A Fourth of July Adventure

Photo Credit: leoncillo sabino. Licensed CC-BY.
Photo Credit: leoncillo sabino.
Licensed CC-BY.

As writers, we are often told to live a life worth writing about. Life is an adventure, and the Fourth of July holiday gave me an adventure I wasn’t quite planning for.


We knew it was going to be a hot day, and didn’t relish the idea of staying indoors. If we were going to go out, it was either going to be the water park or the beach. Before we left the house, some of the beaches were already closing their access due to capacity issues, so off to the water park we went.

We had a blast at the waterpark. My daughter was a little nervous about it due to a previous bad experience. She had gone with a group from her day care and got teased about not wanting to go on some of the water slides. I can understand the other kids teasing her, but when I learned one of the day care workers also teased her I was a bit upset. I know these day care workers are little more than summer job college students, but even at that age, they should know not to tease a child about not going on a water slide.

Our daughter had a much better time with us and stuck to the tamer slides.

It was actually when we left that park that the adventure began. I went to go get the minivan, and bring it up to the entrance so my wife and kids wouldn’t have to walk as far. I must have just grazed the curb enough to blow out my passenger front tire.


Have you ever tried to change a tire on a minivan? I opened the hatch on the back, but no spare. I eventually had to get out the manual, but as I was flipping through it, another minivan owner came up and gave me a hand. They put the spare in between the second row seats. It took both us, two full grown adult men, to get the tire out. One to hold the panel up and the other to yank the spare out.

How they expect a mom with kids to do that solo I’ll never understand.

We got the spare on and as we lowered the jack our heart sank and the spare sagged. It was nearly as flat as the tire we just took off. We had little choice but to load everyone up and see how far we could get. The spare managed to roll but I couldn’t do more than about 5 mph without it scrapping.

We knew there was a gas station just outside the park and I managed to limp it over there. Unfortunely someone had cut the nozzle off the end of the air hose.

Seriously? Are those nozzles like valuable or something?

There was another gas station across the street so I gently coaxed it over there, but their air pump was out of order.


We pulled into a Sonic next to a car wash and my wife went over to see if the car wash had air. Yes, we were hot and tired, and a little desprate at that point. My wife talked me into getting some ice cream for us and the kids, and I’m really glad she did. It gave us a moment to collect our thoughts and calm down.

I pulled up Gas Buddy on my Droid and saw the nearest gas station was nearly two miles down the four lane highway. About a quarter mile from the gas station, a police officer pulls in behind me. He walks up to us at a traffic light and asks if we realize we have a flat spare.

We are driving, at most, 5mph with our hazards on. Yeah, we know we’ve got a flat spare. I explain we are trying to get to the gas station and he follows us the last quarter mile.

Finally, a place with air. Best dollar I spent all day. It was like oxygen watching that spare inflate. We rode it home, and got cleaned up. I was really proud of my wife, and our kids who took everything in stride. I guess it helped that I did too. My friend Paul says that dads are the emotional thermostat of the family.

The ice cream didn’t hurt either.

We heated up some frozen pizza and watched A Capital Fourth on TV. Live fireworks scare both kids.

It was quite an adventure.

How was your Fourth?

(Reprinted from Ted Atchley’s blog Ted the Third, originally available at http://tedthethird.com.)

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