Boat pick-up time was 10am.
Boat location was 15 minutes away.
Round trip time: 5 hours.
Five hours you ask?
Well yes, she did offer us a coffee while she was signing over the boat ownership and Jeff was signing our cheque, but no – we couldn’t have been at her place for longer than 15 minutes.
One of the trailer tires on the boat was a little low. They had warned us earlier, so Jeff brought his air compressor and we pumped it back up. We hooked the trailer to the truck, drove out her driveway, pulled onto the road and…
Ahhh no, the tire blew.
No problem Jeff said – we’ll just go slow and drive it on the back gravel road to get home. It’s flat but the rubber is still there.
You want me to get out and look at it Jeff?
No, you don’t want to see it.
By the time we were well into the middle of nowhere on the back gravel road, the tire had completely shredded and was flapping all over.
This isn’t good, says Jeff. We can’t take it on the highway like this.
Uhm… says Lisa. I guess we should have bought new tires before we picked up?
Well we can’t leave it here in the middle of nowhere. We haven’t switched the ownership yet and the boat isn’t insured yet. You think I can wrap the rubber up in rope and form some sort of tire Lisa?
No, I think it’s too far gone. Okay Jeff, I’ll stay here with the boat, it’s no problem, give me a coat from the truck, and you go find something to get us home.
OK, If I don’t find a better idea, I will empty the truck and take the topper off – then we could put the boat in the back and slide the trailer on top. Okay stay here Lisa. I’ll be right back.
And there I was. On the side of the road, with a boat, surrounded by trees. It was sunny. I had my cell phone out so I send a couple tweets out to the world. And snap a candid picture of the problem:
Soon a big truck pulled up and the driver rolled down his window to see what was up.
True to form for a local, he wasn’t satisfied just talking to me, he had to place me into the fabric of his landscape. Within 4 minutes, he knew where I lived, what house, who we bought it from, who our neighbour was, where I went to school, where I worked, who my husband was, where he worked, that we just bought the boat, that it wasn’t insured yet, who we bought the boat from, where we came from in Ontario, and even who build our house originally. Normal conversation when you chat with a local. I assured him I would be okay and that Jeff would figure something out. He was off to look at a stand of timber he was going to cut (he was a logger) so off he went.
I walked down the road a bit where I saw a big block of a freshly cut log. It must have fallen off a truck of firewood or something. I carried it back to the boat and sat myself down.
Jeff was back in no time. He had some tools to take off the tire, but couldn’t think or find anything that would work as a make shift tire.
Unfortunately the nuts on the tire were really sunk in and the normal ratchet wasn’t long enough. Jeff sent me back to the house in the truck for supplies. If he could get the tire off, then I could go to town and find a replacement.
From home I grabbed more tools, a wind up radio, crackers, some chips, cheese sticks, a container of water, and a lawn chair for him. Oh yeah and a knife in case it turned ugly out there.
It took two of us to get the really seized nuts loose so the tire could come off. Just as we walked over to see if we could see a size number on the other tire, a car came along the dirt road and stopped beside us. The engine turned off.
I had been bent over looking at the tire. When I looked up and into the car I saw a man on the passenger side and the shadow of a man at the drivers side. They stopped to see what the problem was. The passenger man smiled his big grin and all I could see was the three remaining teeth he had clustered together on his bottom jaw. If he had any other teeth, they weren’t visible.
Over the course of the next 3 cigarettes he smoked, they asked us all about the fishing around here, and what each lake was like. The driver offered Jeff a beer. Jeff passed, and the passenger was glad, because they only had 2 left. We learned how the passenger had spent some time in jail because he over fished and refused to pay his fine. They bashed the government and cops a little bit and I was getting uneasy they were about to ask what Jeff did for a living.
Eventually they mosied on. Jeff gave me all the info I need to know to get the right tire from Canadian Tire and off I went, leaving him there on the side of the road.
I stopped at home to get a measuring tape to measure the diameter of the rim on the shredded tire. I quickly switched from the truck to the car too because I prefer driving my little car (even with the annoying studded tires on). I zipped into Antigonish and headed straight for the Canadian Tire. It doesn’t open until noon on a Sunday but it was well past that by that time.
I scurried around looking for trailer tires and came up with nothing. A couple of people were lingering by the automotive desk so I joined the crowd. The auto desk wasn’t open on a Sunday, but eventually I got a young man’s attention. He tried looking on the computer to see if they had any 13 inch diameter trailer tires with 4 holes for the bolts. He said, are you sure its a 13 inch and not a 12? Well I did measure, but the tire is in the car. Well bring it in if you can and we’ll match it up.
Off I go back through the mall entrance back to the car to fetch the shredded tire. I also fetched a glove because you’d be surprised how sharp a shredded tire is!
As I walked back into the mall towards Canadian Tire, everyone was noticing the tire and wincing. You’d be surprised at the sympathetic looks when you are carrying such a mess. Even more so when I reached the automotive counter and explained my husband was still on the side of the road so I would appreciate any tire they had that matched.
Luckily they did.
So I asked for two.
It really didn’t matter the price at that point.
After 10 more minutes of waiting for an employee to find the tires in the back, and then waiting for the kind man to find a cart for them both, I was back on my mission.
Wait ma’am. Would you like to keep this one? If you sand down the rim you’d have yourself a good rim for a spare!
OK, I’ll take it.
Off I went, to the cash, catching a couple more sympathetic ewwww’s and winces. I paid the bill and headed out to load them in the back of the car.
Then my cell phone rang. It was Jeff calling from his lawn chair on the side of the road. He told me to stop at home and pick up the jerry can because he thought the truck was at risk of running out of gas. Good thing I took the car! I’ll see you in 30 minutes I said.
Zoom! I zipped back home, grabbed the jerry can of gas, moved the tires into the truck, and headed off to find my husband.
When I pulled up, Jeff was checking his watch.
3 and a half minutes he said.
I gave you an hour an a half and you beat it by 3 and a half minutes.
Well done I thought.
I folded up his lawn chair and asked how many friends he met. Only two people stopped after I left, and two just sped on by.
It didn’t take too long to put the new tire on and we were back in business!
It didn’t even matter that the shredded tire had smashed off the rear trailer light, because the wires were all damaged and in pieces so we didn’t have legal trailer lights anyway. It was just supposed to be a quick drive home!
Now, let me present to you……
Our new boat :
The motor is shiny and looks brand new inside. The previous owner had the boat for at least 10 years, but it was used very rarely. He just wanted to fish with his grandson.
I’m sure you would like to see the old tire!