>The adventure we didn’t choose

>Car trouble. Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best. Whatever can go wrong may do so at the worst possible time. Could be worse; could be raining. All came true on our last day in Canada.

We had checked out of the cottage, packed the van and the bikes, and hit the road for Yarmouth where we would have lunch, take a few final pictures, and then board the Cat ferry, when it happened. The dreaded “What’s that sudden noise under the car?”

We pulled over to the shoulder for diagnostics. The van’s rear tire on the passenger side was flat. Changing it wasn’t easy; take off the bikes and the rack, find the jack and spare, and use them. Thanks in part to the good weather, all was proceeding smoothly until we lowered the jack and found the spare was flat.

Husband got on the cell phone to call a tow, at the very least. I picked up a bright colored cloth at the side of the road and flagged down a passing car. These people saved us time, headaches, and money. They said, “Grab the spare and hop in.” They took him to a nearby garage, helped him interpret the metric measurements on the air pump, and brought him back to the disabled van. All in all, Amigo and I were waiting less than half an hour. (A half hour in which Amigo retreated to the safety of his headphones and radio and I devoured the one remaining candy bar from our campfire s’mores, washing it down with the last ounces, er, milliliters of my morning coffee.)

We rode gingerly on the spare the rest of the way to Yarmouth, arriving at the Pontiac dealer just before the service center closed. Husband already knew where it was, but that’s another story. The people there were incredibly generous. The mechanic stayed an extra half hour beyond his usual time to put on the replacement tire (ours had a punctured sidewall), and the service center clerk took Amigo and me to McDonald’s so we could get lunch before he melted down. The repair took less than forty mintes, Husband joined us at McD’s, and we still had time to search and photograph the gravesites and memorials for the missing link on his geneology chart.

And yes, we made the Cat Ferry in plenty of time for boarding.

Luck? Yes, some. But most of all, the kindness of strangers made all the difference in the world.

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