On the Road Between No and Where

Several years ago, I began describing places that were some distance away from towns of any size as “the intersection of No and Where.” On our recent road trip we discovered something even more isolated: “the road between No and Where.”

It was on such a road – Texas RM 2400 – that our right front tire decided to give way.

I should point out that RM 2400 (RM stands for “ranch to market”) is a perfectly good paved road. The problem was that it stretches between a state highway and a US highway and that even where it intersects those roads, there is no there there.

(I suspect that when Gertrude Stein said of Oakland that there is “no there there,” she had never been to any place where that was literally true.)

We were on our way back from seeing the eclipse and visiting family in the Texas Hill Country, and we had decided to take a short side trip down to the Alpine/Marfa area to see the high desert country in spring, which is a good time for visiting deserts.

There are ways to get there on somewhat more traveled roads, but this looked like it led to a scenic route. We’d had the car serviced before the trip and the tires were relatively new, so we were not expecting trouble.

I should point out that trouble usually happens when you’re not expecting it.

We were toodling along and all of a sudden things were very rough. The road hadn’t changed. I said, “Do you think we have a flat?”

We decided to pull over into the first driveway we came to (no real shoulders on that road).

The tire wasn’t flat. It was gone, left in shreds along the road.

So we took all the stuff out of the back that was on top of where the spare tire was. Lots of stuff – the casual packing of a road trip coupled with some things I was bringing back from Austin.

We found the spare and the lug wrench, but no jack.

That seemed odd, but it occurred to me that, despite the fact that my car is 18 years old (my mechanic assures me that it is never going to die on account of the fact that it is a Scion, which is to say a Toyota), I had never changed a tire on it. When I had a flat, I called Triple A.

Which we would have definitely done, except that we had no cell service. And of course, the nearest possible place that might have a Triple A person was at least 60 miles away.

Anyway, I was convinced there must be a jack somewhere, so I looked under the front seat and there it was. So we moved some more stuff to get at it, put the jack under the car, and started the process.

My sweetheart, who has knees, did most of the cranking of the jack. We then worked on the lug nuts. Three of them came off with some effort. However, there were four of them, and the fourth one was not coming off at all.

Apparently it was stripped.

Let me also note that with the exception of a semi that passed us right after we stopped, no one else had come down the road.

Fortunately, at this point a man in a pickup came along and turned in at the gate of the very place where we had stopped. Continue reading “On the Road Between No and Where”