Sunday, July 28, 2013

{Adventure with the In-Laws}

Early last week, we asked my in-laws that they were up to this weekend. My mother-in-law promptly responded with "Field Trip?" Jason and I talked, knowing we had no idea what she had up her sleeve, and we were in.

Well, you have to know how things work with my mother-in-law to understand that... Several years ago, we started taking periodic day-trips to places. We've been on a winery tour, driven to a couple different places just to enjoy a meal, etc. The whole point of the thing is to explore a part of our state in a quick day-trip and have some good times together.

Yesterday was our first field trip in a long time. We got up to be ready to head to the Wilmington area at 9:30 a.m.  Our first stop was Sweet & Savory. We had to wait a few minutes to be seated, but had a great spot close to the back on the kitchen side. My in-laws had never had the homemade chips, so Jason ordered a basket for the table to share. Not long thereafter, we ordered our lunch and spent the remainder of our time eating and talking. We caught up on each others happenings and discuss the current state of events in our state. We talked about memories, stories of childhood beach trips, etc.

Crazy in-laws
After lunch, we decided to head toward Carolina Beach. In all of Jason's and my years, we've never had Britt's donuts. Today that was going to be remedied, at least for Jason. We got lucky getting into Carolina Beach and found a perfect parking space about 1 block from the boardwalk area. We walked around for a while - had to walk off our lunch! We also went to a nice observation area on the boardwalk to hang out for a bit. That didn't last too long as there wasn't a cover on the area and the seagulls were making their presence known if you know what I mean! Then, it was off to Britt's! My father-in-law and Jason both had 2 donuts each and would have eaten more had my mother-in-law not stopped them :-)  While they enjoyed donuts, I had a wild cherry snocone, complete with red-stained lips, teeth, and tongue.

We did some more riding around, and then it was time to head back toward Raleigh. We had dinner reservations at The Country Squire in the Kenansville area. My mother-in-law has fond memories of The Country Squire and people come from miles away to enjoy the restaurant.

Well.... things got interesting about 1 mile from the exit for The Country Squire. I noticed that the van steering wheel was shaking a little while we were in Wilmington, and had made the comment about 5 minutes earlier that I needed to take it for an alignment. Then I heard a loud "pop" and somehow I managed to guide the van, slowly and carefully, off the side of the road. We had blown a tire. I don't remember much, but Jason said he heard the noise, saw me pull over, and then I immediately started to cry and shake. Boy, oh boy. (Did I mention that Jason lost a tire on his wheelchair earlier in the week? He got tossed from his wheelchair and we spent Tuesday getting that repaired. Obviously, not our week for tires!)

My father-in-law got out and looked at the tire. I remember him saying that he'd never seen a tire look like that and he was so proud of me for guiding the van off the road safely without hurting us or others. Here's where I was especially thankful for him.... He called AAA and dealt with all of that. The customer service agent with whom he spoke was kind and helpful. She even called after the AAA roadside person had been dispatched, just to check in. Now, that's customer service!

Insert request for all - If/when you see a car/van/truck on the side of the road, please move over. Having a car issue is stressful enough, but having other vehicles whiz by at a high speed makes it incredibly scary!

About 30 minutes later, Bernard from Wallace Towing and Roadside Assistance showed up in his navy blue Chevy Silverado. He was ready to be our knight in shining armor! Bernard had a bit of difficulty getting the van lifted to change the tire, but once he used the jack that came with the van (special because of the retrofit) and then got it lifted the rest of the way with his jack, he was in business. He got the full-size spare on and sent us on our way. Bernard was just a nice "good 'ole boy" was was beyond friendly and reassuring that everything was gonna be alright. He did tell us that we were the 5th vehicle with the exact same tire issue on that stretch of I-40 that day. Something is odd about that to me...

After getting the tire fixed, we were back on our way home. We decided to skip dinner at The Country Squire, and we'll plan another field trip to go there soon. We got home just before 9 p.m. and we were all wiped! What a day! It was fun, but I told my mother-in-law that the next time we took a field trip, we better not have anymore tire adventures!

I'll be contacting AAA Car Care on Atlantic Avenue tomorrow morning. They replaced the tires a couple years ago, but I'd assume there should be some kind of warranty on the tires. Since the tires are on the older side, I know I'm going to replacing all of them, but still want to check out "the deal" with the current tires. Fun stuff!

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