Sunday, September 26, 2010

Books on Flat Wheels or Why not to travel on the weekends.

I booked a Books on Wheels event a few months ago in Norfolk with a wonderful woman who works with the YMCA in the area. The event was promoted entirely around bicycle maintanance so I knew that it would be a busy event for fixing bikes. It so happened that this event fell on the weekend of my sister and I's 10 year high school reunion in Virginia Beach, so we decide to leave Richmond on Saturday morning, drive the bus to V.B. and stay with are parents, then head to Norfolk Sunday morning. Perfect planning!!

The bus hasn't been out of Richmond in quite some time. Between opening and working at the thrift store and being plenty busy this spring and summer in Richmond alone, traveling has not been a priority or really a financially great decision. I pride myself in taking care of the bus; its like my big blue baby, but admittedly, some things had gone unattended, which may have lead to what was a really interested and expensive weekend for Books on Wheels.

Erin and I left Richmond at a decent time on Saturday morning, feeling good about getting the drive done and chillin a little with our parents before the renunion. We make good timing down to the beach, singing along to songs and screaming to talk to each other over the roar of the engine. As we get closer to the oceanfront where our parents live, I start to realize that I had given no thought what so ever to where we would park. Normally not a big deal, but this is the Virginia Beach Oceanfront on the LAST weekend of the summer season during a music festival. And the weather is awesome so its extra busy.

I drive down the street my parents live on and stop outside of their house in a legit parking space, but the spot actually makes me uncomfortable because I immediately decide that my parents neighors will get pissed at having to even SEE the bus for an afternoon and figure I should park off their street to save my parents from some embarrassment (yeah really, they are embarrassed about my old vehicles near their house year after year). Anyway, I let Erin out of the bus while I idle for a minute as she runs inside to use the bathroom. As she comes back outside, she hears a hissing sound and notices that the right rear outside tire of the bus has a big slit in it and air is leaking out. Fast. She hopes back in the bus, tells me about the problem, and we quickly move the bus off the legal street parking and around the block closer to regular traffic where I decide to park the bus in the median between a main road and a feeder road in completely illegal parking area. Genius.

We head back the few blocks to our folks house, and, tired and hungry, I immediately get on the internet and try to find a mechanic that will do two things: Sell me a tire for the bus AND bring it to me and put it on. The first number couple numbers I call as failures, but then I reach a guy who says he does do roadside assistance but his tire guy is gone for the day (everyone does half days in the tire industry on Saturdays), so although he cant send someone out to me, he suggested that after I explained my situation to him, that it was fine to drive the bus with one flat tire, to get to him, as long as I went really slowly. Come to find out, this was probably the worst advice I have recieved in a very very long time.

to be continued...

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