Saturday, April 25, 2009

Traveling in Eastern Washington is SCARY once you get off I-90

We had to drive the kids to Ellensburg to meet up with Brandon yesterday. We got everything packed and off we headed on our way.

About 5 miles out of town we ended up going 20 in a 60 zone because there's tractors on the road. The windy road where no one can pass. Luckily, we were going slow.

We got a flat.

We pulled off and realized we had NO idea where the spare was in the van. Or the jack.

Aiden whipped out the owner's manual (thank heavens we have that!) and found the jack was under the second row captain's chair. We had to tilt the base of the seat forward (I'm not sure we knew it did that before) and pull up some carpet. Then we had to figure out how to finagle it out of the dang holder.

Honestly! Who puts things in these locations? The red circle is the spare tire (under some layers) and the yellow arrow is the seat the jack hides under.

Whew! Okay, now where's the spare? And where's the tire iron that will double as the jack handle?

Hmm.... consult the book. Flip the chair back down. Now lift up the removable carpet from between the first two rows. Locate the flap on the carpet under the rug you have just flung onto the shoulder of the road. Lift that flap, and see a piece of plastic. Lift THAT up and find the spare. But you have to figure out your own method of un-twisting the stupid thing holding it in there. (the jack handle/tire iron was also in there).


We put the jack under the car (yay! An easy part) and Aiden started to jack it up. But it's one of those retarded jacks that come with Nissan cars so you have to do a lot of "half a circle turn, now flip the handle back to the other side... annnnnd.... half a circle turn, now flip the handle back to the other side..."

Aiden has changed one tire in his life. I have witnessed Brandon try to change one tire (badly... a whole other post. I'll have to remember to write it sometime). BUT!! There was a rule in our house that if you wanted to get your driver's license you had to know how to check the belts and fluids (which I promptly forgot), change your own oil and filter, and change a tire. I was SOOO unimpressed that I had to learn it. (not as unimpressed as I was 8 years later watching Brandon F*** it up so badly that I had to flag down a motor home to save us from his stupidity).


While Aiden fumbled with the jack, I got tired of watching him be frustrated. I took charge and jacked up the car. It seemed easier than explaining it. Plus, I kinda like getting my hands dirty on stuff like that once in a while.

(and yes, I loosened the lug nuts before jacking it up)(because I also watched/helped Valerie change a tire in The Fair's parking lot once)(Even she was better at it than Brandon)(which makes sense since she's SUPERWOMAN and can do ANYTHING/EVERYTHING)

While I was sitting there jacking up the car, three different people stopped to offer help. Including one very nice looking, clean cut college aged boy in a Camaro. (Oh, if only it were 1986!) We assured all of them we were just fine, finished the job and headed on our way.

But what was our way?

It's about 20 miles between here and the next city and because we had been going so slow for so long, and because there's nothing to make any one curve look different from the others for about 15 miles, we had no idea if we were closer to our town or the next one.

We decided to try going forward and luckily we were right. We found Les Schwab (the only tire place in that town... and we were lucky there was ANY) and they promptly informed us the hole was in a good place to be fixed. But they couldn't fix it because it was too big.

Now I was pissed. We bought these tires 13 months ago at Discount Tire. So of course we had to buy the new one (if you buy them from Les Schwab and are in this situation, they just give you a new one for free!).

The underlying problem with this entire trip is that I am broke. Like all the way broke. No way could I buy a tire or drive the remaining 160 miles on the spare.

The kids started freaking out so I called the "Bank of 'Miff" and got ahold of Dad. I explained the situation and asked if he could loan us the money to get the new tire.

He did. And we got all fixed and on the road. (my dad is better than yours!!!)(Unless you're Valerie because, well, it's the same guy. duh.)

The whole time I was calling Brandon with updates. His biggest concern was if we didn't get to come we would need to pay him back the gas money he had lent us to get there with.

So we got on the road and headed to Ellensburg.

And we were making really good time (considering the stop for the whole tire thing was an hour or so). Then we came upon the interchange between our highway and a North/South highway. That particular bend in the road always freaks me out but THIS time, there was some 6 car caravan with flaggers, flashing lights, lead cars forcing oncoming traffic to stop until they had passed, and an immensely over sized vehicle. Not so much wide, but it was, but LONG. It was a long flat bed with another flatbed behind it with some HUGE blue thing on it TOWING another truck that looked like a milk truck.

I didn't know that was even legal, to be so long.

We followed that circus train from there to Othello where we gave up and pulled off for a potty break. What would have normally been 65 mph was 30-45 mph. On the flat parts. Which are few. Mostly we followed uphill so it took even longer.

Eventually we got to Ellensburg, dropped off the kids, and headed home.

The trip home was a whole other experience but this is long so I am going to have to save it for another time.

Try not to cry about it.


  1. I have only ever had to change a tire in my little Sentra, but then I did it at least 3 times. I'm very grateful that I had to learn it too!

  2. Man, you guys like to do everything with an adventure, don't you!


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