Sunday, May 27, 2012

Oh, vacations.

This weekend, Three and I decided, "HEY, LET'S GO BACKCOUNTRY CAMPING!!"

For those of you not in the know - as I was - backcountry camping is basically camping in the wilderness. I didn't actually know that was what it's called, because, well, I thought that's what camping IS. I was wrong. It's isn't the first time.

We already had all the gear we needed. When Three lived in Colorado, camping was his main thing. If he wasn't at work, he was camping. And you have to be outfitted properly for camping out there; it's ridiculously dangerous if you aren't prepared. For our quasi-honeymoon, we flew to Buena Vista, CO, for a week, where we didn't bathe for a week, hiked, cooked, slept in sleeping bags, etc. It was awesome. So we figured, long weekend (the first weekend he's actually gotten off in a while), sure, let's go camping.

We picked out Mount Mitchell State Park in North Carolina as our destination. It's about thirty minutes outside of Asheville, NC, and seriously, it's beautiful. The Carolina mountains are, of course, no Rockies, but they have a certain appeal to them. Maybe it's the trees that are not aspens or freaking evergreens?? The first night was awesome. There was naturally outdoor sexytimes, campfire-cooked foods, stargazing, etc., and when we woke up this morning, we were ready for some hiking and picture taking. We chatted up the park ranger to see the best places to go and got excited about scaling Mt. Mitchell. This, however, was not to be.

After breakfast, we went back to the car and prepared to head up to the summit trail parking lot. Now, Three was already not feeling too well. He's had this nasty sinus infection for the past two weeks or so, and he thought that it had resolved itself. But he was just tired and kind of nauseous. We talked about just going home, since I didn't want to be the only one having fun, but Three insisted it was just because he hadn't eaten anything substantial and that it would take only about half an hour for breakfast to bring his blood sugar back up. Then we get to the car.

Oh, Chiquita. How I love you. You get me from place to place, despite the fact your poor 1.6L engine has absolutely no acceleration capabilities, and you are officially ours*. But you have a penchant for finding nails. Every. Single. Time.

So, Three is getting our gear ready to go - basically consolidating things into needs and fuck I don't want to carry that ever - and he looks down at our rear tire. YAY, IT'S GOING FLAT!!

Well, we can't leave our car there for two days in that condition, or we'll come back on Monday night to a very flat tire and no way to get a new one OR get out of the park. So, yeah, we got problems. At this point, Three is just like, "Ugh, this is a sign from God that we just need to go home. I feel like shit and now the tire. Damnit all to hell." I'm disappointed, sure, but I am also not an asshole who wants to make her husband feel even worse about the way the weekend is going. We pack everything into the car and go in search of air for our trip back home. A gas station is kind of far away, but it's a slow leak, so we're not in too much danger. We find an air pump and get on the interstate to head back.

And, oh, if that was only the end of the story. Because my life is perpetually plagued by random insanity, it just gets better.

We're about ten minutes out of Asheville when I hear this weird "wub wub wub wub (etc.)" noise. I'm racking my brain, trying to figure out where I've heard it before and it hits me: that's the sound of a flat tire. Damnit. Damnitdamnitdamnit. We pull over but not before the stupid tire explodes. And here's the fun part: it's not even the same fucking tire. It's the front passenger side tire. That we JUST replaced not even one month ago. Three is now quite livid. I could just see him slipping: he didn't feel well, we had to cut our trip short, we had one flat-ish tire, and now THIS. He manages to keep his composure for the most part.

Luckily for us, my parents had bought us AAA membership for Christmas last year, so Three calls them up. And we're told that it could be an hour before the tow truck arrives. And we also don't have a workable spare tire. We HAVE one; it's just that, well, it's fucking flat, too. Also, it apparently has different lug nuts or something? I don't know what that even means, but whatever. That's not even the point.

Now remember, children, this is Memorial Day weekend. Instead of remembering fallen, discharged, and currently serving military, we sear chickens and steaks and drink beer and get a day off of work. Which means, absolutely NONE of the auto parts/tire stores were open today, save one. And it's out of the free area limit because it's 15 miles away from where we are. The next time I decide to have issues with my car, I'll be sure to have them within five miles from one of those places, and you all should, too, if you have AAA. We're looking at $120 towing fee, plus whatever a new tire costs, because we can't afford two tires right now. Three is almost losing it here. I'm trying to maintain a calm exterior by randomly playing with my phone, but I can feel Three's energy level rising.

This is where I have to thank the tow truck driver, Rich. He was awesome. He only charged us $30 when we told him that we really couldn't afford $120. He even called a couple shops to see if they were open so we could get a better deal on a tire. He quickly became my Favorite Person of the Day.

He loads the car up onto his truck, and we ride back up to Asheville. I pay Rich the $30 and thank him profusely, while Three is negotiating with the Expert Tire store manager. The guy takes pity on us and gives us a discount on the tire, all the while telling us that we probably need to get the other tire (which is still nail-punctured) replaced and oh, yeah, there are other parts of your car that are going to crap.

"Why, yes, sir, it IS! Do you know why? Because 1) we are poor and 2) it's a fucking Aveo.


But still, he gave us a deal. And he even gave us a bundle deal where we could go to an Expert Tire in our hometown and get three other tires for a good buy. Or something. Three worked out the details. I was just glad to be on the road again.

We got back home without further incident, but I've determined that, no matter where I go or what I do, something will happen. It always does. I should just be used to it by now.

* We just paid the last payment last month. We have the title and EVERYTHING. Woot.
** This is essentially Chiquita, except that she is about three different shades of yellow, has a sunroof, and the little light on the side underneath the gas ... door? (What is that CALLED??) is hanging out by its cord. Seriously, they are crap cars. Made of aluminum foil and happy thoughts. I never thought I'd miss Gladys, the 1995 Buick Century I got from my grandmother, as much as I do. That was a TANK.
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