Sunday, September 4, 2011

Getting There

Winter of 2009 rolled around, all cold and snowy and inhospitable.  I couldn't WAIT to head south for my very first solo excursion, a whole month in sunny Florida.  I really had no idea what to expect.  I packed up my car, got the dog settled and harnessed in the front seat and took off. 

Heading down cold and snowy I-75 through Ohio and the remnants of a huge ice storm in Kentucky were motivating.  Every time I stopped to walk Ginger, we had to fight snow and ice.  Huge snowbanks restricted the walking areas and it was cold and gray.   The first rest stop past Berea, KY we saw our first grass and we were both excited about that.  That night, we slept in Asheville, NC. It was cold and frosty, but at least there was no snow frozen on the sidewalks or roads. 

Next morning, we set off heading south on I-26, and it got more and more springlike the farther we went.  I was so happy!  I stopped at the abundant NC and SC rest areas, many of which had speed traps set up.  An officer in a patrol car at the north end was clocking cars and six or eight cruisers at the south end would take off and pull over speeders.  They were doing a spanking hot business.  Luckily, Ginger and I wanted a lot of exercise so we stopped to walk instead of speeding by.

Getting off at Pilot for gas and lunch at McD's,- near Bowman, SC, I decided to do a walkaround to check my rubber. I was horrified to find a huge sidewall bubble on the right rear tire, right at the rim.   No way was I going anywhere on that tire!  I called AAA, naturally.  I have a donut spare and planned to have that put on and limp on to a place where I could get a new tire.  AAA informed me, not so sweetly, that on a Sunday afternoon in South Carolina, I was not going to get a new tire.  Further, the lady said, I was to take down my own spare and make sure it had enough air in it, and have the tools ready or the "technician" would not be able to help me.  I thought that was odd indeed, and informed her that I needed help with all that due to arthritis.  Pre-arthur, I probably would have changed the thing myself, but these days, I'll take the help, thank you. It's the policy, she told me crabbily.

Fortunately, when the young man showed up with the tool truck, he had never heard of that policy.  He cheerfully changed to the donut, hoisted the dead tire onto the top of my load in the back seat, and gave me the card of a garage just 15 miles down the line that had tires available 24-7.  He even called them to make sure they had the right tire for my car.  An hour and a half after we stopped, we were under way again.  I drove my heavily loaded car 45 with the flashers on in the right lane, down I-26, onto I-95 and off at the first exit to Billy's place.  They were great!  They fitted my tire, put the donut back up under the trunk, and sent my on my way, less than an hour later.  One thing, the Hess Station across the street didn't have coffee after 1 pm. 

9606 Charleston Highway, St. George, SC
(843) 563-8436 ·
I called my landlord to let him know I would be about three hours later than my original ETA of 5 or 6 pm. We traveled on with no further mishaps down through Georgia past Savannah.  I-95 doesn't have a lot of development or tourist services through SC and GA.   We arrived safely in Titusville at 8:15 pm.

Next... I make a Kumquat Pie


  1. AAA has GREAT customer service (except for evidently their call center - good grief).

  2. This one grumpy lady is the only hint of trouble I've ever had at AAA. Who knows, maybe she got caught in traffic, was late to work and the coffee machine was out of coffee. End result was perfect, in spite of her.

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