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Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Grand Grandson Adventure

We had an adventure last night.  It all started when the grandson and friend of his (both 19) decided they wanted to try out some old kayaks, one of which, as grandparents, lay under dust in our basement.  The other kayak was in somebody else’s basement.

The grandson showed up at 4:00 p.m. to pick up the one we have.  It was a lovely afternoon--precursor of Spring.  The plan was to meet his friend and hustle over to the lake and paddle around for a little while then return the kayak until next time. 

The friend went to pick up his kayak while the grandson came to get ours. The kayak would not fit in the grandson’s SUV no matter what we tried.  There is no rack on top of his SUV.  The plan was about to fail when I suggested he take our utility trailer (which doesn’t get much use and the SUV does have a hitch on it).  Problem solved.  But that did entail cleaning the hitch enough to allow the parts to attach, find a padlock so the trailer wouldn’t disappear while the boys were paddling around like ducks.  Grandpa had all the necessary items including tie downs.  He even knew how to make the cinching knots in the straps. And bring the air compressor up from the basement to fill the tires with a little more street-worthy air.

HOWEVER, when the trailer was about to be attached it was discovered that the spare tire on the back of the SUV stuck out further than the hitch, so the grandpa suggested they take the tire off.  But, oops, the tool kit for the SUV had gone missing, so the tool to take the tire off was not present.  We were about to be foiled.  But teenage enthusiasm prevailed.

A call to the friend who by this time had his kayak in a small pickup truck, diverted him to our house and the trailer re-hitched to HIS truck.  There was the commotion of switching the kayaks around as the truck bed was too short for that kayak.

Hitch in place, chains attached, kayaks tied down, they were finally on their way with the admonition of being back before dark (7 p.m.) because the truck had no hookup for the rear trailer lights.

Two hours later (about 6:30) we got a phone call.  They’d been to the lake, kayaked for about an hour and were on their way back home when the truck’s tire went flat, and there was no jack for the truck.  That’s when our adventure really started.  The grandpa put every tool he thought he’d need into our car, including a truck jack, a drill, and ratchet set, and we set out for the “Shell Station on 400,” of which there are three and the boys didn’t know the cross street name.  We started with the closest one and worked our way down to the second one.  They were parked safely at the rear of the station.  By now it was dark.

The boys thoughtfully had removed the trailer from the truck so they could get the spare tire out from under the tailgate. The boys looked up how to get the spare off by going on line with their cellphones.  They’d examined the problem by using a flashlight app in those phones too.  However, they couldn’t get to it because the tool kit that had gone missing included the proper tool for removal. Grandpa had one, quite by accident. 

That’s when the boys learned the emergency brake must be on, rocks found to put under the vehicle tires so it won’t move, the jack set in the proper location (three tries to get it right) so it will raise the axle instead of the bumper. While they worked on that problem, the grandpa addressed getting the flat tire off the truck.

The truck had lost its tire iron.  The tire iron brought by grandpa was not the right kind for the problem and the drill wasn’t strong enough to get the little rusted nuts loose.  But there was a wrecker truck at the gas pump with the owner just getting ready to leave.  So I ran over to ask him if we could pay him to change the tire.  He was on a call but very kindly pulled over to our problem and took time to loosen the nuts.  Would take no pay for it either.

With the spare tire eventually loose¸ we could start this second phase of the adventure.

Now the jack was ready to be raised.  After a hundred winds of the jack by first one set or arms and then another’s the truck came up high enough to remove the tire.  All of the nuts that had been loosened were removed with a bucking drill, but one stubborn one would not relent.  However, the grandpa had brought a magic ratchet!  The last nut finally gave in and the tire was finally off and tossed into the truck bed with the kayak.

The same bucking drill was adjusted so it tightened the nuts of the spare tire, the jack was lowered and also used to reassemble the works that hold up truck spare tires under the back bumper area.

Then the confession of being stopped by Mr. Policeman between the lake and the Shell Station for not having taillights came out.  When the kayaks had been replaced into the trailer and truck bed after they’d been in the lake, they hung over the corners enough to block one truck taillight.  He also mentioned there were no tags on the trailer.  Grandpa said trailers under a certain weight didn’t need tags.  Maybe they don’t tell the police about that.   Fortunately the Law gave the boys a warning.  Because of this we followed the boys back to our house in the dark so the absence of trailer lights (and one truck light) would not be noticed.

Now all we had to do was get the trailer backed down the driveway, detached and replaced, our kayak returned to the basement, the gathered tools replaced in their various storage places, and two hungry and late boys on their ways home.  They still had to take the other kayak back to wherever it came from as well.

I think those boys need tool kits for their individual vehicles.  They both now know how to change a tire with more than a cell phone.  They did every step under grandpa direction, not his doing it for them.

I’ve thought about this for 24 hours.  It is likely that the effort to earn the money to support a car, including the price of gasolene, let alone dates, etc. interferes with safety measures, always the last to be addressed since it’s not imperative in order to drive the things.

I’m old but not so old I don’t remember those days from my past.  We rode in cars that had no floorboard, whose doors would not close so they were roped closed.  I’ve helped push cars that constantly ran out of that pesky gas, even though it only cost 26 cents a gallon.  Only putting $1 of gas in the car because that’s all the money I had.  I remember starting one particular car that always had to start at the top of a hill by rolling down and popping the clutch.  My friends’ cars were rolling disasters.  I guess my father got wind of it at some point and began inspecting my dates’ cars before I was allowed to go any more places.  It was very embarrassing.  But then he didn’t know about a lot of other things we did, never since spoken of.

I suppose my grandson will live through this episode of his life.  I’ve seen it happen before.  Anyway, yesterday was a fun adventure down memory lane for me.


  1. Fun because it was them and not you!

    1. I'm sure they were gnashing their teeth, but they didn't appear upset, just wanted to get the job done and it had become quite a quagmire. I felt a little bad for them, knowing they were having a learning experience the hard way.