Monday, May 29, 2006

Is That My Wheel?

When we first moved into the house we are living in, I had to buy a fence to go around the house. (In Kavieng, I can buy the fencing and poles. You have to build your own gate and drill your own holes in the poles.) I traveled to Kavieng with two men from the mission work in Sohun to purchase everything I needed for the fence.

The trip there proved to be one of the most memorable trips to Kavieng I have had. The first three hours or so were pretty uneventful except for one flat tire. About two thirds of the way there, the road changes from dirt to sealed. It makes for a nice drive in. Especially after being bounced around on the rough road for the past 3 to 4 hours. Also, when you arrive to the sealed part of the road, you can increase your speed from 3 mph to 50 mph. On this particular day everything seemed as if it was going fine. I did notice, though, once we were on the sealed road that my hood was shaking much more than normal. I did not think much about it, but I should have.

The road is very narrow and very curvy. If you have ever been driving on those old West Virginia roads, this road is very similar. The road is right on the ocean, so it is scenic. Anyhow, as I was driving at a high rate of speed (50 to 60 mph), I kept noticing my hood. Then BOOM my hood flew up! I could see nothing! I quickly slammed the brakes hoping I was not going to smack into a coconut tree or go sailing into the ocean with a Ford truck! My truck came to a stop on the side of the road. We got out of the truck to inspect the damage. The hood was bent pretty good close to the windshield. The part on the hood that latches was just simply worn down from all the bouncing on the rough road. There was no way to use the latch with hood. I had some rope with me. (You never leave for a trip to Kavieng, without rope, tools, two tires, bush knife, duct tape, and Tylenol.) We managed to bend the hood back and tie it down with a rope. It looked very funny, but normal for here!

We then got back in my truck and headed for Kavieng again. Everything seemed to be going just fine. I was driving close to 60 mph, and the rope was holding the hood good. The men and I were just talking and fellowshipping. Then another loud BOOM and the front end of my car dropped. I could see sparks, and what looked like a wheel flying through the top of the coconut trees! It took a lot of my strength to hold the car straight. Had I not had both hands on the wheel at the time, there is no way I could have prevented the truck from turning sharply. I also think the truck would have flipped over as well. The truck came to a stop and I still had NO IDEA what had just happened. Then one of the men with me said my entire wheel fell off. He said it flew higher then the top of the coconut trees! I saw the tire in the air, but it never occurred to me that what I saw was ACTUALLY my front wheel! I got of my truck and sure enough my front passenger side wheel was gone! There was a huge gouge in the road from where the brake drum slammed into the pavement. It was at least 30 yards long. We had to go into the bush and find my tire.

You might be thinking, “Wow, Terry, you must have some gross sin your life, and the Lord is punishing you. First your hood flies off and now your wheel!” The Lord, however, was looking after me!

My truck came to a stop at a dirt driveway. Right in the middle of it! It was the driveway of a tire shop!!!!!!!!!!!! NO kidding! I am not evangaaaaalistically speaking. There are only two or three of these places between Namatanai and Kavieng! When I first realized what had happened, I was wondering, how in the world was I going to get my truck towed to Kavieng!? I still did not realize I was right at a tire shop. Then a man came over and told me my truck had stopped at his tire shop! He quickly examined the damage, and brought over two jacks to jack my truck up. He then took off one lug nut from each of the other wheels, and then put my wheel back on. He said my truck did not have any significant damage from my wheel flying off. He said the wheel fell off because the “starts”, the things you put the lug nuts on, were worn out. I was able to drive slowly the rest of the way into the Kavieng. Not only that, I had no other important parts fly off. :)

When I arrived in Kavieng, I found some used “starts” and then replaced the bad ones with them. I also had the hook for the latch rewelded, so I did not have to use rope to hold my hood down! All together it only cost me about $40! I lost no time with all that happened and was able to keep my schedule.

The Lord is good. When I think of how he looks after my family and I, it is incredible!


Jerry Bouey said...

Praise the Lord, Terry, for His protection and providence!

And some of us live such boring lives...

Good to know He is still in control.

Throwback 13 said...

* When I was a young kid, my parents (Dad was a pastor) took me for an afternoon ride in rural N.Y. state. (This was in the late 40's, back when gas was around 12 cents a gallon.) While Dad drove, Mom read a missionary letter.
* The letter was about a missionary family that could take a boat to get downriver to the city in the summer but drove the ice in the winter to get there. This year they waited until the ice started to thaw and were coming back from their last winter trip for supplies when the ice began to crack all around them.
* I was so scared that I threw myself on the rear floor and covered my ears with my hands. I rode for quite a while that way.
* Finally I uncovered my ears and all was quiet. "What happened?" I asked.
* Mom wouldn't tell me. "You should have listened when you had the chance," she told me.
* I never did find out what happened, but since the letter arrived safely, I assume they made it.
* I am glad you made it.

Terry McGovern said...

Thanks for the comments

I really appreciate the story! Thanks for commenting.