 4 tires to drive on, and cars can go out of control very badly if a tire blows.  So now, we were living it.  We went from fully inflated to flat as flat can be in mere seconds, and that's no exaggeration.  Had I been in the middle lane, we would have been in serious trouble, because it took all my strength to control the car and get it off the road from the left lane, and even then, we were only out of the travel lane, the fast travel lane, by about 1 1/2 feet.  As I live and breath, to this moment, I still would swear there was NOTHING on the road...and as soon as I heard the noise I checked my rear view mirror, and there was NOTHING-no road hazard, no flying debris...nothing.  I have no idea what happened, but whatever it was it did THIS:
See that line?  That's a slash cut through the tire.  And the wheel (the rim) was ruined too.  Here's another picture of how flat flat really is:

So because Kia's come with roadside assistance, I didn't have AAA or anything...I called the number on my car window.  And they were very helpful (once I walked along the side of the road back to the nearest exit to get the exit number because we were so in the middle of nowhere that the GPS based on my cell phone wasn't giving them an exact enough location).  Then she said, I have the name of the tow company that we'll be sending is a flat rate of $106 dollars.    Me: Ummm, I thought I had free roadside assistance?  (Them) Well, you DID, but it expired at 60,000...and you are at 61,925. (true story...and totally the way my life works).  Me:  Of COURSE it did!  Alrighty then...I'm not going anywhere with help, so send them.

Now, lest you think I'm incapable of changing a tire, let me give you the run down.  I was 1 1/2 off the FAST lane.  I had 4 kids in the car.  The shoulder was not very wide.  A storm was coming.  It was hotter than hades outside.  My spare tire is a donut.  The equipment to change the tire was buried under all our luggage, which would have meant having to unload it all with a storm coming right next to the fast lane.  The spare donut tire is stored under the car.  On the PASSENGER side (yes, the side closest to the road).  To lower it down, you have to peel back the carpet inside the car, use the "x" shaped lug nut remover thingie to turn a bolt which lowers the tire under the car, (which would have required more moving of stuff because the seats would have needed to be moved to allow for the turning of the wrench), and then swing it out from under the car TOWARD the travel lane to get it off the rack the spare sits on.

Nope.  NOT even going there.  That's not "I can change a tire in a parking lot", that's suicide.  Even the tow truck dude was scared, and the law requires cars to move over for vehicles with flashing lights (obviously not everyone did, but many did).   Now he had power equipment, so there was no unloading of the car, no moving of the seat, and really a very short wait for him to arrive.  Within half an hour the tire was changed.  I  had had him check the travel lanes behind me (he came from the other direction and had to turn around to get to me) and even he didn't see anything that I hit, so it's a mystery, but it's an expensive one.  In addition to the tow truck charge, there will be about $181 for a new wheel, and $100 for a new tire.  OIY! 

At this point, I was about 270 miles from home.  And the donut tire can go 50 MPH tops.  So I had called the hubs and BEGGED him to find me a dealership that might have a new wheel and check for a Tires Plus since I had road hazard coverage on my tire.  Of course, the closest dealership was in Valdosta, and it would take them 3 days to get a new wheel.  Even at 50 MPG, I could get home before then!  There was a Tires Plus, but without a wheel, it didn't matter.

 Soooo, because I was desperate to get home...

 And because there was no way to get it fixed on the road...

And because staying in a hotel for 3 days was NOT an option...

I drove home...almost 6 this:

Cruise control set at 50...hazards blinking for hours on end (and anyone who knows me knows repetitive sound drives me over the top)...and stops every 1 1/2 to 2 hours to let the donut tire cool down.  I'm sure God had a lesson in patience for was the equivalent of Chinese Water Torture, not to mention down right dangerous as trucks barreled down on me only to change lanes at the last second...but we made it.  I've never been sooooo happy to be home!
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1 comment:

Melissa said...

I didn't know you saw the P. family. I'd love to hear more about how they are.