ND shoot 4: car-ma strikes again

So we’re up in Devil’s Lake ND, a small town in the north part of the state, and we’re headed to the Indian reservation in our rental van. I’m at the wheel. The roads out here are kind of insane, to put it mildly – think wide, winding, tracts with loosely-observed 55mph speed limits which are, in most cases, buffered on at least one side by water. And also, no guardrails, which is probably why there are so many cars at the bottom of the lake.

Cruising along one such byway at a cool 5 miles over the limit, I look down and notice this odd warning light on the dash. It’s like an exclamation point surrounded by a half-circle. To say that my luck with auto transport is beyond abysmal would be an understatement – I have so many horror stories I can’t even link back to all the “car trouble” entries anymore – and the prospect of being stuck in nowhere midwest with a junked minivan made my stomach lurch. I began to plan for the worst.

The day before, I’d been following our subject, Robin, down about ten or fifteen miles of road made entirely of gravel. Actually, “following” is a clever way to step around the fact that she was hauling around the s-curves like a NASCAR star on uppers, and I, in the minivan, was engaged in a white-knuckled death chase to keep up. I had no idea where I was, my cell phone was so service-starved that it wasn’t even roaming anymore, and if I lost sight of her we’d have been stranded in what is, quite literally, the middle of nowhere.

I think I may have fucked up one of the tires during pursuit, because it turned out that the warning light was some kind of super-advanced “low tire pressure” gauge. Luckily, I saw it just in time to pull into the casino / gas station and stand by, taking pictures, while my compatriots worked their magic on our wheels. A lucky break indeed, because the next air hose would have been here:

Four dollar gas

and I wouldn’t have been too pleased.

“Good work catching that,” Pusser told me later, after we’d dropped Robin off at home.

By this time, it was 10:30pm, and I was too busy navigating the slick black swath of rain-covered road to answer back that I spend most of my time waiting for whatever I’m driving to shit the bed. But seriously? This fucking gravel and water business is total crap. Give me city traffic any day over this treachery – I surrender.

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