Travel Escapades

Leg something of the trip. Jane drove from Ann Arbor to Geneva. Too many hours, but no major issues. In a largish SUV. The vehicle size was required by the continued moving of Dad’s belongings from his old house to others. In this case to Ashlan and Allen. Two boxes, two paintings, a Schotz clock, and a poster tube. Jane’s condo has a few more clear square feet.

AirBnb 2 – Geneva version. Geneva, New York that is. We had 8 of us, at least for one night. The first night had 5, the last 4. Such are the vagaries of folks schedules and work demands. But we all managed to convene about an hour before the main event.

Happy family snuggle
Grandpa Carl and Corwin
Aunt Ashlan
Allen helping Carl with his tie

The main event was the marriage of nephew David and Maren. Maren’s family is in Geneva and it was a lovely area. Most of the festivities took place in the Cracker Factory. Which had actually been a cutlery factory, but cracker is an easier sell.

The kids, Ashlan, Allen, Rey and Becca

The ceremony was very nice, not too long with meaningful messages in their vows.

The happy couple, Dave and Maren. I sort of stole this picture by happy accident.

First time for a long time we got dressed up. In retrospect we didn’t stop to take pictures of ourselves. But the shoes, see prior blog, were a hit. Many pictures were much better than mine.

The shoes

Many meet and greets, with food. Lots of new faces, and a few old ones. I do believe my Dad, at 94, the groom’s grandfather, was the oldest in attendance. Maren’s grandmother was there, but I think she was younger. At the very least, younger looking.

Our final meal together was pizza from some recommended restaurant. It was good, and tasty, and New York style. And then it was time to fit all of the things from Harry’s into a different car, a Ford Fusion to be exact. Luckily, Ashlan and Allen did not have much luggage and it all fit.

We left with my phone doing the navigation duties. Apparently the phone decided we should avoid tolls and took us through the finger lakes area, then Pennsylvania, eventually New Jersey and finally NYC. By the time we were in Jersey, we had accepted the slightly shorter route with tolls. The route was generally acceptable, expected duration of 5 hours.

The actual duration ended up around 8-1/2 hours. The fun started when we entered Pennsylvania on I-81 South. The dashboard lit up with a low tire pressure warning, and while 3 tire’s had pressures in the 30s. The right front tire was at 23. Then 22, 21 and dropping. We exited into the Great Bend Welcome Center rest area, and set about trying to get a fix. It was about 7:30 PM, and dark. Checking the tire, they could hear air escaping from the side wall.

Scene of the split

Allen started by calling the Thrifty (you get what you pay for) rental agency to request roadside service. The extremely unhelpful folks said we should see if there was a spare tire, but the small donut spares are only good for 50 miles. We were 165 miles from NYC, and would have tried to slowly stretch the mileage. Recall that we had completely filled the trunk… Carl and I vacated the back seat and it was filled with the boxes and suitcases. Of course it was raining, just a bit at this point.

After digging to the bottom of the trunk we discovered ………. no spare! Not even a small one. Just a package with some air, or goo to put into the tire.

The rental folks said no one would be able to help us until the morning, because their nearest service centers were closed for the evening. Instead they suggested we call a Walmart with a tire center. We did try, but Walmart’s tire center is also closed Sunday evening.

At the same time Allen was leading the rental agency charge, I was calling AAA. The Washington office finally got me a number for the Pennsylvania office. And they finally answered to try and help. I explained the situation in general and said we needed to figure out how we could get towed to a tire center… This was going okay, until I mentioned it was a rental car. AAA will not tow rental cars. She actually stayed on the phone while I was checking to see how Allen’s efforts were going. Not well as it turned out. I asked my helper if she thought other towing company would tow a rental car, and she gave me the name and number of a local 24 hour tow company.

Brent, of Vanteger Towing, to the rescue. He arrived at the Welcome Center about an hour after we called, put the car on the back of the truck, fit all of us into his truck, and drove to his repair yard. AND most importantly, he had the right size tire to replace the flat. There was a slice in the sidewall, near the top, and that is not repairable. Finally, after a 2-1/2 hour delay, we were back on the road again.

They have a tire for us!

We finally rolled up to the apartment building at around 1 AM. Safe, in one piece and with all of the luggage having been loaded, unloaded, loaded and finally unloaded for the shuttle run to get from the street to the lobby, lobby to the elevator, into the elevator, out of the elevator, and finally to the door and into the apartment.

Allen had demanded the rental car outfit give them a credit or free rental, especially after they offered no solutions and implied we would just need to spend the night where we were. In the Welcome Center. Dropping off the car this morning, there appears to be a significant credit, but not enough to cover the $250 cost of the tow and tire.

Allen had to work today, but after returning the rental car the rest of us slugged out until the afternoon.


Carl finally rousted us up for a walk. Ashlan led us to the Long Island City waterfront, and through the park. On the way home we stopped at Trader Joe’s to shop for dinner fixings and other necessities. Carl managed 2 bags and Ashlan and I 1 each for the 10 block walk back to the apartment.

View of Manhattan
The Chrysler Building and others
NYC family with Theo as king

Dinner is on the way, mmmm. Spaghetti.

2 Responses to “Travel Escapades”

  1. Margaret Says:

    Your photos are wonderful (how old is Corwin these days?) but your road trip adventure isn’t to my liking. However, it DID work out, thanks to the kindness of a stranger. What a mess though! I would have been furious.

  2. RegenAxe Says:

    The picture of Becca, Corwin, and Rey is delightful. C looks like he’s listening for a double heartbeat! (The other pictures are also great.)

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