I'm presently just east of Regina, Saskatchewan, within very easy commuting distance, and will be here till Thursday.
The last few days have been quite the adventure.
I thought I would be rested and ready to go when I left the campground on Saturday with Brandon as my destination, but something felt off. The feeling got worse as I got closer to Brandon. The drive there didn't help as big wind gusts made it difficult not to sway. But there was something else.
Since Thunder Bay, I'd had one of my bad feelings about my left rear tire. No reason for it; pressure was good, tire was in impeccable condition, it was a Michelin. So, when it blew just as I got into Brandon, I felt immense relief as that feeling of being 'off' dissipated almost immediately.
I was able to limp into a big empty parking lot to assess the damage. Tire was definitely a goner. Okay, fine, need a new tire. I knew I was lucky. I wasn't in the middle of nowhere and chances were I'd be able to hunker down in this parking lot until I could get going again. I hadn't needed to use one of my precious 'free' roadside assistance calls and I didn't have to try to put on the spare myself. I was home. And didn't tire places offer a mobile service? As crummy things go, this was pretty non-crummy.
So, the first thing I did was hike across the tarmac to the grocery store there, get a few things, then politely ask if I could spend the day in their parking lot. Indeed. I was even welcome to stay through to Monday morning!
Okay, so I now had a place to securely leave Miranda while I went for help. I asked Majel for directions to the nearest tire place. It was closed, so I moved on to the next. Kal Tires. Go there if you ever blow a tire in Brandon!
I told the service tech what happened and where I was. He looked very apologetic and informed me that he couldn't possibly get someone out to see me for at least four or five hours and it would cost 60$ to do so. I told him that was fantastic and that I was thrilled that I'd be able to get service that day. I gave him my cell number (another thing to be grateful for), told him I was going exploring in my toad, and to give me a shout whenever his tech was ready to head my way.
So, Saturday I was able to do what I'd planned to do in the first place: explore Brandon. There was absolutely nothing to see. Really. It was too cold and rainy to walk along the river and all the interesting exhibits and shops were closed tight till Monday. I drove around a bit to orient myself, found a movie theatre, and then returned home to comb through all my literature on Saskatchewan to plan my next move.
The tech guy arrived around 5, as promised, and made quick work of getting the new tire put on, even though he had to return to the shop to pick up a tool he hadn't thought to bring. They didn't have a the exact kind of tire I have, but something equivalent... that was almost double the cost. To compensate me for that (!) I just had to pay for the tire, the service call, and the taxes. They actually waived the hourly work fee! The total bill wasn't pleasant, but it was fully half what I had thought a blow out would cost me.
By this time, it was going on seven. I'd had dinner between the tech's two visits (he told me I could be in the rig while it was on the jack) so I went to the movies then came home and had an early night.
Which brings us to this morning. I was a bit disoriented when I woke up. I'd slept 9 hours straight through. That is absolutely unheard of for me.
I had a pleasant and absolutely uneventful 450km journey to just outside Regina. The park I'd spotted in a campground guide turned out to be perfectly located (and cheap!). Walmart and any other store I could possibly need is just 10 minutes down the highway.
Tomorrow and Wednesday I'll explore Regina while Tuesday I'm taking a field trip to Moose Jaw.
If the adage that bad things happen in threes, then I should be good for a while. :-) At any rate, I'm on the prairie where it's warm and sunny, the aspen are giggling outside my door, and the beer is cold. All is right once again and I can't believe I'm almost halfway through this first portion of my great big adventure.
"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."