Monday morning we said goodbye to Daddy, and took the 44 bus to Ballard for our PEPS group meeting before packing up to drive over to Eastern Washington. We are headed over to visit Nana and Grandpa for a week of “lake time” at the family cabin on Newman Lake just northeast of Spokane. Lake Odin is the fifth generation of kin at Point Petite.
He was a great traveling companion, except for I did most of the driving. We left Seattle later than planned (of course), but we were making great time.
We drove 250 miles in four hours to Sprague Lake Rest Area before we finally stopped for a pause. Here I noticed the left rear tire was low on air. It didn’t look round. We walked around the rest area reviving ourselves for a bit, then circled back to the car. The tire looked even lower. Shoot!
The first angel appeared in the form of a couple with a 7 1/2 month old from Vancouver, WA on their way to holiday in Coeur d’Alene, ID. They pulled up next to me just as I was mulling over my plan of action, pretty sure at that point that I did need a plan of action.
Hi there! I see you have a baby too. I’m in a pickle. Maybe you can help me fix my flat tire…
I’m talking to the wife, but glancing at the husband. They are unloading baby gear to the picnic table and she nods and says to him:
Go ahead and help her.
I’m thinking the tire needs changing so I’m unpacking the entire contents of the back of the car onto the parking lot to make the spare tire available. The husband is suggesting it needs pumping up and is lamenting he doesn’t have his truck which has a big tire pump in it apparently. He takes a look at my spare tire, once I get it uncovered, and pronounces it flat as well as unsafe to take on the freeway. He says the maximum speed on a donut tire is 25 mph, and so it’s preferred to resuscitate my deflated and continually rapidly deflating tire. He suggests that the truckers probably all have tire pumps, so I’m taking Lake over toward the intimidating row of big rigs when he calls out
Wait a minute!
He produces a small electric tire pump from his wife’s roadside emergency kit. He exclaims it was at 10 psi (full is 45 psi), and pumps it up to 50 psi, then tells me he thinks I’ll probably make it to Spokane but to
He estimates it hasn’t had the leak for very long, because there are no marks on the side of the tire near the rim which apparently there would be if I had been driving on the flat at freeway speeds for a while now. So it’s not a slow leak, it’s a significant one. I call Nana to update them on my progress. I ask what it would be like if the tire goes all the way flat while I’m driving, how I would know. She says I’ll know because I’ll lose control of my steering. This is highly alarming. So, I stop a few miles down the road to give it a visual check. I figure if it looks flat again at this early check point, I’m sidelining myself. Losing control of the steering does not sounds like a safe proposition I want to bump up against. Well, the tire still looks round, so I get back on I-90 and speed east through Spokane to the outlying community of Liberty Lake. Here presents the second angel.
I’ve just decided to fuel up at our trusty Liberty lake Chevron and give the tire another visual check. I get gas: 39 mpg from Seattle. The tire looks like it might still be holding sufficient air, i.e. round. I’m thinking about the air compressor, but about to just get back on the road and tackle our last bit of the journey. It’s only about 15 miles to our final destination. But it’s 15 miles of curvy road prone to darting deer. And it’s now turning dusk.
It’s right at this point that a smiling Corey, the second angel disguised in Chevron uniform, walks up to me saying they have free air and he’ll go get his tire gauge in order to help me with it. He airs the tire back up to 50 psi after noting it’s down to 20. We arrive to our safe haven and sleep soundly to the cadence of waves lapping on shore.
In the morning the tire is pancake flat.
Grandpa steps in as the third angel. He jacks up the car, removes the flat tire ad takes it in to Les Schwab in nearby Spokane to have the hole repaired. A few hours later he returns, replaces the repaired tire and we are ready to rock and roll again!