That Time We Bought Triple A in the Middle of the Night

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Saturday night we drove overnight from Chattanooga to my parents’ house in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Mr. V and I have found that works well for us (although when I drive with my sister, it doesn’t work). We had the entire Chronicles of Narnia on CD to listen to and hit the road about 4 p.m.

Well, we should have taken it as an omen that our burned copies of the first couple Narnia books didn’t work in our car CD player. (Apparently we’d never tried it before. We’ve had the van less than a year.)

But we muddled along, listening to one of the books we had on “real” discs from the library and to Libbie and David singing and chatting. We stopped, ate dinner, rode on, changed into PJs at a Burger King. I sent my mom this picture of LIbbie as she and David were running around like monkeys at BK, thinking it would be the most wild part of our night.

Libbie in jammies


And then, at 1:30 a.m., I told Mr. V that we just had two hours to go and it was all downhill from there.


Promptly, our car started vibrating. We thought maybe it was the road, but pretty soon we heard the telltale clunk-clunk-clunk and (with swerving) pulled off the road.

Our tire looked like this.



Not being car people, Mr. V and I mostly looked at each other dumbly for a few minutes. Finally we determined that we would call AAA, buy a policy, and try to get some help.

Which did happen … about two hours later. Apparently they only have the Very Slow Customer Service People working in the middle of the night. Not to mention we live in Tennessee, were in West Virginia, and were going to Pennsylvania.

I do have to say kudos to the very kind guy who came out, let us know that we did have a spare (we weren’t sure) and put it on; the police officer I talked to on the phone who really did want to help but wasn’t sure how – he ended up calling a tow company for us and gave me the number just in case we needed it (but we didn’t); and the lovely Wal-Mart employee who was very cheerful considering it was 4 a.m. and helped us find a place to get a new tire as soon as possible – on a Sunday morning.

And also my Daddy, who came and picked me and the kids up – 2 hours each way – so we didn’t have to wait with Mr. V for a place to open and for a new tire, given that I had been up the whole day and night and the kids had been awake half the night. Joshua included. Ay yi yi.

It’s not a situation I ever hope to repeat. It was scary, long, tiresome, and frustrating. But we thank God for safety, patience, and the kindness of strangers and loved ones. And I hope the same thing never happens to you.

Oh. And we WON’T be driving back overnight.

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