July 28, 1985

Reported by Tom Janning


A famous philosopher, Mr. Murphy, once uttered these words: "If something can go wrong, it will!"

Our Motto:

Let's do something different this year!!

We decided that a visit to an outdoor gambling park would do us all good and enrich our lives financially as well as provide a day of fun. That it did! We all had a great time on the bus going to River Downs. The boat ride was super and the lunch was delicious. The day couldn't have been better.

The horses did not make us all rich, but who cares, we all had a good time. One wife said, "I think I'll bet the Trifecta" with the next question being, "What is a Trifecta"? Some people had a very enlightening learning experience.

Dottie and Bill did a fantastic job of arranging the day so that everyone enjoyed themselves.

We departed River Downs at 6:30, knowing full well we would be back in our little nests around 7:30. There was a. lot of laughing on the bus, particularly from those who were greeted with a cash prize for guessing a winning horse without having to search for an appealing name or "lucky number".

At 6:45 Mr. Murphy decided it was time to strike! Our bus seemed to have a significant loss of air in one of its tires. We told the driver, who did not appear to be aware of the condition, that we had a flat. That was our first mistake.

That's no big deal. People have flats all the time. The thing will be changed and we'll be on our way in no time. Right? Wrong!

The driver can't change the tire. Whether or not that is an allowed activity is academic. We didn't have a jack. That's no problem since all we have to do is call a 24 hr. service. .... Since we have no radio or other- means of outside world communication, one might ask how to do that.

No problem. Another bus from the same company pulls up behind us. They take a few on board with the "promise" to: A) Call for a replacement bus and B) Call for service truck. That all sounds simple enough so what could go wrong? All we have to do is wait a little while.

We all get off the bus to wander around amongst the weeds and jiggers.

New hope arrives in the form of a Deputy Sheriff. This fades quickly as he appears to be quite uninterested in our plight. Maybe we should have run down the highway at 65 MPH to get his undivided attention.

At about 8:00 a service truck arrives. New Hope! Mr. Murphy has been beaten.

Hope fades! The truck is not equipped to handle such a large vehicle. Somebody had told him it was a van with 12 people. Still no replacement bus. We begin to wonder what the other driver told anyone. The service truck driver said Sandy's in Dayton called them. How did Dayton get involved? The presence of Mr. Murphy in our midst was becoming apparent. The same feeling is experienced in airports when flights are delayed for 10 minutes, which sometimes turns into several hours.

The driver goes back for the right truck and tools.

This time Bill goes along in order to acquire rations of an appropriate nature to sustain the group. We are told it is only 20 minutes each way.

We watch the sun set in the west and begin to wonder if we will see the sun rise.

After an hour and a half we begin to worry about Bill but after another half hour we see the big black tow truck and Bill riding shotgun. As we gather around the truck Bill emerges with a big smile, for inside was food that proved we would not starve on I-275. Pop, beer and pretzels were what we needed to light up the night.

But what of the main mission of getting underway? The tow truck driver swiftly withdrew the hydraulic jack. This was more than enough to lift the bus. Mr. Murphy saw we were making progress and felt the need to do something. So he had the service man adjust the valve on the jack. He turned it too far and it flew off. Since it was dark we could not locate it which meant that we still had no jack.

But then, the service man's female assistant appears in her car. She will go get a new jack. She does so while the service man and our driver, with adequate supervision from us refugees, attempt to remove the damaged tire.

Also during this period of high activity our driver removes the "spare" from our bus. Now we are in good shape since the new jack is on the way and we have the spare ready.

Mr. Murphy, seeing all this, becomes worried and decides this is not to be. Someone bothers to look at the spare. It has only four lug holes with the rest being torn out as if in a wreck and bent to a degree that it could never be mounted on the wheel.

Several of us casually inquire how this "piece of junk" could be used as a safety tool. No answer was given. Mr. Murphy is now firmly entrenched.

The assistant returns with the jack but our luck is still holding---it doesn't work either.

It's now about 11:15, and our tour guide goes with the service man's assistant to call the company to find out why the bus, supposedly ordered around 7:30, wasn't here yet.

All of a sudden about 12:00 the tow truck just leaves -- no word -- no fix. Somebody asks what direction the sun will rise.

We are again alone with our bus parts strewn all over the ground along with two jacks that don't work, one blown tire, and one "spare" that can't be put on the wheel.

At about 12:30 the "new" bus arrives and we all wonder what will happen next. They remove the spare from the new bus to put on the original bus, presuming a jack finally arrives.

Around 12:40 we depart on the new bus without a spare but, then again, we really didn't have a spare on the first one anyway. As we pull away we can see a three wheel bus, the two jacks that don't work, one blown tire, one spare that can't be mounted, one spare that might be OK, and one lonesome driver.

We all agreed that if we heard a tire go flat this time we wouldn't tell the driver.

At 1:38 am, we arrive on James Hill and wonder where the bands and ticker tape are. We guess that all of our kids didn't even know we were gone.

Some things to ponder:

  1. During the whole five hours we never saw an Ohio State Patrolman. They were called apparently three times by passers-by. For this we pay taxes?

  2. While this was not a dangerous matter in any way (except for those who walked on the highway to look for cars) we all got to know each other a little better. Since this is our neighborhood group and we don't see each other too often, that, in itself, could easily make this the best outing we've ever had.