Noting Bill's meticulousness and the fact we own a Ryobi tire pressure compressor (and packed - minus the battery charger though...ahem...and a huge shout out to Paul Godleski) came in handy in more ways than one. But let's start with how proud he was prior to us bugging out from the Misencik's in Berthoud, Colorado, when he checked and pumped up the tire pressure in all four tires before starting the trek back. Everything was going to plan and our car (2012 Honda Accord) hummed along like it's supposed to.
Then we entered the state of Iowa...farmland all around us, and truthfully, in the middle of nowhere. We were approximately 35 miles into the state when the tire pressure light came on, then seconds later, the rear passenger tire went flat. Bill was driving and safely stopped the car and I opened the passenger door and glanced back to confirm a very flat tire indeed. We quickly grabbed our wallets, phones, and also got our belongings out of the trunk and into the back seat and moved as far as we could safely stand away from our vehicle. Mind you, hundreds of trucks were passing us traveling at speeds over 75 MPH.
Bill suggested I call AAA right away, so I tried to get into the grassy area (AKA ditch) to make the call. While on hold, of course, an Iowa State Trooper rolled up to us less than 10 minutes later. Could it have been my mom "sending" this trooper to us? (We learned later that many folks get stranded near there and wait for hours for help - AAA or otherwise). When he got out of his vehicle, Officer Tripper Warrior asked me who I was on with. When I said AAA, he gently urged me to hang up stating that it would take 3-4 hours for someone to come out to help us, and he was there willing to help us get back on the road safely.
When Bill honestly stated that we can use the help with getting the damaged tire off, and replacing it with the "donut" or spare, Officer Warrior obliged with a smile and said it would be no problem at all. He's was right; he quickly took off the tire (had a screw in the tread), and gently replaced it with the donut spare. He then mentioned that if we would like, he would follow us to the nearest Walmart (22 miles away) to possibly buy a tire repair kit and plug the tire where we found the screw.
But Bill, always thinking, determined that our "donut" has never been used in the 8 years we've had the car, so it could very well need some air. Well, he was definitely correct, as that spare had only 20 PSI with a needed 60 PSI to drive safely. However, that second use of the Ryobi only had enough to get it to 55 PSI (I guess, good enough?), so on a wing and a prayer...we got back into the car and took Officer Warrior's offer by driving "slowly" enough with the spare and a state trooper behind us for "support."
Bill and I were ecstatic on how accommodating the folks of Iowa are, and most importantly, Officer Warrior (love the name; he helps road warriors!), and couldn't believe our "luck." Once we got to the Walmart, Officer Warrior went into the store with Bill (in masks), and helped him select a tire repair kit (first time Bill ever saw one of these too...I know I know...you are wondering where is Bill's man-card, right?). Six dollars spent and a few minutes later they were back at the car with the kit to hopefully "repair" the tire. Again, Officer Warrior asked if it would be OKAY to help, and of course the answer was a resounding "YES" from both of us!
Once the tire was actually looked at and the "repair" started, we saw very quickly that the tire was damaged in more than that one spot and could never be repaired. Ugh! We were 75 miles from the hotel and a storm was brewing from the West...
This is where "Angel" Officer Evan Tripper Warrior, a three year member as an Iowa State Trooper, and us parted ways. Not only did he spend almost three hours with us, he gave us instructions on where the best air pump was located on our way to the hotel to get that spare up to snuff at 60 PSI for our 75 mile drive ahead of us, along with his calling card should we encounter any more difficulties with our vehicle and the their tires. We thanked him profusely and "floated" out of the Walmart parking lot with gratitude, even on a bum tire.
Once we found the tire pressure thingy, filled up to the PSI needed on the spare, we headed out back to the interstate when the torrential rains began. Bill was determined to keep driving, albeit white knuckling all the way to the hotel outside of Des Moines. We finally made it...safely...and lived to see another day!
Footnote: The next morning, I called a few tire places near the hotel and thankfully got a brand spanking new tire without incident (even called my expert mechanic, Joe, in Crofton for tire advice). We counted all our blessings and began the drive back to the East Coast in great spirits and safely arrived home two days later (yesterday)!
BSoleille! The bright side of #CelebratingOthers with Officer Warrior and his help and expertise in flat tire "repairs!"