Earlier this fall we decided we needed to make the trek to Sioux Fall to see Elder Son, whom we hadn’t seen since the Fourth of July weekend. Because his schedule includes being the on-call resident on certain weekends, we emailed him and asked for potential free weekends starting November 1. (Smokey knew he had outdoor stuff to do before winter set in and didn’t want to miss any sunny Saturdays/Sundays.)
We all settled on the weekend of November 6 – 8.
Separately, we had decided to spend a few days on the North Shore to celebrate our 41th anniversary. My October calendar was full (good grief, when did I ever have time for a job?) so we settled on November 9 – 13.
See what we did there? Here, let me draw you a map.
Well, we said, if that’s how it has to be, then that’s how it has to be. And we set out at 11:50 am on Friday, November 6, for the first leg of our road trip, the six-hour drive to Sioux Falls.. (I give you the exact time of departure because it is a remarkable one. We tend to leave our packing and preparation until the day of departure, but this time we — by which I mean Smokey, who does most of that packing and preparing — had been packing and preparing for two days. His goal was to leave by noon on Friday, and, by gum, we did. Score!)
All went swimmingly until the last ten miles, when one of the rear wheels fell off the van.
On the interstate.
Apparently the mechanic who had put new tires on the van a couple weeks prior had forgotten to tighten the lug nuts.
Smokey kept the van under control and managed to pull onto the shoulder. As he wrestled with the steering wheel I wondered (fairly calmly) to myself, Is this it? Is this the time we crash and die? Huh.
Apparently not. Once we had come to a stop I congratulated Smokey on his epic job of keeping the van under control. And he began the task of 1, figuring out what exactly had happened; 2, calling for roadside assistance; 3, calling Elder Son to tell him we would be a bit later than we had told him five minutes ago and would he please come pick up Mom and the dogs? and 4, searching for the errant wheel.
A highway patrol came to our aid, a tow truck was summoned, ES found us, and all was well, although we never did find that errant wheel, only the shredded tire tread.
Smokey spent the next day in the parking lot of the garage where the van was towed putting the wheel back together and putting on the spare tire. When he was done he said it had been fun — the weather was sunny and warm and slightly breezy, he had all the tools he needed, and the repair had gone well. Yes, this is my husband’s idea of fun.
We had a pleasant weekend. Misha the dog had a great time playing with Moose the much bigger dog, I introduced ES to Scandal on Netflix, we ate good stuff, and we all caught up with each other’s lives.
On Monday we set out. We didn’t have a spare tire any more, and we didn’t know if Friday’s mishap had caused more damage to the van than we knew about. Our revised plan was to drive to the North Shore via home, where we would change to a different car (the joys of having a fleet at our disposal), and continue to The Lake. But after a couple hundred miles we decided to chance it and continue on to the north in the van.
Stay tuned for the next segment of the saga.