Limping Home

By , December 12, 2010

At last, we’re back in our little cabin—I hesitate to say “cozy,” just yet, but we’re working on restoring it to its usual warmth. After weather delays, we arrived on the ferry this morning. It’s been quite a trip.

Last night we closed down the boat we’d been staying on and headed for the ferry terminal around 10:00 pm. The terminal would be open all night to accommodate those of us who had been stranded by the fast ferry cancellations. We anticipated a sort of happy refugee/slumber party atmosphere.

Juneau had just gotten what we were told was the year’s first real snow, and the roads had not been plowed. I’d been doing well driving the slick roads at “city” traffic speed, but I’d experienced moments where the “head for the barn” feeling took over, and I automatically took routes that I used to when we lived there, even if we were headed elsewhere. As we approached the old turn to take us toward our old house, I naturally drifted into the turn off. When I realized my mistake, I corrected, lost traction on the road, and began fishtailing badly down the highway. A split second later we were on the median, fetched up broadside against a traffic sign! Luckily, a policeman was right behind us.

No one was hurt, but one of our rims was destroyed, and the tire flat. The officer called a tow truck, which took us to the ferry terminal. There we dug out the jack and lug wrench, and the “toy” temporary spare. I’m proud to say that, although I’ve had very little actual experience (knock on wood) I’m rather good at changing tires. Before long I had the tire replaced. It was dangerously low, but a ferry terminal employee fired up their air compressor and we filled it. We were back in action in time to sleep on the terminal floor for a bit before boarding.

I don’t know if you’ve ever used one of these temporary tires, but matched with our over-sized all-seasons, it felt like a peg leg. We had no balance, no traction—nothing needed for driving in winter conditions! We limped home, and will now work like mad to empty the car. Tomorrow I’ll limp into town where, hopefully, the local tire shop will have a rim for me, something closer to the size of our other tires. The main thing is, we’re safely home.

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