Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Donut

We live in one of the "bigger cities" in Montana, but that doesn't mean much in terms of airfare. It's still pretty expensive to fly directly in or out of here, even when using freq. flyer miles, so we usually end up driving a couple hours west to fly out of Spokane. Even with gas and a hotel for two nights, its usually a huge savings for us. Well, this time I am not so sure.

Since our flight was sort of early Friday morning, we decided to leave here on Thursday as early as we could to give us all day to get over to Spokane. We knew snow was in the forecast and we wanted to have all day (and day light) to get over the pass if the weather was nasty. I think we ended up leaving here around 11 a.m. after getting the girls off to school and finishing a few last minute errands.

We got a few miles out of town and it started to snow. Nothing too heavy, but enough to make us slow down a bit. It was starting to accumulate in the left hand/fast lane of the interstate, so we stuck to the right hand side mostly. We were not far from the pass when it happened.  Erik was watching a pickup truck barreling up behind us in the rear view mirror and when he looked back down in front of us, he had no reaction time. There was a deep and huge pothole/crack in the road that our right front tire hit full on. Immediately we knew we had a flat. We inched our way a little bit to the exit (thankfully there was an exit right there, I can't imagine changing a flat on the side of the interstate!) and off the road to survey the damage.

IT was bad. The front right tire was trashed and the back right tire's rim was bent. So, we got out of the car and started the process of changing the flat. But first we had to find the donut. It was the first time with this car for a flat and we had no idea how to get to the spare tire. It was the van and not my car, so its not just in the trunk. So Erik is pulling things out of the van, including one of the seats, in an effort to get the stupid spare out. Oh, and its snowing and cold out, too. Finally I pull the owners manual out of the glove compartment and we make some headway. Turns out we didn't need to pull out that one seat, so it goes back in as well as the rest of the stuff. He gets the spare out and proceeds to jack up the van. He has to switch the back right tire with the front so that the donut is on the rear tires so that takes a bit. In the meantime he sends me down the road to a small gas/Laundromat/hotel to ask about the nearest station with air because low and behold, the spare isn't looking sorta flat. Luckily we only had to backtrack 6 miles to get air in it.

Can you believe we drove over the pass on that!?
After we filled the spare, we had to decide if we were going to finish our drive, including the pass, on the donut or backtrack all the way back. We were about halfway at this point. We decided to just keep on going, so while Erik is driving I am making phone calls trying to find us a new tire and rim for when we get to Spokane.  It was pretty slow going over the pass with the donut, but we made it and even found a tire place right away that had exactly what we were looking for.
It was crazy though, on our way back towards the pass, after filling the donut with air, we saw the hole we had hit and the Dept. of Transp. was repairing it, and down the exit we had taken with our flat? Three cars lined up, and we were pretty sure they all had flats too. The road was in horrible condition!

Well, we made it to Spokane safely if not without excitement and were able to have a fun night of dinner with friends there and a little slot machine playing at the casino connected to our hotel. Thankfully, our air travel the next day went without a hitch, although it was a long day. We flew from Spokane to Phoenix, then from PHX to Cancun. Once there we had a shuttle take us 50 minutes south to Playa del Carmen, were we had to get a ride on the Ferry over to the island, Cozumel, where we were staying. Once off the ferry it was into a taxi to get to our hotel. I think you can understand, after all that, why we didn't really leave our resort much the rest of the week!

We had a fairly interesting return trip, however, but that is a story I'll share next time.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for visiting, I love comments! Please let me know what you think!

Related Posts with Thumbnails