“This is what owning a home is like,” Ryan says to me.
We’re standing at the kitchen sink eating hastily assembled turkey, cheddar, and cucumber sandwiches and sharing our last beer. The left side of Ryan’s body is covered in tar and small chips of asphalt. I’m sweating from having sprinted about a quarter mile down the highway and back again.
“Let’s never own a home,” I say.
Twenty minutes earlier we were having a grand time. I was giddily quoting Galaxy Quest as we scrambled between crazy rock formations and climbed into small caves at Goblin State Park.
We had been talking about how awesome it would be to grow up near this park – what a great playground it is. I had been fantasizing about bringing my nieces there and all their cousins. Seriously, the place is awesome.
Alas, the day grew hotter and we needed to be back on the road. We buckled back into the RV and made the left turn out of the park when there was a screech and a thunk and then a lot of hissing.
“Pulloverpulloverpullover,” I said. Probably I only needed to say it once.
Ryan pulled over.
I opened the door and leaned out. “I think we blew a tire.” The hubcap was missing and the rear dual tires were all, “Pshhhhhhhh….”
We jumped into frantic, incompetent action. Ryan laid himself out under the RV with the jack that neither of us knew how to use, while I went in search of the runaway hubcap.
If running down a highway in search of a hubcap seems like an idiotic choice, you’d be right. But in this case it also turned out to be educational. Having located it at the turn off to Goblin, I noticed that there were two tubes attached to it. The hubcaps on a lot of RVs come equipped with valve extenders. These allow the user to check air pressure on the inside and outside tires. The problem with this system is that if you lose the hubcap, these very same extenders will pop open your valves and let all the air out. Getting the damn thing back on the tires before we lost all the air was going to be impossible.
So there we were, pulled over on a two-lane highway in the middle of nowhere Utah. Ryan was still under the RV getting good and coated in tar and asphalt chips while I was walking around in circles with my phone over my head like it was a little baby Lion King trying to catch enough of a signal to call a tow truck.
And then, a miracle.
A tow truck pulled up behind us. Out of nowhere, the exact thing we needed.
This guy, Jeff, takes a look at our situation. He puts out cones so that drivers won’t plow into us. He tells us to please stop trying with our small jack; he’s got something better, but he needs to go pick up a boat that’s stranded up the road a bit. We do as we’re told and pull the spare tire down from underneath the chassis, and then we wait.
We make sandwiches and share a beer and decide that home ownership is not for us. We pull the asphalt chips off of Ryan’s shirt and shorts and legs and arms. We experience doubts about our life choices.
Jeff comes back with a giant boat in tow, and a boat owner who seems happy enough to be helping us out too. Jeff puts the spare tire on for us, takes our other two tires back to his shop, and even moves our trailer onto his rig so that we can limp into Hanksville (population: 215) without worrying about the motorcycles.
The shop is Kiteley’s Boat Trailer Repair & Service Center. They mostly just fix tires and collect old things. They had us on our way in about 20 minutes. So, to Jeff and Carolyn, thank you. And to the guy whose boat trailer busted, you are now officially among our Guardian Angels. Dayenu!