Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Travel Tails

And So It Goes

Hearing the steady hum of tires against highway, coupled with the sound of a happy engine, especially when travelling, is satisfying. They’re sounds that say, all is well, no weird little noises to wonder and worry about, you’ll get there! We’d experienced a flat tire on the trailer, as well as a fairly significant breakdown on the van, but trouble now seemed behind us as we headed for home.
“We should find somewhere to eat,” I suggested to sweetpea, as Idaho Falls grew large before us, “or grab and go? Your choice.”
“Shop?” My little shopaholic suggested, a big grin on her face, “maybe there’s a tack shop around?”
“May be,” I agreed all too readily, as I’m a sucker for a tack shop or farm supply, “keep your eyes open.”
Pleased with the prospect of finding some good deals, on stuff we probably didn’t need, yet most assuredly had to have and couldn’t be without, we were in high spirits. Then it happened. That distinctive sound, like a shotgun going off. Immediately glancing at the side mirror, I saw the accompanying smoke and dust.
“Oh no,” looking as well, the girlchild groaned, “we didn’t just blow a tire, did we?”
“Of course, we did,” I sighed as I pulled over onto the shoulder.
To my surprise, there was a vehicle pulling over with us. I hoped chunks of tire hadn’t blown off and hit their car, or something equally as crazy as that. It would be just my luck though. What can go wrong, will. We were amazed to find, they hadn’t pulled in behind us, to complain in any way, but to help. The young couple with their two little boys, had seen what had happened, noticed the unfamiliar plate, and just like that, decided to lend a hand.
My usual good spirits sank a little, as I walked to the trailer to see which tire had exploded with a cloud of dust and dirt. It didn’t take a rocket scientist, to see that not one tire had blown, but two! I don’t know how many people manage to blow two at a time, but I totally nailed it. I suppose the chain reaction was set off, because when one tire went, the other couldn’t handle the stress of the extra weight on its own. The tires were simply too old and tired, to go it on their own. No matter. It wasn’t like I hadn’t brought along enough spares. I still had the one that belonged to the trailer, as well as another.
We got the blown tires off and spares on. The problem was that one tire was going flat, and fast. Even as we stood there, air could be heard hissing from the valve stem, and the other tire was far more weather-checked than was healthy. The sidewalls of that tire, looked like dried out mudflats in the middle of a drought. There was no way around it, I was going to have to buy some tires. Renting that trailer was about to become very, very expensive.
Our good samaritans called to see how late the local Walmart was open, only to learn that it would be closing in twenty minutes. There was no way we’d get tires on that day. We had no choice but to make our way to the store, sleep on the lot in our camper then get new tires installed the next day.
The young couple insisted on following us to make sure we made it. Funny thing was, as soon as we parked, the husband came over to talk to us. It turned out that they were concerned about our safety, parked there in that empty lot all night. Would we like to follow them home? It would be far safer to park the van in their driveway, and it would still be quiet for sleeping. It made sense, and we agreed. The more we thought about it, the idea of spending the night in a parking lot, in a strange city was less appealing by the minute.
We followed them home, parked where they beckoned us to,  then proceeded to surprise us again.
“My wife and I have been talking,” he started, “and we don’t like the idea of you two sleeping out here. We think it would be far safer, if you slept in the house. We have plenty of room. Please, we’ll feel a lot better, if you do.”
What could we do? We said yes. The most unusual thing about their insistence and willingness to help and welcome us into their home was that there’d been a murder and child abduction in the Idaho Falls area. That this kind couple, wanted to help us at all was rather overwhelming. For all they knew, we were crazy people, crazy, dangerous people, yet they were ever so generous.
As it turned out, we had a lovely evening in very good company. They ordered in pizza, we chatted about all sorts of things, including the rather unusual name of one of their adorable sons. Dad was a huge football fan and had insisted on Cannon. It was a pretty darn great name for a football player, especially when the last name that went with it was, Ball. I’m sure that child is destined for something great. Some day, I’m sure we’ll hear the name, Cannon Ball. I can think of no better moniker, for a football player! Over the years, we’ve forgotten the names of his wonderfully kind parents and brother, but Cannon, that’s with us forever.
The next day, we headed back to Walmart, bought four, reasonably priced tires, had them mounted on rims and installed on the trailer. There was no point in only buying three, as with my sort of luck, the last one would surely blow.
I still grin at the look on the faces of the border guards, when we finally arrived back at the crossing into Canada. Repairs, yes, but only from necessity. Yes, I had purchased new tires. Had I wanted to? No darn way. Was it a necessary evil? Sadly, yes. I even asked, if they’d like to see the blowouts, but they didn’t. With smiles, they waved us through. I suppose they figured, we’d suffered enough.
So if you live near Idaho Falls and know the Ball family, say hello to them from us. Tell them, we remember them still, and wonder if Cannon lived up to his name.

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About Trudy Andrew

Trudy Andrew lives on a small farm just east of Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she enjoys her Morgan horses. A dreamer since she was a child, its no surprise to those who know her well that her imagination would find an outlet in writing, as it has in the past through artwork.
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 Oakbank, MB