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Back in the 'Banks Again

We’re back in Fairbanks again. We like it here so much, we should really think about moving here for good. It’s high fifties and sunny. Stephanie and I will spend the rest of the day today running those last few errands before heading back to Circle in time for the weekend.

Through a series of coincidental and intentional scheduling maneuvers, Stephanie and I were able to make it to Fairbanks this week for an early weekend and to spend time with our good friends from Fort Yukon, the Neuberts, before their impending move to the northeastern states. Stephanie was originally scheduled to make this trip with just her and the boys. She had a doctor’s appointment and I hadn’t planned on taking off work. But after a work trip of mine hiccupped and finding out that the Neuberts would be in Fairbanks as well, we all went to town on Wednesday afternoon.

Stephanie was driving down the Steese as the boys slept and she and I were chatting when we suddenly felt the rear driver’s side tire fail. We slowed to a stop and got out to see a nightmare of ripped and tortured rubber that used to be a tire. This was one of the Toyo tires that we purchased this past October and that have served us so well during the winter snow-driving season. The sidewall was shredded in several places and the tread had completely separated from the sidewall on one side. A quick tire change, and a few sickening thoughts about how bad it could have been, and we were on our way.
[Edited to add: I took the tire back to where we bought it in October. They couldn’t say what happened but replaced the tire at no charge.]

On Wednesday evening, we met up with the Neuberts, got a babysitter for the kids, and had a chance to spend some good time in fellowship and conversation while enjoying some choice distilled spirits. These are good friends and we will miss them.

The next day, Neubert wanted his car serviced before his long relocation road trip, and asked if I’d follow him to the garage and bring him back. Gladly. I pulled out of the hotel parking lot and started to follow. Fifteen feet later the front end of the Toyota fell down to the pavement and slid to a sickening screeching grinding stop. I jumped out to see my left front tire crumpled under the fender, the fender bulging as the weight of the truck now rested on the fender, and the door that couldn’t open freely because of the bulging fender. Beauty. Apparently the cotter pin that held the castle nut had worked itself free. The castle nut worked itself off releasing the control arm. When that came off, it snapped the CV axle and off it all came. Grinding. To a stop.

It could have been worse. That’s what we tell ourselves when bad things happen, right? At least it didn’t happen at full speed on the Steese. At least it didn’t happen when Stephanie and the boys were by themselves. At least it didn’t happen at 40 below zero. All’s well. It’ll be fixed in a jiff. And I suppose all of that is true. Still, it made me feel ill. A wrecker came and towed the Toyota to the same garage that was my original destination; only I hadn’t expected the trip to cost me any money when I set out.

I left the garage just in time to take a cab to a dental appointment. I wasn’t in quite the right frame of mind to deal easily with the rigors of dental work. It’s quite a thing to be sitting in a dentist’s chair in that condition, enduring the drill, while thinking about how much the auto repairs taking place right at that moment are going to cost me. I left the dentist with the left side of my face numbed and feeling as if it was hanging down to my shoulder. It was time for a nap.

By the time I woke, the world seemed a much better place. My general constitution was better, my face was coming back to life, and the garage called to say the truck was ready. Seven hundred and thirty unexpected dollars later, we were on our way again. The worst was behind. The dinner bell in my soul rang again, and so off we went to College Town Pizza for dinner.

Neubert flew out Thursday night for a wedding. Carissa and Elaina did some shopping before flying back to Fort Yukon. Stephanie and I will enjoy the afternoon running around to complete errands of our own, including the usual rounds of Fred Meyer, Sam’s, and Wal-Mart before an afternoon of ice cream at Hot Licks and playing at the park before heading north again up the dusty road around bedtime for the boys.

Posted on Friday, April 20, 2007 at 03:34PM by Registered CommenterBrian Rozell | Comments4 Comments

Reader Comments (4)

Oh my goodness--I am so glad you are all okay. So sorry to hear about the car troubles. It made me a bit sick to my stomach to read, so I can only imagine your anxiety. Miss you tons, and one of these days I'll bring myself back to Squarespace (so that you don't have to stoop to the level of Myspace!). :)
April 22, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterRachel
You didn't call! With all the tire trouble this weekend, I was beginning to wonder if you made it back to Circle. Glad to hear you, the boys, and all four tires made it safely back. Saturday morning Elaina became quite crabby about an hour after she awoke and discovered her Daddy and her playmates Jacob and Toby were nowhere to be found. She's adjusted now, but we sure had fun with you all this week. Our plan is to visit not next summer, but the year after. Its a date, ok? How many kids will play together then? Tee, hee...
April 23, 2007 | Unregistered Commentercarissa
Having traveled on the gravelly, bumpy, winding, treacherous Steese Hwy., I was relieved to read that you didn't go over the side of the mountain when the tire blew out and that you weren't on the Steese when the axle broke! Thank you, Lord, for watching over our children and precious grand-children. Love you all and can't wait to see you in June!
April 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDad
That last comment was from Jan! I've never shot the Steese (not yet anyway).
April 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDad

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