Caveat Viator Meets High Maintenance

When John left for his Chicago trip at 1:00 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving, I knew I would miss him eventually, but my first thought was that I had five days where the only things I had to maintain were me and the 8 dogs.  That thought quickly left my mind when my phone rang at 1:10 a.m., and I saw the caller was John.  I feared he was calling to tell me he had provided some vehicular venison for the family as the deer are plentiful and active this time of year.  Instead, he was calling to tell me that he had fallen victim once again to our ongoing nemesis:  Rice County Commissioners’ road maintenance.

The bright spot was his location less than 3 miles from the house.  The downside was a 45 minute drive ahead of him and 50 minutes to do it.  He actually didn’t have to catch the train until 2:20, but the website urged travelers to arrive 30 minutes early so we had to figure out a plan quickly.  I slipped on my coat and hurried out the door thinking John could bring me home and head out again in my vehicle, and I could walk to the pickup in the morning, change the tire, and drive home.  When I got there, John said he was afraid he would be cutting it too close if he took me home so he was just going on from there, and I should drive the pickup home with a flat tire. Normally I would have walked home and dealt with things in the morning, but the temperature was about 30 degrees and the wind was blowing about 40 miles an hour so I decided that his suggestion was the best option even though it would ruin the tire.

Driving on a completely flat tire was a new experience, and not one I would recommend.  I bounced along at a brisk 5-10 miles an hour making the normally short drive last over 30 minutes.  I was absolutely exhausted but too agitated to sleep when I got home so I called John at 2:00 to check on his progress.  He wasn’t at the train station yet, but he said he was only a few blocks away.  Reassured, I finally went to bed, but looking at the ruined tire the next day reminded me of two things.  Traveling the unpaved county roads in Rice County is expensive and potentially dangerous, and I should turn my cell phone off after 10:00 p.m.

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