More Vehicle Misfortune and an Angel on a Motorbike

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Thailand Fly & Drive – Part 29

So yesterday, on the way to Mae Win, we had visited the workshop once to fix our undercarriage. Today, from Doi Inthanon on the way back to Mae Win, misfortune struck again. It was mid afternoon, and we had wanted to visit one of the many elephant camps around Mae Win before the sky got dark.

I admit, I was in a bit of a rush in my driving, because I wanted to make good time. I was happily driving along the same roads which I had driven the previous night in pitch darkness with no issues. I got a little bit too overconfident.

As I was passing an oncoming truck, I drifted a bit too much to the left along the country road, and both of the wheels on my left side, went a bit beyond the edge of the road. As the wheels slid onto the embankment on the road, we hear a loud crashing sound of the wheels scraping the side of the embankment, which was a little steep at that point of the road.

The sound woke all my passengers up from their slumber.

Thankfully, I managed to retain control of the car, but immediately things sounded very different, and I’m very sure that I have a flat tire. I continue driving slowly until there was a place to pull up safely at the side of the road,

I got out of the car to look, and sure enough, my front left tire was completely flat. Bummer… I guess that meant no more visit to the elephant camp for the kids.

After changing the front left tire

We got everyone out of the car and I proceeded to get the spare tire and the jack out to do a tire change. Over the past few years, I’ve had the frequent experience of getting flats on my own car back home, so I’m pretty clear in my head what to do in this situation… except that I forgot to loosen the four screws before jacking the car up.

Silly me… I then had to jack the car down again, loosen the screws, and jack it up again before removing the screws and swapping the tires. At this point, I see that there is a huge hole in the inward facing wall of the tire. It must have been punctured as it slid down the embankment. I screw in the spare tire and started to jack the car back down.

Yesterday, I benefited from the help of kind Thai workers who helped with my undercarriage. Today, another Thai guardian angel appear out of nowhere on his motorbike, and started to help me jack the car down and fasten the four screws.

Gratefully, I accepted his help and went back to place the damaged tire back into the boot of the car. It was a little bit hard to fit it in because the damage tire is much bigger than the spare.

I wanted to thank the guy for his help and to give him a tip, but before I could offer it, he just zoomed off in his motorcycle after finishing with the screws. What an amazing soul… he didn’t need any thanks or reward. My faith in humanity is restored. Whoever you are, wherever you go, may God bless you and your family, and may your kindness be repaid many-fold!

We decided to go straight back to our guesthouse at Mae Win. After settling my wife and kids back into the room, I went to find help from the lady staff that spoke perfect English.

I explained to her the situation and she patiently listened to me relate the whole situation. She helped me call the car rental company to find out what I should do about the flat tire situation. We had a long day of driving ahead the next day to Chiang Khan, and I hoped to get the car sorted out before the morning.

I was instructed to take the car to the nearest partner service workshop at B-quik Hang Dong, which was about a 30 minute drive away.

After reaching the workshop, the staff checked out the tire and as expected, the hole was too big and the tire could not be repaired. The workshop staff called the rental company again on my behalf. In the end, the instructions were to wait for the representative of the insurance company to come and interview me and to take a look at the condition of the tire.

My rental car at B-Quik Hang Dong

It was about a 2 hour wait at the workshop. Eventually, the insurance guy arrived and I was interviewed. He asked me how the accident happen, and I told him the whole story. When he was satisfied, the workshop quickly got the tire changed and I drove my way back to Mae Win in the darkness with a feeling of relief. Workshop visit number 2 done…. little did I know that there would be more to come!

I think I’ve come to prefer night driving. More scary but less eventful… 😛


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