So I'm on my semiregular pilgrimmage to the old country. I had a nice dinner (Italian, tho) with a colleague from Moorhead last night. Got some sleep. Had a nice breakfast thanks to the people at Hampton (let me just say that sausage patties and fresh biscuits are da bomb, nutritionist and endocrinologist be d*mned). Then, somewhere around mile marker 124, my driver's side front tire's tread shredded itself. Quite an adventure.
Cell phone and CAA/AAA memberships pay off big time.
After about 10 minutes on the phone with various AAA people, owing to the fact that I wasn't sure where I was, except that I was eastbound on the I-94 and could see mile marker 124 in front of me, it only took 20 minutes for a very nice man with a bad knee in an old truck to come and change my tire for me (since the last few times I tried to remove a lug nut that had been pneumatized on I almost hurt myself, I thought it better to let a professional handle it). So I rolled another 50 miles or so into St Cloud, MN, on my now (I assume) trashed compact spare, found a Sears Automotive, and arranged for new tires.
Which left me with two hours to cool my heels. And let me just say between the arcade claw game and a lucky break in the mall, I was a very happy consumer. In the sense of acquiring things that were in need of acquisition (including tires) without too much trouble. So all told I was able to roll into the outlet mall at Albertville a little before six and Trader Joe's in Maple Grove about 7 and checked in and safe at the hotel (yay Hampton Inn again) by 7:30. Missed dinner with pal(s) in Minneapolis, but oh well.
Now I just have to find some food and go to bed. Tomorrow is IKEA day, followed by a long drive back to Fargo.