One long day

My legs are shaking like a leaf.


Now that the 2.5-hour drive on a donut tire and through a blinding snowstorm is over.

A day spent ghost-towning — mostly fruitlessly — lasted three hours longer than it should have. When I jumped back onto the Trans-Canada Highway, exiting the former town known as Alderson, I heard a pop and felt my truck start to vibrate badly.

I turned down the stereo and heard the telltale ‘flub-flub-flub-flub-flub.’

Any number of expletives were whispered to the sky as I bashed the back of my head off the headrest.

And a recent conversation I had struck me.

“What do you mean you don’t have AMA? The way you drive around the country, there’s no way you shouldn’t have it.”

“Nothing ever happens to me.”

Famous last words. Or maybe I forgot to knock on wood.

Whatever happened, the luck of the Irish escaped me on St. Patrick’s Day.

I called my friend Belinda, wondering if she had any suggestions.

As brilliant as she is, she said call Alberta Motor Association, tell them your situation and ask them if they’ll sell you a membership over the phone.

Here’s the number.

Oh, and don’t forget to act pathetic.

Me? Pathetic? Act?

Pshaw. I was born to be on stage. I can cry on command.

Turns out, I didn’t even have to. This happens all the time, said Siobhan, my calm, cool and collected customer service specialist from AMA. She said she’d take my details, send the truck out and then┬ápass me over to membership to sign me up for a year.

Easy peasy. Michelle from membership was equally as awesome.

And so I sat on the side of the road, 37 kilometres east of Brooks, waiting for my AMA guy to show up. He was there 45 minutes later and, inside of an hour, I was on my way home.

In the meantime, two fellas stopped to offer their assistance. I thanked them kindly and sent them on their way.

It’s just another day in the School of Hard Knocks.

But it is the kind of day that makes me appreciate my friends — the smart ones, the ones who worry about me, the ones who text me and make me smile through the rougher patches in life.

And the ones, like My American, who will talk to me while I sit on the side of the road.

(Um, I shouldn’t need to mention that he’s actually all of the above, too.)

It also makes me appreciate technology, because 15 years ago I might still be on the side of the highway. That was, of course, before I got my first cell phone.

None of this will stop me from ghost-towning in the future. Jumping in the truck with Shep and my cameras is the best way to spend a Saturday.

It sure as heck won’t make me any less fearless when I jump in the truck to head for a Spokane weekend next month.

After all, I have my smartphone to keep me in touch with everybody — from text to Twitter to Facebook and phone call.

And now I have AMA, too.


  1. I am glad you are okay, being stranded sucks. But, then again it was only a tire?!? Am I wrong thinking that it’s a basic skill? That said, I once had to saw the bolts off my wheel to get a flat off so i should clarify not complicated flats I can change no problem the rest AMA to the rescue. They also work wonders when you lock your children in the car lol.

    1. Spot on, Nicki. It is only changing a tire. I mastered that skill when I was living in Newfoundland. I’d loan my Sunbird to a friend and somehow she always managed to flatten a tire. I eventually figured out to just stop letting her drive my car.

      In any case, there are two reasons I couldn’t do it myself yesterday. I couldn’t get the spare off. The spare on Ford Escapes is suspended by a wire and the release requires some deft manouevring of a tire iron into a key hole on my bumper. The AMA guy said ‘yeah, this system is stupid because the key seizes up all the time.’

      And the traffic on the TCH yesterday was vicious. Even though I was pulled over well onto the shoulder, people were screaming by me, semis included. For 45 minutes, until the AMA guy got there, I was terrified that someone was going to slam into me.

  2. Sorry to hear about your flat tire. That is always a fear of mine when I strike out alone. About those “famous last words” you mentioned though? I had also noticed the tweet previous to your flat tire tweet: “Military training along the highway? Sounds like a good place for my hot single friends to get a flat tire.”

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