*Phew!* That was close.
If you haven't read Part 1 of this story (my previous post), go do that NOW! Otherwise you will be le confused.
You've been waiting for it. Pins and needles and all that. Here we go.
When we left off, Tom and Jared parked Stephen's car at a random farm with Brian, Vanessa, and myself in the car behind them. The guys threw the keys to Bob and hopped in Brian's car with us.
We're all still kind of processing what just happened. I said some prayers for Stephen as I'm sure others did. But we still have a major problem on our hands. Our only means of transportation back to Indiana has 3 wheels (the spare was rusted on after not being used for 11 years, so that wasn't an option).
As we drove the 10 miles to town, Vanessa turned around to me and Jared in the back seat and says something like, "Hey, you people with smart phones, can you call the Walmart tire department?" I hopped on it.
The tire department is closed.
Really??? It's 8:00 pm on a Wednesday. Not 3:00 am.
We tried Sears.
As I'm looking at the map of the town with all the little pins that pop up as auto service centers (iPhones rule), I realize our options are dwindling. But I tapped on one little red pin on the screen and it said, "Gary's Auto Repair." I thought, "Why not try it?"
I dialed and I got a sound I almost never hear anymore when calling people... a busy signal. A ray of hope! Someone is still at the shop!
I dialed again and it rang. And then, I heard it. The voice of an angel:
"Hi, um... how late are you open tonight?"
"Well, I'm just tryin' to wrap some things up and get outta here soon."
I frantically explain our situation. We need a tire! BAD!! And everywhere in this town is closed!!
At that point I hand the phone to Vanessa and let her iron out the details. Gary thinks he might have a used tired that fits. We just needed to bring the rim to him so he could see what size we needed. No problem! We had the rim in Brian's trunk and we were at Gary's in two shakes.
Well, he didn't have the right size tire.
NOOO!! Now what?? Every tire place is closed in the world until tomorrow.
But someone pointed out that at Walmart, even though the tire center is closed, the tires are still out there, accessible to anyone.
(I don't remember who thought of that, but good job!)
Would they let us just pick out a tire and bring it to the cash register? Was that possible?
Turns out, yes it's possible.
Oh thank the Lord! If we could get the right size tire to Gary, he would put it on the rim and balance it for us. He was already staying open longer than he probably wanted to. Angel. I told you.
Brian, Vanessa, Jared, and I drove out to Walmart. Tom stayed behind at Gary's and hung out with his friend Louis who had stopped by to maybe help us.
We got to Walmart, picked out the tire we needed, and then Jared carried it through the store, slapped it up on the register at the self-checkout, and Vanessa paid for it. I felt like we were out of the woods.
When we got to Gary's, Jared and I stayed with Tom and his friend while Brian and Vanessa went to pick up the girls from their game.
Yeah, the girls. Remember? The whole reason we came out was to see their softball games which was long over by this point.
As we waited for Gary to finish the tire, I snapped this photo:
And I thought, "How can you still manage to look stud-ly after all we've been through??"
I looked kind of like this:
The girls arrived. We told them everything. They were happy Jared and I had come to see them, but I still felt bad we hadn't gotten to see them play. But it was no one's fault, it just happened.
Gary got the tire on and balanced, but he showed us all the the rim was slightly bent, but would be good enough to at least get us home.
Hallelujah! We had the tire!
But now there were 6 of us. And Brian's car only seated 5 comfortably, soooo... Louis was still around and had a vehicle that could seat us all just fine, so he offered to take us back to the 3-wheeled van.
So now you're thinking, "Okay, so they get the tire on the van and turn around and head back home."
WRONG!! Folks, this story STILL isn't over.
I have to pick it up at this point tomorrow. Stay tuned for the shocking conclusion.