Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Adventures in Travel and the Kindness of Strangers

So I've been meaning to post this story for a while. Since it has been nearly a week, the story is going to be abbreviated, and mostly pictures. Luckily.

Last Friday we were on our way to the airport (was supposed to be a four-hour drive...we gave ourselves an extra hour because the night before it had been raining). Just after we crossed from Iowa into Minnesota, we hit a patch of ice and landed (gently careened is how my long-story version put it) in the ditch. We and the car were ok, but we couldn't get out on our own. Several cars stopped to see if we needed anything, and one guy insisted on staying with us until Triple A got there to tow us out. How could we feel anything but blessed as we waited to get pulled out of the ditch?

A picture before we went into the ditch. A sign moments before this pointed this way and said "Highest Elevation in Iowa." (Hawkeye Point. Wikipedia it. It exists.). A couple minutes later and we were in MN...and in the ditch (photo taken with my phone).

Taken from the ditch. We were waiting for the tow truck and I just thought the sun rising and the dew on the grass were so pretty (taken with a real camera...the only pictures I took the whole time we were in the Midwest. For shame).

I couldn't resist.

Sort of blurry, but our tire tracks. We spun around one complete time and were facing the same direction we were originally headed when all was said and done.

Nestled in some reeds. Too slippery to drive out on our own. Both doors were open because the camera was in our bag in the back seat, and I was just quickly taking some pictures.
So fortunate not to have hit any signs....and to have landed upright...and for all the kind folks that stopped and asked how they could help. 

About an hour after we landed in the ditch, we were on our way again. Because we had left a little early, we felt confident that we would make it to the airport on time.  Until an hour and a half or so later...

When our tire blew. Note the precipitation in the air and the shards of tire missing.

SO grateful that Steve knows how to change a tire. Also grateful that we were able to pull halfway up an exit ramp before stopping. And grateful for the people who again stopped to see if we needed anything. A state patrol stopped and lent us his tire iron (going to have to wikipedia that too, if you don't know what it is. I had to ask Steve for the proper name).

Long story short (and this is the short version!), driving 45 mph on the spare did not allow us to get to the airport on time to make our flight. While I slowly drove in the direction of the airport, Steve made a bunch of phone calls (lots. Thankful I was driving. Talking on the phone stresses me out) and not only got us a flight to Cleveland later that day (Cleveland is only an hour and a half away from where we live...not the closest airport to us, but close enough!), but worked out rides to and from both airports (thankful for dear friends willing to carve extra time out of their day for us).

Still not sure of all that the Lord wanted to teach us in this adventure, and why we couldn't make it to the airport for our original flight...but so grateful for safety, for the kindness of both good friends and strangers, and that we did make it back to PA in one piece. Perhaps because I have resolved to be a kinder person in 2012, God wanted to show me some ways to do so? Maybe so, though there is probably more to it than that. We shall see!

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