During the summer of 2016, my husband Jeff and I embarked on our first cross-country road trip with our new truck and RV to attend his sister’s wedding in Florida. In retrospect, I should have suspected something was up when, after mentioning that we would be gone for 40 days, my neighbor replied, “That sounds Biblical!”
Traveling east on I-90 toward Spokane, WA, we blissfully anticipated our exciting vacation—only to have our bubble burst by the sound of a loud bang. Jeff peered into his side-view mirror and saw chunks of rubber from our blown RV tire hurtling down the road behind us. He somehow managed to pull our 36-foot trailer onto the shoulder of the busy highway. We glanced at each other uneasily. A blown tire had not been factored into our plans, and we were many miles from the nearest town.
Because we were in the middle of nowhere, our roadside service company told us it would take up to three hours for someone to reach us to change the tire. Without any other options, we decided to have lunch in the RV while we waited. In the comfort of our home-on-wheels, with food, shelter, and even a bathroom, I thought of how many others in the world didn’t have those basic necessities. In light of that, our inconvenient blowout didn’t seem like such a big problem anymore.
While we waited for the roadside service to arrive, we were visited by a sheriff’s deputy and a state trooper who came to check on us. We thanked them and told them we were fine and that someone would be there soon to change our tire. After four and half hours, the tire man finally arrived. As soon as he replaced the flat with our spare, we were on our way again.
By the third day of our journey, the tire blowout was a distant memory—that’s when the second tire blew, a few miles outside of Rapid City, SD. Amazingly, Jeff was able to drive our truck and RV to the nearest exit, crawling along the shoulder of the road with flashers blinking. Then he found a nearby gas station where we could park. The man from the Rapid City tire store we’d called showed up in 40 minutes, and we were back on the road in less than two hours. With new tires on the RV, plus a spare again, we continued on, hoping the two original tires still intact would last us until we made it to my mother’s house in Tennessee. But that was not the case.
It was day four, in Iowa, when I looked in my side-view mirror and saw the third of our original tires explode. With the RV in tow, we crawled along in our truck until we reached the next rest area. This time, Jeff decided to change the tire himself. Though he was proficient at changing tires, it was his first attempt with a 12,000 lb. RV, so I was a little uneasy. Then a nice truck driver pulled up next to us and got out. Seeing our predicament, he gave us some helpful suggestions. He also recommended a good tire place down the road and told us about a better route to Tennessee to avoid traffic.
As Jeff was tightening the last lug nut, I suddenly noticed a young woman standing next to me. The shock of the three blowouts had left me a bit dazed, but I heard her mention something about her disabled daughter and not having enough money for gas. In the distance, I saw a girl in a wheelchair by the woman’s car and realized the mother and daughter were stranded at the rest area. After the kindness shown to us by total strangers, it was our turn to help a person in need, so I gave her some money. It wasn’t much, but tears of gratitude filled her eyes as she hugged me before she left with her daughter. Struck by how God had used our travel challenges to help someone else, I glimpsed the bigger picture and saw His hand at work even with a blown tire.
Once we’d purchased two more tires, we resumed our journey and made it to the wedding in Florida right on schedule. Despite the minor setbacks at the beginning, we had a wonderful trip—thanks in part to those strangers who had assisted us on our journey. We also learned that the original tires on our new RV were already four years old, and RV tires don’t last much longer than three to four years—an important lesson for future trips. But the most important thing I learned through this adventure is that God is always at work, even during the blowouts in our lives, and that’s a lesson I never want to forget.
Gayla K. Hiss’ writing journey began with her hobby painting landscapes. In her imagination, characters and scenes came to life as she painted beautiful natural settings. Her inspiring novels combine her love for the great outdoors with romance, suspense and mystery. Gayla and her husband often tour the country in their RV, visiting many state and national parks. She enjoys hiking, camping, and traveling, and lives in the Pacific Northwest.
She’s excited to announce the release of Dangerous Ground, book 2 in her Peril in the Park series, which is available on Amazon.
It started with an anonymous note, but will it end in disaster?
Uncle Owen had died mysteriously, and Deputy Marshal Kate Phillips wants to know why. After arriving at Great Smoky Mountains National Park in search of answers, Kate finds herself at the center of an ancient family feud and a land dispute. It turns out a surprising number of people have an interest in her uncle’s estate. Even David Jennings, Kate’s handsome Good Samaritan who rescued her when she arrived, thinks he has a claim on Owen’s property—which some say is cursed.
Amid the mounting secrets and rumors circulating in the seemingly peaceful community, Kate has a secret of her own—one that could threaten her life and any future she might have with David. It soon becomes clear someone is targeting her. Could Kate’s troubled past have come back to haunt her, or have the clues she’s uncovered about her uncle’s suspicious death put her life in danger? To solve the mystery, Kate needs David’s help. But can they pull together before time runs out? Or will they become the next victims when it all explodes?