Matt's Initiation - part 3 - these things come in groups of 3, right?
We had been teasing Matt that our string of bad luck was his initiation. Michael and I were reminiscing back to our first month in the Airstream and how it seemed like there was a new challenge at every stop. Remember the Airstream Woes blog? "Is your initiation over, yet?" we would ask Matt. He always responded, "I hope so!"
There is an old saying that bad luck strikes in groups of 3. It seems that Matt's initiation was not yet over. We were excited to cross the Texas border. Texas has the special place in our heart since it it where Michael and I lived when we were first married. Michael wanted to stop at the visitor's center and get a "Don't Mess with Texas" bumper sticker. We had gotten a jump on the day because we knew our hosts were planning a dinner for us that evening.
It turned out to be a good thing that we started out early because we did not get much further than the Texas border. Soon there was a truck that pulled up beside us and pointed furiously at us. Michael checked the mirror and, sure enough, he saw rubber flying. He slowed down and pulled to the shoulder. We could see the sign for the exit. It was just 1/4 mile, so we inched along at a slow pace in hopes of taking the kids to town for lunch while we waited on Roadside Assistance. When we got to the sign, we realized it said "exit 1 mile." We knew we would not make it and called it quits. We could see more rubber flying and now and it seemed we were also dragging something.
We took a look and dialed Roadside Assistance. It had been less than a week since the last call. This time, since the damage was on the trailer, I chose to call our RV insurance. They estimated that it would be 90 minutes for help to arrive. It began to rain.
I knew that it would be a long wait with 8 people on the side of the interstate. I asked the guy on the phone if it was possible to unhitch the trailer and let the family drive to town for lunch. He said that was OK, as long as someone stayed with the trailer. Michael had the foresight to see that it would be a hassle to get back and hitch up that close to 75 MPH traffic. He suggested that 1 mile was walking distance. I volunteered to wait and he took off walking, in the rain, with 5 kids. I sent him with a backpack of a laptop and a DVD just in case the wait was longer than expected. MJMJ (who had been a brat all morning) kept spirits high by singing, "Oh no! You never let go!" the Matt Redman song. We couldn't help but giggle.
Roadside assistance came and found our spare. He removed the shredded tire, but had to beat back the fender with a sledge hammer to get it to fit. He tied up the electrical outlet that was hanging. When he asked me to pull forward off his boards, the van's battery had died. He pulled out into 75 mile an hour traffic in REVERSE and gave me a jump start. I have decided that you have to have GUTS to be a roadside assistance guy. Next, he started to process the payment from the insurance company. The machine was glitchy and it was taking a long time. I look down and realize that we have next to no gas. I tell him that if he does not speed things up, then he'll be doing a gas service, too! Luckily, that was not needed.
I drove to the gas station, filled up, and then picked up the family. They said that Taco Bell may just be a new family favorite, especially on meatless Fridays. I expected to have to waste another 90 minutes at the tire shop. I prepared Michael and the kids and we found the shop the tow company had recommended. We pulled up. I threw the shredded tire on the ground in front of the 3 men. They looked at me and said, "just patch it up, huh?" I said, "Yeah!" and we all laughed. They had a new tire on the Airstream and the spare stowed again in about 5 minutes. We never even had to pull into a parking spot. We made it to La Grange, TX in time for dinner!