So we jumped into the van and drove down to Leonard's tire place on North Gladstone across from the cemetery. They squeezed us in at 4:48 on a Friday evening, changed our tire in less than one half hour and we were on our way at 5:16. $45. And a small tip just for being so nice and all.
Then we drove home.
Wait just a second. It wasn't quite that easy. We did sleep in Parkersburg and that's a whole nother story and then we drove home. Well, we drove to Delaware. You see in Delaware on I-95 there is a toll booth. We couldn't know that was what we were stopping for because we were 9 miles away from any toll booth when we came to a screeching halt, plus we had just flown through a toll booth in Maryland in the same traffic. 9 miles, 45 minutes. Roll that over in your head a few times. Don't forget the three kids in the back who had just traveled 650 miles at an average of 65 miles an hour. Somewhere in Delaware it became 12 miles an hour. That changes the flavor of the trip! There were four gates open for cash, three open for easy-pass. Oh and three gates closed. They were resting gates. They were sleepy. We all tiptoed through the insufficient number of open gates very quietly so as not to wake them. I was sure wishin' one of the drunk guys in the sports car, the guy buying milk at the service station and Leonard himself were there. Bet they would've stepped up and manned those booths in a pinch like that!
Getting a flat tire fixed in a strange town took half the time it did to pass through a toll booth on the major throughway - and I use that word loosely in this case - of the east coast a Saturday afternoon.
So, I'd like to review. Just to beat this dead horse.
Columbus, Indiana Flat Tire (+ two drunk guys in a car + one good samaritan fellow buying some milk + Leonard's great business on N. Gladstone) = 25 minutes and 5 grateful customers.
I-95 Delaware Toll Booth = 45 minutes and the promise never to travel that route again.
We live in a busy place. Every time we drive out to the midwest we note: We have to fight our way out and we have to fight our way back in. That's just the way it is. I'm grateful still. We've driven those roads countless times for over 20 years and we have been graced with many many traveling mercies. I do count Columbus, Indiana as one of them!