JUNE 17TH, 2018
By JOHN LILIES & LANA CARBON
[John] So, though our first misadventure this summer was not devastating (thankfully) it was a nice introduction to the days that would come as Lana and I hit the roads on our available days.
Leading up to Mother's Day I was able to swing 3 days off work, so we went to visit Ma & Pa Lilies so I could dig into the dirt and accomplish some significant gardening and celebrate Ma Lilies with a nice supper cooked just for her.
We managed our days with the Lilies parents as a smoothly as we had hoped and then made our way see Ma Carbon & Brother Carbon, to celebrate Mother's Day with them. We enjoyed a nice weekend there and, on the Sunday (Mother's Day), we began our trek home.
We have some friends who own a farm not far from Brother Carbon's and we first stopped there to drop off some egg cartons we had collected for them. After a short time with the large collection of animals, we continued on.
We had already decided we wanted to avoid the highway heading home, so we opted for a side street that would take us into the lovely town of Campbellford. We don't often have the opportunity to pass through here and we do quite love this town, so we headed to our side street that we have taken numerous times before.
Driving along & looking forward to our leisurely ride home, with a car driving towards us in the oncoming lane, we quickly came upon a very large and deep pothole. With nowhere to go but a loose gravel shoulder, I braced myself and said a prayer to the universe.
[Lana] As John said, we had taken this street multiple times before but it had never been in such shoddy condition as it was this day. The entire time, John was forced to swerve around rubble and divots in the pavement but with a vehicle oncoming, there wasn’t much of an option this time.
[John] We made a hard impact with the pothole and I immediately pulled over to examine the damage. Just as I had imagined, our right front tire was completely busted so we called CAA for support and I tried to calm my adrenaline rush. While emptying the trunk to access our spare tire, two bikers passed us and turned around to pull up behind us. They offered to change our tire for us so we wouldn't need to wait a long time for CAA help and we happily agreed.
While the husband of this friendly couple was changing the tire and Lana was canceling our CAA call, the husband mentioned that Lana looked really familiar. As it turns out, this amazing couple was from a small town where Lana had lived and owned a bowling alley for a number of years and this couple remembered him.
[Lana] I didn’t recognize our saviours right away. Once they said they were from Tweed it suddenly clicked for me, however. The woman worked at the bank I’d dealt with upon moving to that town many years previously and her husband had come to many of their Christmas parties which the bank held at my bowling alley. It had been years since I had seen them and was honestly surprised that they remembered me at all.
[John] Within minutes, the tire was changed (discovering that the rim was completely shot), we said our heartfelt appreciations, and we were back on the road.
Knowing we had to make our way slowly for the remaining 200 km home, we decided to stop in pretty much every town on the way, to give the car a break and to make sure our spare was holding up okay. Our first stop was in Campbellford as we had originally planned before this all started, and after twenty minutes there we continued on.
A number of stops and a few hours later, we finally arrived in Clarington and made yet another rest stop. While Lana grabbed us some drinks I checked the health of our spare and even checked the right rear tire to make sure it was okay. Everything seemed great so we slowly continued on to our next stop.
As we reached Whitby about 4.5-5 hours after the pothole, we realized we should probably have some supper, knowing we still had a while ahead of us before arriving home. We found a plaza with a little pub and so we pulled in, looking forward to some good food and a nice break from driving under the speed limit with our hazard lights flashing. We were getting a few things out of the back seat on the passenger side when I told Lana we needed to suspend our supper plans and call CAA again; our right rear tire was now completely flat. Our guess was that we'd had a slow leak going ever since the pothole. (From the pictures of both rims above, you can see we had two damaged rims… not just the one.)
[Lana] It seems that we were destined for CAA to drive us home this night.
[John] While awaiting our next round of rescue, Lana grabbed us a couple of subs to take home so we could finally eat at some point that night (thank you!). A relatively short time later, a beautiful flatbed arrived for us and after some nervous moments of watching our car be gingerly pulled up onto the truck, we were continuing on our way home. Our driver was fantastic; friendly, caring, gentle with our beloved vehicle, and a great driver. He took us to our mechanic's shop where at 10:45 pm, the incredible bonus mommy awaited our arrival to take us the last stretch home. By this time, I was just looking forward to eating some food and relaxing enough to let the adrenaline flow of the last almost seven hours, calm down.
[Lana] I must add here that even the highway signs were trying to lighten our mood and force us to see the humour in the situation. On our major highways we often have programmable signs which are used to warn us to “buckle up”, “don’t drink and drive” or “check blind spots for motorcycles”. This night however, what did nearly every sign we notice say, you may ask? “Check tires”.
[John] Yeah… I had noticed those signs on the way home in the tow truck too and chuckled a bit but was also trying to keep in the emotions – though Lana insisted it was unnecessary, I felt like a right fool for not being able to avoid the pothole.
By 11:45 pm we were home and unpacked and finally biting into our subs, knowing that decent sleep was unlikely and hoping that our car had only wheel damage and nothing more serious with which to contend.
For days after, most of what I could think about was simply how deeply grateful I was for the way the universe guided us through what could have been an awful experience. From our biker angels to our tow truck driver to our bonus mommy, and the side street incident not being worse and not occurring on a major highway with lots of traffic around... we were just so amazingly fortunate.
How could we ever truly express our intense appreciation for how wonderfully well everything went? We decided that as our biker angels would not accept compensation for their time and efforts, we would instead pay it forward to extend their kindness to others. So, during another little road trip not too long later, we stopped at a Tim Horton's in a small town and gave the cashier $20 to use towards the orders following ours. It wasn't much but it was all we could afford and we just hope that it made for a nice experience for a few other people. I mention it here only in the hope that you too, will consider making someone’s day a bit brighter this week.
[Lana] I love that John can take a situation which most people would see as horrible and turn it around to take the most positive aspect from it she can.
[John] Thank you for that – I just don’t know how else to see it, really. Things could have been so much worse but the universe took care of us and we had a cool experience with it.
At the end of it all, however, in honour of our lovely biker angels, our tow truck driver, and the bonus mommy, and in honour of anyone who has ever helped you in a moment of need, we ask each of you to please extend a kindness toward those around and make some people smile... make their day a great one please, however you can. Sometimes all it takes is a genuine smile and a kind “Hello” to make a person’s day the greatest.
Thank you all.