Granny gave us a 1994 Plymouth Acclaim. Jim was able to drive it from Ironwood to Ripon. Tonight, we went to get it and bring it back to Milwaukee, and we had an adventure! We stopped at a gas station in Ripon to fill up, and as we were leaving, Mike noticed a loud and horrible noise coming from the front right tire. He decided at first that maybe it was okay to drive since Jim had just driven it all the way from Ironwood with no problem, but after a very short time, he figured he'd better turn around and go back to the gas station. I was following him in my car thinking that maybe he forgot which way to go (I was helpful by flashing my lights at him and putting my turn signal on where we were suppose to turn. He ignored me.). Back at the gas station, neither one of us could really see much under the car, being 9:00pm and all, so we borrowed Claire's flashlight. The flashlight is shaped like a big blue hippo, the light coming out of his mouth, and when you turn it on it laughs a loud dopey laugh. I felt very grown up. But even with the flashlight, we couldn't see anything. Still the noise was so bad and horrible it sounded like the tire might be falling off, or maybe when we weren't watching, a bunch of kids came and replaced our perfectly good circular tire with a square one. We both were stunned that we couldn't see a thing wrong, even with our levels of expertise, given the noise. Finally after calling our dads, we decide to drive it back to Russel Manor rather than drive it home, and decide the next step later. As I'm following Mike out of the parking lot, I noticed sparks coming from under the car and then right in the middle of the street, the wheel actually did fall off. Because he was turning, it kind of turned around backwards and got pushed up against the wheel well. Twenty minutes later a tow truck showed up, and I was surprised to see a large puddle under the broken tire. The truck driver told us that when the tire fell off, it pulled the whole axel with it, making a large puddle of transmission fluid. So, I guess thats that.
But we finally made it home. I think Claire had a really good time hanging out in the gas station for about 45 minutes while we talked on the phone, pretended to make decisions, and then finally sat and waited for the tow truck. We really didn't talk about the situation then, but on the way home, we were able to laugh about it. Like the part when I noticed the wheel fell off, and the first thing I thought to do was flash my brights at Mike. The horn would probably have worked better, but in reality, as the driver, HE NOTICED the wheel had stopped functioning. Or the part when Mike got out of the car, looked at the wheel and then tried to push it back to its correct spot. Or Claire's perfectly concise summary: That blue car is broken. In the end, we were pretty lucky the whole thing didn't happen on the highway, or any other place not as convenient as directly in front of a gas station. And anyway, we'll worry about it when we get back!