It’s Easter weekend and my fiance and I decided to take off a day early and skip our one class on the Thursday before Good Friday. Since Easter fell so close to the end of the school year we decided to take a lot of unnecessary things home for the summer. We loaded up all our things in my tiny Volkswagen Rabbit and started driving home. It was a warm, sunny day, with a high of 65 in the Chicagoland area and were just getting towards the end of our route out of Chicago just a few short miles from Rockford Illinois when the highlight of my year here at Wheaton happened.
After the brutally cold long winter in the area, the highways are, shall we say, “less than in prime condition”. By “less than prime condition” I really mean there was a twenty foot long, by two foot wide, by six inch deep pothole straight down the middle of the road. Which, as chance would have it, I didn’t see until I was already changing from the left to the right lane when BAM! I roll right into it at 75 MPH and experience a double blow out on my two passenger side tires.
Now I know what you are probably thinking at this point. “Is he crazy? That’s an expensive highlight… That’s dangerous…” However, after pulling off the road safely, putting on the four way flashers and calling AAA to attempt to get a tow-truck (who was busy, but did arrive after just a few hours), and going over our wedding invite lists, we ended up in pretty great shape all things considered. We were both a little rattled by the experience, but once the initial shock was over and the two hour wait ensued, we both began to see the humor in it. We had left a day early and decided to skip classes only to be thwarted an hour in by a double flat. We sat on the side of the road speaking with a few kind DeKalb county sheriffs and a less than kind IL state patrol officer who seemed to think we had a different agenda than waiting for a tow-truck and insisted that we call the tow truck company to prove there was one actually coming.
However, once the tow truck arrived and we were on the wrong side of the road for him to change the right side tires safely we had to pull all the way across the busy interstate, on two flat tires, and swap the spare tire with the back right so that we could tow my car the few short miles to Belvidere IL. To put this all in perspective, here’s a map of where we were, and how much farther we had to go in order to end up on the acceptably-maintained I-90.
So, after riding and talking with the tow truck driver for the few short minutes on our way to the tire store we ended up back on our way home, riding a spare and a brand new tire all the way back (Another 7 hours) to Minnesota.
Now I realize this is an odd highlight, but it really forced me to take what really matters to heart. A couple hundred dollars in tires is nothing compared to an exciting experience, a broken rim is nothing in comparison to our lives and safety, and the times and experiences that we are given are exactly that. Sometimes things are completely out of our control and we just have to roll with the punches and make the best of the situations we are given. Taking that to heart has really been the best thing to happen to me this year, even if it was an expensive lesson to learn.