As I prepared for our annual summer vacation, I worried about my children and me arriving at our destination safely and without any problems. For the last few years my two children and I travel some place to get away for a week in the summer. Sometimes my parents are at our destination, but as my children have grown, I have gotten braver about going places on our own. However, my worst fear is something happening between here and there and being stranded.
At the end of July 2010, my children and I prepared for our trip to Myrtle Beach, SC, one of our favorite vacation spots. We hadn’t been there in three years so we were looking forward to some rest and relaxation on the beach.
Driving along the interstates between home and South Carolina was not an easy task for me. All I could think about was getting to Myrtle Beach safely. I don’t know how many cars, trucks and assorted vehicles towing trailers we saw pulled off on the side of the road with a flat tire, but it was a bit unnerving. I just kept praying and hoping that it didn’t happen to us.
After a 13-hour trip, we made it safely and all in one piece to Myrtle Beach. I thought how great that was. One half of the trip was done; now all I had to do was worry about the trip home. However, I tried hard not to do that and simply enjoy our time there.
On our second full day in Myrtle Beach, my children and I decided we would use our GPS system and see what flea markets we could find. My children love going to an inside flea market we found on our previous trip, but, according to the GPS, there was another one so we thought we check it out.
As we headed down the four-lane main thoroughfare called Kings Highway, for those of you who are familiar with the area, another out-of-state car decided to cut me off. I thought for sure he had my driver’s side front end. I had already been paranoid about cars being too close to me after a motor scooter hit me on the passenger side about two months before. (Yes, you read that right, and he did plenty of damage.) However, I did the knee jerk reaction and turned my steering wheel to the right. I felt the car jerking around and wondered what was going on. Something didn’t feel quite right so I pulled onto a side street as soon as I could.
I jumped out of the car to survey the damage and found a spot on the wheel cut and bent back and two nice cuts in the tire, which had instantly flattened. Now what the heck was I going to do? I was 800 miles from home and knew no one until I remembered that my daughter’s friend’s family was in Myrtle Beach as well. I had my daughter call her friend and see if her dad could come help me change the tire to the spare one. I had never in my life changed a flat tire and had no clue what to do.
As we waited on my daughter’s friend’s dad to arrive, a Myrtle Beach patrol officer pulled up and didn’t hesitate to change the tire for me. Since I had just bought the tire not much more than a year before, I asked him if there was a Sam’s Club in the area. It turned out there was. We thanked the officer and headed to Sam’s. While on our way, my daughter called her friend back to tell her we didn’t need her dad anymore. He couldn’t find us anyway since he wasn’t familiar with the area.
We spent nearly three hours sitting at Sam’s Club, half of the time was just waiting for them to even get to our car, and with two impatient children, the wait wasn’t easy. Of course, it had to happen shortly before dinnertime so that made it even worse. As we waited, I began worrying about what the man had said to me, how he hoped the tire would bead to the wheel. A thousand questions began running through my head. It was getting late so if he couldn’t get the tire to bead to the wheel what was I going to do?
I just kept hoping and praying that it was fixable, at least until we could get back home. My prayer was answered when the man told me he thought they had it fixed. He told me to keep an eye on it until we left to head home. I was so thankful for him, and the best part about the whole situation was I didn’t have to buy a new tire. My tire was new enough that it was covered under the warranty. Yes!
Finally, we were able to eat the dinner we had wanted and could enjoy the rest of the week without any worries until the night before we headed home. I worried about whether the tire and wheel could withstand the car’s high speeds on the interstates on the way home when it was used to puttering around in Myrtle Beach, but we made it home just fine. In fact, that wheel stayed on my car until just recently, over three months later, when I finally bought new wheels for all four tires.