Friday the 13th….and a Bonne Terre Scuba Diving Trip (Part I)

I thought concerns about Friday the 13th was only for those superstitious type.   Normally, I’m not one of those, but this past Friday the 13th may have caused me to rethink my position.   The plan was to leave the dive shop (Adventure Scuba and Snorkel Center) around 9 a.m., and then have about a 10 hour drive to Missouri for a weekend of scuba diving at Bonne Terre Mine.   Unfortunately, the Friday the 13th gremlins had other ideas.

When we made the plans, I was told we would be taking a “bus” down.  So, I envisioned a charter bus scenario with rows of seats and a smelly bathroom in the back.  I must admit I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the ride we would have for the trip to Missouri.   Technically, it wasn’t a bus.  Instead, it was a moving home!  An RV to be exact.  There were couches, a bed in the back, satellite TV’s, beers in the fridge, and quite literally tons of food.  Anything from fresh fruit to pizza’s that could be cooked on the road in the microwave.  Of course I couldn’t resist, and immediately texted my friends and rubbed it in a bit while they were toiling away at work.

With the ample space, everyone’s scuba gear and luggage was packed away nicely underneath and in the car we were towing behind.  There was 10 of us in all, and everyone was ready for a fun weekend of diving.  It was about 9:30 by the time we left the shop, so things were off to a great start.

Then, as luck would have it, about 15 minutes down the road, we heard a loud ‘pop’ followed by the smell of burned rubber and the sound of tire parts banging the roadway beneath us.  Right away, we knew we had a flat.  Luckily, we were near a highway rest stop, so we safely pulled off the road.  Of course, we light heartedly made jokes and it didn’t take long for the Friday the 13th discussion to come up.  Bob, the owner of the RV, immediately contacted his insurance company.  We were told it would be a couple of hours before somebody could make it out to us.  With that, there wasn’t much option but to go ahead and crack open a couple of cold beers.  “It could be worse!”

As promised, Progressive Insurance had us on our way in a few hours.   We didn’t feel it was a big deal, and just chaulked up the experience as part of the adventure.

We were finally getting some road between the shop and us, and the scenerey began flying by without notice.  Before we knew it, about 3 hours of the 10 hour journey had passed.  Then, the Friday the 13th gremlins struck again.  “Bang!”  Another loud noise and again the smell of burned rubber and the noise of more tire parts slapping the highway beneath us.   What are the odds of 2 flats in one trip?  We tried to calculate that, but being scuba divers instead of mathematicians we gave up quickly.  Whatever it was, the odds were slim.

Again, Bob contacted Progressive Insurance.  This time though, the wait wouldn’t be just a few hours.  Instead, we had to wait over 4 hours.  Again, we joked about it being Friday the 13th.  Travelers in a RV, on our way to a great weekend getaway, and broke down on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere.  The only thing that was missing was the axe murderer chasing us in the dark.   Of course every time anybody left the RV, one of the rules of surviving a scary movie was broken:  Never, ever, ever, say “I’ll be right back” because you won’t be.

Needless to say, 4 hours later (give or take) we were back on the road again.  Thankfully, the remainder of the drive was uneventful.  Admittedly, things could’ve indeed been worse.  I can think of worse ways to be broke down on the side of the road.  At least in our case, as mentioned above, we had couches, a bed, tons of food in the fridge, and of course beer!  We made the best of the situation and still had a lot of fun.  The only side affect we had was turning what was supposed to be a 10 hour drive into an over 16 hour journey.  By the time we reached Bonne Terre we were ready for some sleep to prepare ourselves for the scuba diving ahead!

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