We have now officially traded the heat in central Illinois for the heat in central Minnesota. It took us a long time to get here. We had some breakdowns along the way and had excessive heat stops so we could cool down.
After praying for safety and protection along the way, we hit the road about 2:30 am on Thursday July 21. We made it about an hour down the road when one of the camper tires blew going over a bridge. With the camper and van swaying madly back and forth, Laurie and the girls screaming, I was able to keep the van and camper on the road. I pulled over and checked things out. Everything seemed to check out. All the tires had air. Now, the amazing thing is, right after we got back on the road a couple of the girls had to use the restroom. Talk about timing, when I just get going, I hate stopping so soon. But this stop was of Yahweh. I pulled off at the first available exit that would have what we needed. Since we were at a gas station I thought I might as well fill up so we could go even further before our next stop. After I helped Laurie and the girls out I walked around the camper to double check things. That's when I heard a disturbing sound, the sound of air hissing. It was coming from the rear tire of the camper and then I saw to my dismay a couple of wires poking their way out of the tire. I filled up and then backed the camper to a spot where we would not be in the way. I went into the station and explained our situation. The attendant told me of a place a block away that could possibly help me when they opened. She also mentioned the owner usually stopped at the station on his way to work. We were stopped for the time being. At about 5:30 or 6 a disabled gentleman (he was a rough looking sort of man) stopped to see if we needed any help. He offered me the use of his 3-ton jack, but would have to walk back home first and bring it back with his pickup. I was able to get the tire off and then continued to wait. He stayed around and talked and also introduced me to the co-owner of the repair shop. The owner did not think he had a tire the right size, but this gentleman thought he might know of someone who had a used one. While the ladies sat and waited he drove me around trying to find the right tire. The ladies were also visited by a young man about 13 year of age. Dave, the disabled man, has taken this young man under his wing as he and his mother are on hard times. When looking for a used tire failed, he took his time to take me 20 minutes back into Peoria to get a new one. While at the store I got to thinking about the tires on the camper and something told me to get two instead of just the one I needed. I know who it was that was prompting me: it was Yahweh Almighty, the El who watches over us. I offered to pay this gentleman for his time and gas but he refused and just said to pass it on to others who need help.
In a song we have heard...."on the road again, just can't wait to get on the road again...." We then were able to get back on the road for a time. There were other "appointments" for us later in the day. The sun was up and it was supposed to be hot. We were headed north and almost to our turn off to head west when the dreaded happened again. Another tire, only this time on the other side. So I once again pulled over to the side of the highway, just before a work area. I called 911 to let them know of our situation and began the wait for help. Not only was it hot outside, now it was hot in the seat right next to me. As the sun crept slowly higher in the sky we waited for the state trooper to come so we could get our second tire put on the rim. After the officer arrived, the girls got out of the van and took turns in the cool of the trooper's car. They even received a short tour complete with siren. They told me all about asking to have the handcuffs put on dad. The tire repaired, the animals watered, I asked if there was a hotel that would take animals which would be near by, as we were all suffering from the heat. All in all we traveled about 150 miles in 12 hours. That is just under 10 miles of travel every 45 minutes.
We found a motel and I was able to get Laurie and the girls settled and I then went off to find something for supper. When I got back they were all sleeping. I took a nap for about an hour and then the others were starting to stir. I gave them lots of orange juice and liquids and then as they became more hungry we started on the food. By bedtime we were all ready for some much needed rest. When I finally got everyone to bed and laid down myself I had had one hour of sleep in about 36 hours. That being said, I was still pretty awake. So, I spent time thanking our Protector and Provider for all of his help the last few days.
To be continued.....