Saturday, March 14, 2015
A Dark and Stormy Night
It's spring in Ukraine and potholes are a fact of life. This particular stretch of road is bad, and driving at night means that you're going to hit some and if you are unlucky you'll get a flat tire. Often this means that the tire comes off the rim because of a dent. In fact, Garry often says that the rims are more square than round this time of year. Normally we have a spare tire in the back of the Ford, but Garry had used it a week ago and had, in spite of his best intentions, not gotten it fixed. Or replaced, really, since he said that tire was ruined with a hole in the sidewall. He had to change that one in the snow.
Thursday night it was raining, it rained all day Thursday and Friday, good for the winter wheat fields, which are greening up, but not for flat tires. Garry and Max got out to look at the tire. First they tried to inflate it with the little pump that plugs into the cigarette lighter, which has worked for many flat tires. This one needed more than that, so they took it off to try to straighten the bent rim. Unfortunately, they had no tools to do this... didn't we carry a hammer for this other years?
I was staying relatively dry in the front seat, after I undid my seatbelt (which is magically working again this week) and closed the middle door Max left open when he jumped out, since the rain was blowing in on me. I confess that I had turned on a light and started working on the crochet project in my purse to pass the time while they worked on the tire.
Max had walked toward the gas stations in the photo, we were almost to the traffic circle where you get on the highway toward Dnepropetrovsk and the village, you can see the gas stations in the photo I took with Garry's tablet, the lights in the distance. Meanwhile, Garry was looking for something that he could bang on the rim with, and he found it, which was why I had stopped crocheting to find something to take a picture. Too bad that he was finished before I got ready to snap the photo, because there he was in the front of the car, whacking on the tire with a three or four foot long piece of cement with rebar poking out of the middle where it was broken.
I was disappointed to not share this amazing sight with you, but then he headed toward the gas stations carrying the tire, meeting Maxym walking back (it was almost 10:30 by now) They used a more powerful air pump there, walked back, got the tire on, turned the heat on high as they got in the car (it was about 5 C, 40 F) and phoned Maxim Rudei to say we were driving back to the village. He was borrowing a car to come rescue us I'm guessing, but we made it home.
I was praying for safety during the tire changing, walking around in the darkness and the fast driving on the wet highway, since Garry thought he should drive back fast to get home before the tire deflated. It was still hard the next morning, by the way.
Friday Max Rudi went into the city and got the snow tires off, the rims and tires fixed, switched around and a good spare in the back again. Ironically, after talking about getting the spare fixed a few times this week, Garry had gone to Zaporozhe (why is that the correct spelling? It sounds the way I spell it) Thursday morning to do the same thing, but after several hours and eating four donuts from the grocery store, he left with no progress, the little tire changing shop had an equipment breakdown.