We were on our way from Denver to Boyd’s Lake, a state park near Loveland that has more the character of a beach than the mountains. It wasn’t a long hop, less than two hours.
We went through Loveland and were almost to the campground when we realized we’d missed all the grocery stores, so we turned back toward town. A man in a pickup truck pulled up along side us and gesticulated wildly.
Down went the passenger-side window.
“You’ve got something wrong with your tire,” he said.
We pulled over, as did he, and felt along the backside tire to discover the bulge he’d seen. He’d stopped, too, and directed us to a local tire store. We thanked him profusely for saving us from disaster, then went and got a new tire.
Almost a week later, after two crossings of the Rockies and a nice stay in Rocky Mountain National Park, we were about to depart for my cousin’s house in Ward, when Rebecca insisted we stop at a tire shop in Estes Park. She was concerned about a second tire, that still showed some of the excess bits of rubber on the edges where it hadn’t been totally trimmed after being cast.
I was not worried about the tiny flaps, but there was another issue: We’d gotten the tires rotated when we got the new tire, and we did not specify to make sure the tire pressure was adjusted – our back tires require much higher air pressure than the front. You wouldn’t expect a tire shop to need to be told, right?
The Estes Park tire shop reassured Rebecca there was nothing wrong with the tire, but upon checking the tire pressures, there was definitely some evidence they had not been properly inflated. They corrected the error.
Another potential disaster averted? Well, that’s not actually what this story is really about.
I started backing the Wegwam up to turn it around and drive out of the lot. The back seat was in the seat, rather than the bed, position, which obscures the view a bit. (See the unwritten story about backing into my neighbor’s car coming out of our driveway soon after we’d gotten the van.)
I heard this female voice. “Whoa!”
I know we were out west, and that’s just something you’d expect to hear being said to a horse, but instinctively I immediately braked. We felt no impact.
Relieved to have barely avoided a collision, I jumped out of the van and looked at the back corner, and there sat a car with a badly bashed in front-side panel over its wheel, right where the corner of the van had stopped.
You can imagine my heart dropped.
The lady who’d issued the “whoa” command came back to her car.
“Did we hit your car?”
“Did we do that?”
“No. A horse did that.”
She inspected her car where she thought we’d possibly impacted her headlight, but there was no damage. She was worried about the bikes on the back of the van, but they seemed intact as well.
She sent us on our way. Disaster avoided. (It took me a couple of days to get over that one.)