I’m here at the Washington State Democratic Convention located in Spokane.
The drive out to Spokane from Seattle is roughly a straight line east that takes about 4 or 5 hours depending on weather, traffic etc. I decided to road trip it mostly because it’s a beautiful drive and 90 through the cascades is one of the more excited stretches of interstate in the Eisenhower system. Tight, coiled curves with a posted speed of 60 and sometimes 70mph. Outstanding for the Benz. After that it’s mostly long stretches through the eastern Washington "desert" (it’s a dry climate for sure but its not a desert like you normally think of one) to Spokane.
Unfortunately in the middle of that drive, almost equidistant between Seattle and Spokane, in the middle of nowhere, I blew out the right rear tire. It wasn’t like a normal blowout when you know it happens either. I didn’t really hear anything but was driving along and felt an odd vibration in the wheel, and I couldn’t tell if it was just the road or me, it was so slight. I looked in my rearview to notice I was spewing run flat material to the road from my back right side and I could see smoke. So I immediately pulled over and sure enough I’d shredded the tire. According to the GPS I was 11 miles from the nearest exit with any type of services. Luckily I was only 45 miles from an exit that had a Mercedes Benz service center. So I hit the little wrench button on my dash, spoke to a rep who dispatched a service technician.
Meanwhile I stayed in the car and twittered my misfortune and called Rochto to let her know what happened and that I was ok.
I shit you not, a tumbleweed drifted by.
I sat there in air conditioned comfort watching it roll by in the wind while I listened to satellite radio, sipped bottled water and twittered on my phone. Truly we live in a marvelous time, a golden age of technology and convenience.
After a while I started to feel like a complete schmuck. I got to thinking about lamenting my misfortune when I’m fortunate enough to have the access to technology and services that meant I could goof off looking at a pretty god damned beautiful part of the country, when any other normal person would have gotten out and changed the god damned tire themselves. So I hopped out and moved my luggage from the trunk to the back seat and proceeded to get out the mini spare and equipment. I was looking for the mini-lugs the spare used when the technician arrived. He got the mini on while I cleaned out the run flat and shredded rubber from the wheel to put it in the trunk.
Once we got the mini spare on and checked the car for any other damage the dealership couriered in 2 new rears to a local tire service center at the last exit so I wouldn’t have to travel the 45 miles to the dealership on a mini spare at 50mph. (thanks to one of my followers on twitter we had already arranged for them to be ready to put the tires on when I got there) and within about 2.5 hours of the blowout I was back on the road. It’s weird to think, but I was stuck in the middle of nowhere, and thanks to having a GPS, Smartphone, and locater service built into the car the overall inconvenience to me was pretty minimal. It was cool getting to use all those services that I take for granted, but the underlying feeling of kind of being way too privileged stuck with me. Just a few years ago I would have been making that 11 mile trek in 90 degree heat to get help if I had not have had a spare, etc. I started to feel even more elitist when you
think about the China Earthquake victims or the poor people in the Midwest being killed by tornados or flooding.
So I rolled into Spokane about three hours later than I intended, which meant I missed out on the treat I was most looking forward to upon arriving, a sandwich from one of the few remaining Schlotzsky’s deli’s in the Pacific Northwest since their bankruptcy 3 or 4 years ago caused almost all of them up here to close. Ah well. Chalk that up to the awwwww poor baby column.
I checked in and headed down to Spencer’s for a beer and some goofing off online. Spokane gets a bad rap, it’s actually a nice enough place and very close to Coeur d’Alene which I think is a really incredible place to visit. The convention is held at the appropriately named "Convention Center" downtown and the next 2.5 days mostly represent meetings and workshops before I cast my delegate vote for Barack Obama and end my part in the primary process. As Internet access makes itself available to me I’ll post more pics and blog entries. But I’ll also be twittering from my phone through the time as well.