Spouse and I were driving home from a meeting in Lansing this evening. Spouse (who has better reflexes and was less tired) was driving my car (which gets better mileage).
Let me back up...
Since I'd been expecting my car to have the interior cleaned last weekend, I'd emptied _EVERYTHING_ from it. Since it hadn't been done yet, I'd not yet put anything back. I sent the spouse mail earlier today wondering if we'd really want to take my car although my full-size spare and my floor jack were both back at the house. We decided that the odds on needing either were low, so we took my car.
On the way home, probably about a third of the way back, about 9:15 pm, something appeared out of _nowhere_ -- I saw White-And-Shiny, and my only pattern match was "Ice?". Spouse saw "Shiny-and-Round" and pattern-matched on "Wheel?". That was probably correct, and since it was coming from the left side, it might have shot off, at speed, from a vehicle going (likely not under its own power!) in the other direction. Before either of us could react -- even to exclaim "what the...!?!" there was a thump and it was no longer in front of us. We pulled off.
The first thing we noticed was that the driver's side door did not open. We piled out the passenger side. After assessing the damage we dialed 911 -- less to get a police report and more to warn about dangerous debris.
Only the front tire was flat. **Completely** flat. We pulled out the donut & the jack that came with the car (neither of which I'd used before) and while I stood in front of the car flashing my bright shirt in the headlights, and keeping a watch for stupid cars, the spouse did the grunt work. At one point I tried to pop the hood, but nothing happened. Either the cable is broken, or it is wedged in a bad way.
About 9:35 another guy in a truck stopped to help. He had a flashlight which helped a bit. He'd probably not been there for 2 minutes when the police officer arrived. At this point the tire was on except for tightening the lug bolts down. We gave him insurance, registration and driver's license, and he disappeared back to the pretty car with the flashy lights. 9:50-something he came back with our paperwork, a business card, and some advice. 9:57 we were on the road again.
The car didn't sound or feel right so we went probably about a mile to a gas station that had air. Sure enough, the donut was completely flat. And the air (that we spent $0.75 for!) didn't help. Question is: Did a part of the car destroy the donut, or was it just not road-worthy after 15 + years of no use. Here is where we noticed the large round mud-stain on the front that made the notion of a wheel more likely, and the fact that the bumper was split and my dealer icon was missing from the front.
I called AAA, spending about 15 minutes on the phone with them. When we hung up they said the truck would be there in 15 - 45 minutes. It was closer to 15. (And since I have AAA Plus, the first 100 miles of the tow were free... and it was less than 100 miles.) The tow truck dropped the car at a tire store (hopefully they can tell what killed the tires) and then dropped us at the spouse's car where we had met before 5 Monday afternoon. I put all the stuff I'd taken from my car into the back, and we drove home -- getting here about 11:45 pm.
I guess today's lemonade is that, since the car was empty (except for the few things I was carrying around -- registration, insurance, snow-scraper, the mail I'd picked up earlier...) it did not take very much effort to empty it of the valuable stuff. But that's a mighty bitter lemonade.
My poor car!