About a year and a half ago I wrote this post in which I made my feelings about Las Vegas abundantly clear. I mean, sure, I never actually named the city, but come on. No one was fooled.
Today, I am writing about how much I love Las Vegas. Only this time it’s the Las Vegas found in Northern New Mexico. My family and I have been on another one of our awesome road trip adventures. This little ditty took us to Atlanta and the home of our very dear friends, down through Montgomery and Mobile, Alabama, and I even finally made it to New Orleans! Which – I loved. Absolutely loved. I’m already scheming on how to get back there. And to Butcher on Tchoupitoulas for the most amazing food. (Seriously. We made a list of the Top 5 Road Trip foods and two from Butcher made the list – the BBQ pork sandwich and the Cajun mac-n-cheese. Oh man. Now I absolutely need to go back. Tomorrow.)
After New Orleans and completely losing my mind over a cemetery (don’t ask), we made the trek straight across Texas, through New Mexico, and on into Arizona. After the obligatory In-and-Out visit, we finally landed just south of Phoenix for some awesome family Thanksgiving time.
Today we were on our final leg, due back home in Northern Colorado around dinnertime.
As we were driving we saw the mileage signs for Las Vegas, giggled a little, and didn’t really think any more about it. We passed through Las Vegas and made some fabulously unfunny remarks, and we were done.
Or so we thought.
About 50 miles later David said, “Something’s not right.” The car started shaking a bit, he pulled onto the shoulder, and I looked into the mirror in time to see the right rear wheel go flying off the car.
And yes, I mean wheel. Not just tire. The entire wheel separated from the axle. We got out of the car, picked up the wheel, and just said, “Huh.”
Now, let me clarify that I’m not mad at our car. That bad boy has taken us back and forth across the country so many times. It’s only natural that he needs a little TLC. (And four wheels.) But it was just a bit inconvenient.
David called for a tow truck and had two options: The town that was 50 miles further down the road, or Las Vegas. Since backtracking is near the top of his list of Things I Refuse to Do, he wanted to keep moving down the road. But those tow truck drivers wanted to charge us twice as much, and so we met James from Las Vegas.
James came and hooked up our car, and got us headed back towards the town. On the way he called some of the mechanics he knew, but all of them said that they couldn’t even look at the car until Tuesday.
James told us the verdict with the mechanic, then said, “Let me make another call.” He called the car parts shop himself, found what he needed, and asked them to put it aside for him. Then he said, “If it’s alright with you, I can just fix it myself at our shop.” You know, for about half the price.
Then he said, “I’ll just take you to the hotel and then I’ll get everything taken care of. We’ll talk on Monday.”
When he dropped us off at the hotel (with free breakfast and an indoor pool, thankyouverymuch) he gave us his personal cell phone number in case we needed anything. Because tow truck drivers typically do that sort of thing? Apparently in Las Vegas they do.
So here we sit in our hotel room. We spent the afternoon swimming, and now we are eating the free nightly snack. The Auburn/Alabama game is on TV. (Yes. 18 months in the South and I’m an SEC fan. What can I say? I’m highly impressionable.) The kidlets are playing with toys, and I am content.
More than content, actually. I’m grateful.
Grateful that we didn’t drive through the night as originally planned, so that the wheel came flying off in the middle of a sunny day instead of at two in the morning.
Grateful that I didn’t sleep at all last night so that David was driving rather than me. He knew exactly what to do, and I can’t say I would have been as level-headed.
Grateful that James from Las Vegas is the Tow Truck Driver of the Year.
Grateful that it only took three texts and a message on Facebook to get all of our responsibilities covered for the next two days.
And grateful that this happened on my youngest son’s sixth birthday. I know that sounds absurd, but for a little guy who wakes up crying because he misses sleeping in hotels, getting two extra hotel nights for his birthday was a dream come true. Add in a swimming pool, free nachos, and a ride in a tow truck? We’re the best. parents. ever.
So in a trip that included several of my favorite people, my favorite places, and my favorite foods, who would have thought that one of the highlights would come from, quite literally, the wheels coming off this whole thing?
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8
See you soon.