Flat Tire!

(Note: I’m writing this in the past tense because I didn’t actually write any of this while I was on my trip.)

Day 6: Tess, Rita, and Liese went rock hunting down at Lake Superior; I guess they were looking for agates, whatever those are.  I don’t really have an appreciation for rocks (after all, I went to public school), so Emily and I got volunteered to head into town with the strangest grocery list ever: yeast, sugar, ice (cubes), ice (block), batteries, and (of course) beer.

We rounded up all our items and headed back to camp down H-58.  Now H-58 is paved, but at the county line it turns into Luce County 408 and the pavement ceases.  So I was cruising down the dirt portion of the road and had slid around a couple corners when I thought to myself, “hmm… what’s that burning rubber smell?”

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Well, there’s your problem!

I pulled out the spare tire and it looked fine, except it was flat.  So here we were, five miles from town with a shredded tire and a flat spare.  Emily and I both turned on our phones; mine had absolutely no service.  Emily’s phone worked if she stood on the South side of the road, but not the North side; I guess Verizon really does have the best coverage.  We called Rita and got her voicemail, then we sent her a text, and then we left another voicemail.  Rita and the others were busy picking through rocks, so I wasn’t surprised when they didn’t answer; but the problem was that we had no way to know that they’d even gotten our messages.  A few cars drove by, but eventually someone stopped and asked if we were okay.  I explained the situation to him (a spare with no air) and asked if I could get a ride back to town to pump it up.  He agreed and helped me get the tire into the back of his Toyota, and off we went.

Peter and Nancy were absolutely lovely people, they were retired, and their son had just gotten married earlier that week.  They showed me pictures of the wedding, which was a real simple affair that they’d held outside on their acreage down near Traverse City.  On the way back to town, Peter and Nancy showed me the cabins where they were staying; only $50/night with a fridge, a cooktop, satellite TV, even WiFi, and it’s only a few hundred feet from Lake Superior; seemed like a good deal to me.

We finally got back to Grand Marais, stopped at the gas station, and pulled up to the air hose.  That’s when I saw the sign “Air Out of Order.”  I went inside to ask the station attendant about the hose and she said “Oh, give it a try, it’s probably fine!,” and she was right.  We pumped up the tire, I got a can of Fix-a-Flat (just to be safe) and back we went toward the bus.

The rest of the story goes as you’d expect: I swapped out the tire, threw the old, shredded tire in the back, and drove oh-so-carefully back to the campsite.  The end.

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