When a Trip goes Awry – More than Once

On a Thursday morning, I took a bag out to the van to start loading the last few things before I headed to Colorado for my last two week tour of the year via Amarillo. The driver’s window was all the way down. I checked to make sure everything was still in the van from the night before. When I started the van and tried to roll the window up, there were things grinding at the bottom of the door. The glass was still at the top of the door as normal, so I was hoping the glass was intact. I called our son, Cameron, who works at O’Reilly, and asked him who I called to fix that.

He said, “It’s the regulator – it’s fried. I’ll be over in half an hour. It’s under warranty and we’re not paying twice.”

Cameron did, indeed, get there between half an hour and an hour. We got the regulator off and he went to O’Reilly for a replacement. About two hours later we had the window fixed and Cameron checked all the windows and sliding doors just to make sure they worked. He stayed and talked while we cooled off inside. By the time he left it was hours later than I wanted to leave. And I still had to finish loading the van. 

I made it to Amarillo  about 6:30 or 7. Fortunately, I had food and beer with me. After a restful night, I headed to Woodland Park and arrived without further incident. I was there for a week and a half. I played a few shows and a couple of open mics. Except for having to occasionally air up the very slow leaking right front tire, there were no more incidents. 

I left to return to Amarillo on Labor Day. I got down the mountain and through Colorado Springs. I was driving on 25 through Fountain when the tire pressure light came on and the air was escaping the right rear tire. I pulled over, pulled out my Ryobi inflator, and aired up the tire. I was trying to get to Pueblo to Discount Tire (you see it coming, don’t you). 

I drove about three miles before the tire was about to go flat. In the middle of filling up the tire, I had to change to the second of my three batteries. I repeated the scenario. After I had used the third battery, I found myself on the shoulder of the exit for Pikes Peak Raceway. I called AAA and learned it would be over an hour for someone to get there.

Like the trip from Farmers Branch to Amarillo, I was once again glad I decided to wait and take a shower at the hotel. I had plenty of gas so I had air conditioning. But I couldn’t read or concentrate on anything but not thinking about the time. When I was thinking it was about the time they had estimated, my phone rang and the driver said it would take him about twenty minutes to get to me.

While I was talking to him a State Patrol officer appeared at my door. He asked me if I could take the exit. I couldn’t see anywhere to pull off. He said if I would take the exit and turn right I would see the spot he was talking about. I did so and pulled off on dirt and grass area just before the entrance to the Raceway.

I had just parked when the officer appeared at the door again. I jumped and rolled the window down. He said that was much better and if I had any more problems I could call them as he handed me a card. Not much later, the tow truck arrived. I asked if he could just tow me into Pueblo to Discount Tire. Of course he said they were closed. 

He put the donut on, I thanked him, and headed for Pueblo at fifty miles an hour. I found a Walmart not far off the highway. After another hour of waiting, I had a new tire.

I arrived at the Econo Lodge Amarillo East (formerly Sleep Inn Airport) about 9:30.  I had called them while I was waiting for the tow truck to tell them I’d be late. They have inexpensive rates, decent rooms, and a very friendly staff. 

The next morning I left later than I ordinarily would, but there were no further incidents other than idiot drivers. I was glad to be home.


Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.



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