The First Road Trip

The new car.

It sits there, enticing. Bewitching. Whispering.

“The road awaits. Think of all those friends you have ignored all summer. All those people you wanted to visit.”

One phone call later, the suitcase is packed.

One hundred miles later, we are sitting on the edge of the road thinking, “This is most certainly not how the day was supposed to progress.”

The tire that would have to be replaced “ someday soon, but not yet” suddenly decided that RIGHT—THIS—INSTANT is soon enough.

Sitting in Wal*Mart, filling the donut so we can get a little further down the road.

Grinnell is certainly a nice town, but we had not planned to spend the afternoon there enjoying the exciting delights of the local Theissen’s. Just in case you wondered, it is possible to buy an extensive array of rubber animal toys, but not a single notebook — the one non-automobile related item we desired to purchase.

There is also free popcorn. If you happen to arrive peckish rather than queasy from visions of a near-death experience caused by a tire blowing-out on the Interstate.

More importantly, it is possible to buy four tires and look pathetic enough to cause the nice mechanic behind the counter take pity, squeezing you in between appointments. If you need that sort of attention. As we did. We had our tires on and were ready to go very quickly. Not so quickly that we would still make it to Elk Horn, Iowa before our estimated arrival time (ten minutes ago). Nonetheless, we were ready to be back on the road in a respectable time.

All of which still leaves the pesky task of calling people to let them know we are on our way … late, but on our way.

Mobile phone? What phone?

On our way to Theissen’s we stopped at Wal*Mart to buy an air compressor for the donut and a TracFone to force us kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Not having familiarized myself with communications technology any newer than a rotary phone, I was flabbergasted to learn the TracFone needs an internet connection or another phone in order to activate it.

What? If I already had a phone, I wouldn’t need this one! For that matter, if I had an internet connection, I could have simply emailed my friends to tell them of our plight.

Waiting for its next adventure.

Taking advantage of Taco Bell’s free wi-fi, we stumbled our way into the mobile phone world and turned our attention back to the car and re-starting our stalled road trip.

Not three days old, and the car — that enticing, bewitching car — has already caused us a fair amount of trouble, money, and free time in a Farm and Fleet look-a-like.

The new car sits in our friends’ driveway now. Innocent. Demure. Looking all the world like a satisfied cat who knocked over the cream.


“With these new tires, we can go anywhere.