.....and sometimes it's just the sound of Fate (or Karma, or whatever you want to call it) slapping her knee in DELIGHT at our audacity to think we are in control of things.
Let me back up a minute and explain.
I am in the town of Columbus, Georgia, right next to the Alabama border (I can literally throw a rock into Alabama, if I can get it across the river) for Georgia BikeFest. It's one of the two weekend cycling events sponsored by BRAG, three days of cycling without having to decamp every morning. It is a beautiful spot right here by the river, and I remember standing in this parking lot last year and saying (maybe smugly, maybe not), "Next year I'll be retired, and I'll be the first one here, and I'll get whatever RV spot I damn well please."
It is rare that I take the RV anywhere by myself. Either Hubby or Katydid is usually with me, but Hubby doesn't DO cycling events at all, and Katydid couldn't come this year for a number of reasons. But I've become (more) comfortable driving the RV, and it was only roughly a three-hour trip, so I wasn't worried. Driving through downtown Atlanta has its challenges, but once you've driven an RV through Chicago, you're prepared for anything! I just told myself I would take it easy, not get in a rush, stay in the far right lane as much as possible, and not stress.
That plan worked beautifully, until I heard the gunshot.
Wait, before I tell you about the gunshot, I have to tell you something I found hilarious, but I won't drag it out forever. When I was just south of Atlanta, I called Rozmo to let her know I had left earlier than I had planned, and if she wanted to ride some today, I would be there. She said she had left LATER than she meant to, and she was just then at Flat Shoals Road. I looked up at the next overpass and said, "Huh? Me too." Then I looked in my side mirror and saw her coming up behind me. She forgot I was in the RV, so she didn't realize who it was she was about to pass. I thought that was hilarious, that I would choose to call her at the exact same moment we were at the same exact spot on the interstate.
Then I heard the gunshot. Well, it wasn't an actual gunshot, and I recognized it immediately for what it was, but I don't know HOW I recognized it, since I'd never heard it before. It was the sound of a tire blowing out. On the RV. On I-85. It's amazing how well the human brain adapts to challenging situations. As soon as I heard the sound, I immediately turned on the flashers (I don't even know how I knew where they were) and headed for the shoulder of the road. I got way, way, way off the side of the road, and even then the RV shook every time one of those tractor trailer rigs blew by. It was a little unnerving, to say the least.
I won't bore you with all the details, but I called the insurance company with whom the RV is insured, and who provide roadside assistance. At first I thought I didn't have a spare (that might teach me to listen to Hubby, but probably not), and she said the RV would have to be towed. Then I discovered I DID have a spare, and she said someone would come change it for me. Now I'm not a wimp and I do know how to change a flat tire, but I've never tried to raise an RV with a jack, and the RV has dual wheels on the rear. Naturally the tire that blew was the INSIDE one. Which means removing TWO wheels. Sheesh.
I had to wait about an hour and a half, so I spent the time reading on my iPad. Finally a very, VERY nice young man arrived, and he was completely unfazed by having to lie down on the side of the road with 18-wheelers whizzing by only inches (okay, feet) from his head. Yes, the flat had to happen on THAT side of the RV as well.
I was astounded at how quickly he was able to get the tire changed, but then he called me over and pointed. "There's some damage here," he said.
Uh oh. The exploding tire had torn the fuel line away from the "neck," the place where you put fuel in. It wasn't leaking, but there would be no way to put more gas in the RV because it would just pour onto the ground.
Great. My weekend just went to hell. On a bullet train.
But then he said I could take it to their shop (and assured me the RV was safe to drive), about 40 miles away but still on my way to Columbus, and they could fix it today. He couldn't RECOMMEND their shop, because that would be soliciting business, and I was welcome to take it somewhere else if I wanted to.
Seriously? I'm gonna drive an RV around some town I'm not familiar with and hope I happen on a repair shop that can replace a hose on an RV? No, your shop will be just fine.
Hubby texted me when I was on the way and said for me to ask how much it was going to cost, then take it somewhere else if it was a "crazy amount." See above hypothetical question, Hubby.
The kind young man followed me down the interstate for about 20 miles, poking along at the speed I felt safe driving, which was just below what I would have been able to do on my bike. (That might be a slight exaggeration.) I got teary-eyed when I realized he was hanging back there. Then he disappeared (he never passed me, so I assume he had to go on another call and exited the interstate) and my tears dried up.
The people at the automotive shop were VERY friendly (could it have anything to do with the fact that it is owned by a woman? hmmmmm?), and they got me back on the road. I got here in time to register and pick up my packet, and if I didn't get the very best RV spot, at least I got one, and if I didn't get to ride my bike today, I'll have three days of riding, and I am very thankful that today's incident didn't turn out any worse than it did.
I could have been driving much faster (I was about 10 below the posted speed limit). The tire could have blown when I was in the middle of downtown Atlanta. I could have been surrounded by cars on both sides. It could have been one of the front tires, which probably would have caused an accident. Perhaps even a rollover.
But I'm here, Rozmo and I have had dinner (wonderful Thai food), and I don't have to move the RV again until Sunday.
Probably the best news of all is that Hubby feels terribly, terribly guilty because he knew the tires needed to be replaced soon and was putting it off.
No telling what I might get out of this.