Sunday, November 02, 2014

My Expensive Diet Dr. Pepper

My Expensive Diet Dr. Pepper

I've grown to love large Diet Dr. Pepper from convenience store fountains.  So this afternoon, I was out picking up Warner for Senate signs for election day in the back lot at Salem's Mill Mountain Coffee and Tea.  After collecting my stuff, I decided to cruise down Main Street to the Sheetz on West Main for my Diet Dr. Pepper.  Gas prices have been tumbling, so I noted that they had their regular unleaded at $2.59 (and 9/10).  So I decided, what the heck, I'd go ahead and fill up!  Then I went inside for my fountain drink.

Drink in hand,  I pulled over to wait in line for some free Sheetz air. That's a great thing about Sheetz.  When you need air in your tires, they don't charge you.  However, the machines are quite busy.  I was the next one up, so I wouldn't have to wait long.  The guy in front of me was taking a LONG time, but I waited patiently.  No worries.  I had my Diet Doctor and the Skins were playing well on the AM radio. Sonny was being prodded every now and then to speak up, and he'd say something insightful like, "He's short (of the first down)."  Sonny talking would actually be a great drinking game if I drank, according to Carter Turner. 

While in line, I saw the Sheetz car wash and realized that my blue party van was soiled.  I made a mental appointment to drive around back after I filled up with air.  No worries.

The guy finally finished after about 15 minutes, and I waited patiently for him to get in his car, talk to his wife, start his car, talk to his wife, put his car in reverse, realize I was behind him, put his car in a forward gear, creep ahead enough so that I could almost pull up to the hose. Eventually, he was clear!

I primed the hose and began inflating.  I suspected that my air was quite low since cold air tends to lower pressure.  Sure enough, the gauge said I was about five pounds low,  but the machine was seriously laboring at inflating.  So after about five minutes of inflating one tire,  I gave up and headed for the car wash.

I love automatic car washes,  but I should have remembered that this particular wash didn't do a very good job at washing.  It was quite effective at splaying colorful suds over the entire exterior,  but as for real cleaning, it left a lot to be desired.

But that wasn't the worst problem I had.

As I pulled in to the bay,  I guess I lined up my minivan wrong,

and I mostly missed the sensor cradle that begins the wash.  So I backed up and turned my wheel to see if I would slide in.  I felt the car slide into the slot with a rough clunk.

Minutes later, when I exited the bay, it was obvious, I had popped my left front tire.  So I wobbled the car over to an empty parking area next to the Sheetz and began  switching out the deflated the Cooper CS4 Touring tire.  Sidewall punctures are not repairable.  So during this most busy week of the year for me,  I will be shopping for two new Cooper CS4 Touring tires.  At about $120 a pop, my Diet Dr. Pepper has become quite expensive.

Which reminds me,  please vote Tuesday.  Don't let my financial loss be in vain.