A highway misadventure


Yesterday I drove to Iowa for a reunion of sorts, and I’ll write about that at a later date.  On the way back, I hit a big block of concrete that sat in the middle of the highway.  I have no idea where this nearly invisible hazard came from, but I hit it full force.  I just knew that my front passenger tire would be damaged.  I stopped and couldn’t see any problems with my car.  Since it was late on a Saturday afternoon and I was in the middle of a rural area in Iowa, I just got in and drove on, praying that my vehicle would get me home.  I drove about 150 miles with little problem, though I could tell that my auto was veering to the right, and had a bit of a quiver that I could detect even from the steering wheel.  I was just north of Greentop and almost home when my tire blew out in grand fashion.  I immediately knew that my prayers to make it home had been nearly answered.

I pay a pretty good price for roadside assistance, so I got on my cell phone, which I only carry when I travel, and called the organization that would come to my aid.  I know how to change a tire, but I wasn’t sure my spare would have any air in it, and my back was out, so I wasn’t even sure I could lift the tire.

I went through all the phone menus in order to speak to someone for actual assistance and had to repeat numbers over and over again, knowing that they had my name on their computer and all of that information right in front of their nose, but I suppose they have their protocol.  Meanwhile, a very nice young man stopped to ask if I needed help.  He truly meant well, but failed to read the instructions on my jack, which is very small and has to be positioned carefully in order to work at all.  We finally gave up and I told him that my service was on the way and thanked him profusely for his help.  He protested that he didn’t do anything, since my spare was still not in place.  I tried to pay him, but he would have none of that.  I just appreciated so much that someone stopped to offer help as it was nearly dark, and I had no desire to be roadside with traffic roaring by with no natural illumination to light the scene.

Two more people stopped to offer help.  I thanked them and sent them on their way, assuring them that assistance would arrive soon.  Finally, as the light continued to fade, I repositioned the jack and went about putting the spare tire on myself in place of the badly damaged tire.  Even the rim was bent and will have to be replaced entirely.  I got as far as putting the spare in place and simply couldn’t go any further.  Another “Good Samaritan” stopped to help and easily picked up the spare and tightened the nuts so that the car was immediately serviceable again.  Again, I thanked my highway helper for his assistance and said I had to wait for the serviceman that had been dispatched by roadside assistance.

He finally got there and said he would tighten the nuts, but it was obvious that they were perfectly well tightened for the final ten miles of my trip.  Then came the paperwork, and I admit that I was pretty tired by then and a bit short on patience. 

I guess the moral of the story is that there are good people out there who are eager to stop and help a person in need.  I wouldn’t want to go without my service organization, but I explained clearly that I was just past the city limits of Greentop, and the dispatcher wanted to know the mile marker.  I had no idea what the mile marker was.  I kept explaining that I was at the north edge of Greentop on highway 63.  Finally I got home safe and sound, which was, of course, my ultimate goal.  Waiting for the paid help made me more than two hours later than I should have been, and I do realize that one cannot always rely on volunteer roadside assistance.  I was happy to have had the help I received, though.