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  • Writer's pictureKandy Thietten

Thank God For Mechanics And Tow Trucks

When we pulled out of the cottage driveway to drive to the AirBNB Abe's family had rented for the Ironman, Abe heard a strange sound. I'm sure glad he has the ears of a mechanic and can hear every noise that's not quite right. He refused to tell me what he thought it was when he was going out to check on it because he didn't want to worry me, but when he climbed back inside he confirmed his suspicion. The muffler was hanging by nothing but the mudflap, with a little extra support given by the wire he'd used to jerry-rig it earlier after noticing that it wasn't attached like it should have been, the 20 year old rubber pieces originally used to hold it up having broken. He looked up the nearest diesel repair shop, Wieland Truck Center Clare, in Clare, MI. We made the slow drive, hazards flashing when we were on highways, praying that the muffler wouldn't completely fall off.

We made it there and they were able to get us right in (we're finding that small towns are WONDERFUL when things need fixed asap). We hung out in our home for a few hours while a young man worked on it, doing what an older mechanic told him. It's so nice being in our house even while we're at the mechanic, but I do wonder what it sounded like underneath when the toilet flushed. Anyway, a few hours and $380 later, we started the two hour drive, good as gold.

We arrived at the AirBNB and started up the too narrow, too winding, too steep driveway before backing back down. When the back end got to the upslope of the tiny dip before the road, the muffler hit it, dragging and leaving a yard-long white mark on the pavement. Once we got parked, Abe got out to check, and saw that the muffler had dragged because it was sagging badly. Fortunately, we were going to the cottage for a night after leaving the Ironman in a few days, so we'd be right by the repair shop. We went back to the repair shop before the cottage and explained the situation. One of the mechanics, Chris, took a look at the muffler and assured us that it would be fixed. A few hours later, we drove away with a muffler that was held up high, more secure than when Ol' Bessie came out of the factory. Thank you, Chris and Team Wieland!

The next morning, Abe remembered some batteries they had on sale for a great price. Our chassis batteries were at the end of their life, so we drove back in. As soon as we pulled up, Tom came out to meet us and it was clear that his heart sank when he saw us. What a relief to tell him that we were there to buy batteries! We assured him that we were thrilled with the muffler. And now, Ol' Bessie starts with ease. No more using the house batteries to get her going.

Wednesday morning we met Edna, Toni, Rae, and 1 year old Crew, my mom's family that I met a couple weeks ago, at the Allegan County Fair. We started off the day with some deep fried fair food and horse races. Neither Abe nor I had ever seen horse races, and I got to learn a bit about them. Instead of the thoroughbred races with the jockeys riding the horses that I know about, these were harness races. Harness races usually use pacers (the legs on each side move in tandem, so both right legs go forward or both left legs go forward) instead of trotters, and instead of riding the horses, the jockeys ride on carts behind them. If you are familiar with harness races and I got something wrong or left out something vital, please let me know. It was so much fun! We placed one dollar bets and Abe and I lost I think $8, but it was exciting. And I'm so glad I got to spend some more time with my family before leaving Michigan.

We were able to park in the fairgrounds overnight, so Abe and I went to see our favorite part, the animals, after Edna, Toni, Rae, and Crew left. We spent hours petting the horses, sheep, and pigs. Surprisingly, the pigs are the best part. I love horses, but they are usually pretty done with people. The pigs, however, LOVE the attention. You call them over, and they get great big smiles while you pet them (I looked it up and they really do smile, it's not just my imagination). It makes me really want a pet pig some day. They're the sweetest, most affectionate animals at the fairs. Thursday morning, we went to the horse stalls first thing. It was early so they were feeling a little more sociable. I actually wore lipstick that morning, and I probably should have blotted it better, because some of the horses were left with lip prints on their noses. Oops. I can't help it. When I see a horse, I want to kiss its soft, fuzzy nose.

We'd made ourselves sick on deep fried fair food Wednesday (and chocolate dipped frozen cheesecake that everyone needs to try at least once) so we ate a healthy breakfast instead of fair food, but we did treat ourselves to a quart of chocolate milk. It's been so long since I've had real chocolate milk. It was heavenly. We left the fair pretty early and drove for hours until we got to a casino that also had harness races that we did not bet on, where we spent that night.

This morning, we started driving toward Kentucky. We passed a gas station, saw the green cost per gallon, decided it was the best price for diesel we'd see anytime soon, and stopped to top off our 3/4 full tank. Green is always diesel. In all my 44 years and Abe's 47 years, green has always been diesel. Abe grabbed the green handle on the green part of the pump and started pumping. We didn't read it. As you get to the eastern side of the country, you start to see BP gas stations. Green is always diesel EXCEPT for at BP stations. Black is diesel there. I don't know what Abe noticed, but after fourteen gallons he questioned what he was putting in the tank and stopped pumping. I looked closer at the pump out my window and informed him that it was not diesel.

Fortunately, God is always looking out for us, even today. If Abe hadn't questioned, we would have filled up, paid, and drove away. Then we would have been in a HUGE heap of trouble. We had a great big "Oh crap, what now" moment, then Abe went in to talk to the gas attendant. She knew just who to call and in several minutes an RV repairman pulled up. He drove up, realized there was nothing he could do there, said he'd be able to get to us Monday, and drove off. She had also called a tow truck that could tow Ol' Bessie. Right now, RVs that need help are likely to be out of luck. Due to the influx of RVs on the road, everyone who services them is overwhelmed. But once again God provided. Brian from Davis Towing & Recovery, Inc. was able to come get us. The plan was for him to take us to the shop and we'd be able to park there until Monday, when the RV repairman would be able to help us out. When he got us there, Brian ended up emptying our fuel for us! (Because Abe never turned the engine on, all we had to do was drain the tank.) We were out of there by 3:30 this afternoon instead of having to park there all through the weekend without being able to run the generator for AC while it's 85 and sunny outside.

I'm not sure why we put the wrong fuel in, even though I've come to be a big believer in Providence so I'm sure there was a reason, but I can definitely see that, once again, God was taking care of us. And after it was all said and done, Brian charged us way less than either of us expected. I'm overwhelmed by how much he did for us today. Thank you, Brian and Davis Towing & Recovery!

We've had people show up to the beach to pull us out, we've gotten a weather warning saying that a bad hailstorm with one inch hailstones was less than ten minutes away, plus another bad hailstorm a little further away but headed straight towards us, just to have them fizzle out before hitting us (that one was interesting because I watched the radar, and as soon as the edge of it got to us, the storm spread out and went up either side of us in a U without ever being directly over us before it disappeared), we've hear tornado sirens with a touchdown a few miles away but no damage in the park we were at, and now this. I've been needing some reassurance that we're doing what God wants, and His provision is the best reassurance I could ask for.

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