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Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on July 30th, 2014, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 15, Issue 21 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 15, Issue 21

The airhead

Krider versus the motor home

BY ROB KRIDER


It was supposed to be a simple vacation. The plan was to load up the family, drive to the beach, and surf, relax, and drink irresponsible amounts of rum for a week straight. On paper the plan seemed pretty solid—and it would have all gone according to plan if we hadn’t taken the money-sucking, mother-flunking, tire-blowing motor home.

The premise of the modern motor home is to save families money on trips. With a motor home, theoretically, there should be no hotel costs or eating out costs. Motor homes make things cheap. Well, they do in theory, but in reality the money-sucking, mother-flunking, tire-blowing motor home will destroy your vacation finances, terminate your vacation plans, and ruin your vacation memories, all within 100 miles of your destination. At least, that is how it went for my family this summer.

So there I was, cruising down the highway at a cool 55 miles per hour, getting a solid 8 miles to the gallon in the money-sucking, mother-flunking, tire-blowing motor home. We had rum in the cupboard, bicycles on the back, and surfboards on the roof. The kids were playing cards at the kitchen table, and my wife, whom I love, was in the right front seat making a mess of the directions. All was normal, and life was good. Then the first tire exploded.

We pulled over at a local gas station in a little town and found a 6-inch hole in the side of the very flat tire. That wasn’t good. I showed my wife the flat tire, and she suggested I put some air in it.

I tried nicely to explain, “Honey, do you see the large, 6-inch hole in the side of the tire?”

“Yes.”

“Putting air in the tire isn’t going to fix the problem. We need to find a tire shop.”

She asked me, “And the tire shop can put air in it for us?”

“Um, no.”

I asked the gentlemen at the gas station if there was a local tire shop nearby. He tried to tell me, but we were having some language-barrier issues. He was speaking Kurdish and I was speaking Panicked American Dad. All I could get from him was something that sounded like “auto shop” and he pointed toward the east. It was better than nothing. I went to the motor home and untied the easiest bicycle I could quickly access. It happened to be my wife’s bicycle, a hot pink beach cruiser with Hawaiian flowers on it. I left my family behind to lounge in the money-sucking, mother-flunking, tire-blowing motor home while I tried to get us some help. I pedaled the pink bicycle to the east and found what “auto shop” means in Kurdish: Autozone. Autozone is neither a tire shop nor a repair location. The guys at Autozone spoke English, and they told me I was in luck because just down the street, about six blocks, was a tire shop called “Big Earl’s Tires.”

I began to pedal the pink bicycle through town to find this Big Earl. As I was riding along, I realized this was a very, very small and impoverished town that the money-sucking, mother-flunking, tire-blowing motor home decided to break down in. Suddenly a pack of little yapper dogs came flying out of a front yard and were trying to maul me. I pedaled the pink bicycle as fast as I could with the tiny dogs nipping at my ankles. After escaping danger, and out of breath, I finally arrived at Big Earl’s Tires. Trying to be positive, all I can really say about the place was: They were open.

The owner came walking out of the shop, and, truth in advertising, Big Earl was gigantic. Big Earl was a walking heart attack with a side of bacon. The first thing he said to me was, “What’s with the pink bike?” I explained to him that I was a desperate man in search of a motor home tire.  He gave me a handshake with the largest hand I had ever seen in my life and said, “I got just what you need.”

I decided to have him replace the flat tire instead of mounting our spare tire so I would have the spare for the rest of the vacation because we still had a ways to go. He told me to pedal my “little pink bike” back to the motor home, to watch out for the local attack Chihuahuas, and to limp my motor home on three rear tires back to his shop. He would have us back on the road in no time. We arrived and watched Big Earl lift the motor home with his huge arms as he used a jack to assist him raise up our money-sucking, mother-flunking, tire-blowing motor home. 

After dropping $140 in cash, we were back on the road with a brand-new (in actuality, probably used, non-name-brand) tire, all in less than an hour. I told my wife, “Wow, that was really lucky. Big Earl hooked us up. That whole situation couldn’t have worked out any better.” I spoke too soon.

Seventy miles later, while driving the money-sucking, mother- flunking, tire-blowing motor home, the brand-new (definitely used, non-name-brand) tire exploded. To make matters worse, the tire next to it also exploded into a hundred bits of rubber. I only had one spare, and suddenly I needed two tires. We were in big trouble. I limped the crooked motor home off the freeway, riding on the sparking two left rear rims. We stopped at another gas station and took a look at the damage. There was hardly any tire left on the rims. My wife saw our situation and asked, “At this gas station, can you put some air in the tires?”

 “No, Honey. Again, that won’t work. We need two new tires!”

 “Should we call AAA and they can come and put some air in the tires?”

“Baby, no. All the air in the world is not going to fix these two completely destroyed tires.”

My wife asked, “Can we at least take the new tire back to Big Earl and get our money back?”

“Yes, Honey, pull the wheel off, put in the basket of your beach cruiser, and I’ll pedal 70 miles up the freeway for a warranty replacement from Big Earl’s Tires.”

“You don’t have to be a jerk about it. I just want you to put some air in the tires so we can go to the beach.”

“AIR WON’T FIX IT! OK, folks, new plan! Roll down the awning and get out the folding chairs. For the first night of our vacation, we are camping at Chevron!”

 

One day, two tires, and $600 later, the Krider family finally arrived at their vacation destination, where Rob soon got a flat tire on his beach cruiser. Send comments through the executive editor at rmiller@santamariasun.com.