April Fools.... Hoorah

Trip Start Jan 01, 2010
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Trip End May 14, 2010


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Flag of United States  , Texas
Thursday, April 1, 2010

Thursday in Denver City, TX was our last day before our New Hampshire vacation :)

It was also April Fools Day.

We left our hotel in Hobbs, NM in the morning.
As we were pulling out of the driveway, I felt the van rocking a little bit, like it was limping. I thought perhaps the front left tire was flat. Before we got to the main road, I got out to inspect the tire. The inside tread was pretty bald, but nothing indicated that it would have a significant effect on driving. So I hopped back in and kept driving. Sure enough, the van was rocking with each revolution of the tire. We decided to just drive it out to the school and deal with it later.

Two hours later, we arrived at our school. Not as bad as it sounds. Really, we only drove for an hour, but we crossed a timezone and watched an hour of our lives fly away without us living it.

When we arrived at the school, I looked down at the tire again, and I realized two things: 1) it had gotten worse--a section of tire had worn down through two layers of metal fiber 2) we needed a new tire immediately--we could not leave without one.

But more urgently, we needed to do our show. Thank the Lord, we arrived to the school safely. A few more miles, we would have worn straight through the tire and been in big trouble.

We walked into the main entrance of the school. Strangely, many students were just wandering around campus, or hanging in the lounges... more strangely, the main office was locked and dark. A student showed us the secondary office--it, too, was abadoned. Some strange April Fools joke on the poor Camfel technicians?
We called the office number we had--nothing. We walked across the street to the district office where a woman helped us by calling the office--"Yep, we're here--send them on over"
Strange. We walked back across the street to the high school office again, where we were greeted by a lady who emerged from the darkened office. She explained that at this time of year, the seniors get a little itchy with Senior-itis, and they like to hang out in the school office. So, during lunch time, the office ladies turn off the lights, lock the door, and hide in the back rooms.

So, anyway, we proceeded with our job, with the help of the student council. We got done so quickly and effortlessly, that I was able to get the assistance of one of the guys to come out and help change our tire. It saved a half hour of time that we then wouldn't have to spend after the show.

I was talking to one of the students before the show and asked if anything had happened for April Fools yet. She shook her head and looked at me as if I were turning blue. Apparently, April Fools isn't really a big deal. Kinda forgettable nowadays. Man, I tell you--when I was in school, April Fools was huge. Pranks everywhere. Maybe it's not so popular with this new generation. I suppose that's not an awful thing.

Anyway, we got instructions from our boss to drive to Odessa on our spare and get a new tire. We would have loved to just drive to San Antonio, and get on with our vacation and deal with it when we got back. But we had over 300 miles to go that evening--too far on a spare. And when we get back to San Antonio after our vacation, we'd still have too much driving to do. It had to be done this evening.

Our boss told us that the Sears Auto in Odessa would have our tire and size. As we approached the Sears, we were actually pretty excited about it. It was in a mall, with a Fuddruckers for dinner, and movie theatre... could have been a nice wait. But no. The guy in the shop told us they don't have our size tire in stock. April Fools. But really.. out of luck.
There was a Walmart Supercenter down the road. We piled back into the van and headed over there. They had our tire, fortunately, so we handed them the keys. There was a Chili's right across the parking lot which would provide a nice dinner while we waited. We hadn't even been seated yet when I got a phone call from the Walmart asking us where our spare tire tools were kept. Strange. They're an auto body shop. I would have thought they'd have the tools to lower a spare tire. Whatever. I ran over, fished out the tools from the back (which they had already unlocked and opened), and went back to dinner.

We weren't particularly hungry, but we really love the Southern Smokehouse Burger with triple-thick bacon. Excellent.

We took our time with dinner so we wouldn't have to meander around Walmart waiting for our car. But around 7:00, we decided to head over there. When we walked out of the restaurant, we saw that the garage doors we closed. Upon further inspection, the customer entrance was locked as well.

"Well," we thought, "Maybe they put our key in our van or something." We had a spare key, so we were able to get in the van, but there was nothing there. "Okay, I guess we should go inside." So I go to start the car to drive around, but the engine won't turn over. No, the mechanics left the headlights on, and drained our battery. April Fools.

We walked around to the front entrance, none too happy, and walked through to the opposite end of the store to the Auto Service desk. Strange. The lights were off, there was no one at the desk--even the cash registers were cahed out, open, and empty. April Fools. Now we had no key, no way to pay, and no receipt. And we couldn't just drive away because we also had no battery.

I tried calling the number that called me earlier. Nothing. It's so strange--they had my number, but they didn't call us before closing out for the night. Awful.

Just then, a man came in with his cart of groceries, with the same look on his face as we had when we arrived.
"Are they closed?"
"I guess so.. looks like it."
"What about our cars?"
"That's what we're wondering!"

So, the three of us teamed up and walked out into the store to fin a manager or something. The man introduced himself as Edward. We were encouraged to be with someone in the same boat as we were. Edward found another associate and told him our situation.

"They left and never gave you your keys?"

The associate was just as baffled as we were. But he was very helpful and walked over to the Auto Center. "I think I can ring you up here." Sure enough, he checked us out, and handed us our keys... which were in a pocket with the vehicle information behind the counter. So apparently, anyone could walked around the counter, taken our key, read the information to find our van, and driven away with it. Not cool. But oh wait--no, they couldn't have driving away with it, because the mechanics had drained our battery.

Edward was kind enough to help us out with that. When we had both gotten our keys and cars back, Edward gave us a jump and got us on our way.


We had another four hours left to drive, and it was already around 8:00. It made for a late night, but we were able to look forward to flying out of Texas the next morning.

April Fools day survived.

We stumbled into our hotel late that night, woke up, and met with Jenny the next morning. Jenny is a Camfel contact who selflessly offered to babysit our van for the week, drive us to the airport, and pick us up when we got back. Thanks, Jenny!

Well I suppose that's it. Looks like we couldn't leave Texas without it giving us a little challenge. But New Hampshire gave us something to look forward to. We love being in Texas, but the ability to leave it for a bit--leave the van, leave the paperwork, leave the schools... it's a refreshing thought.
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