Any attempt to hide is stress and fear with his grumbly voice was betrayed by the dim orange glow of his cabin light, allowing me to see his true feelings in his eyes. He asked me what the road ahead was like and I assured him and his girlfriend that the conditions got much better. Which made me wonder: what the heck was I about to drive into?
“Oh man, its treacherous back there! You gotta use 4-low!” The Ranger driver grumbled.
They went on to tell me that the road was rough, the hills were steep and again, I needed to use 4-Low. We chatted for a bit and I learned they were coming from Sloquet Hot Springs and I told them that was my destination for the night. After a “good luck!” and a high-five, we were on our separate ways.
“ACTION!” the director would call out.
“Hey ladies, you know you got a flat?” I would slyly ask, looking through my yellow lensed aviators as I flipped a toothpick in my mouth.
Oh jeeze louise! All kidding aside, I was actually nervous about telling them.
I wadded into the pools and said hello again.
“You know you have a flat eh?”
Bugged eyed, one of the ladies looked at me and said, “Are you serious?”
“Yeah, but I can help you change your tire if you like?”
“Well, we don’t have a spare”
“Sure you do, it’s on the back of your rear door”
“No, it’s flat”
“Oh, Okay.” I said. “Well, depending on what punctured the tire, I might be able to fix it for you. I have a repair kit and a compressor in my truck.”
After a quick inspection of the tire, it had become obvious that my repair kit, or any repair kit for that matter couldn’t help it. A sharp rock had found its way through the tread and the tire had made its last revolutions, well, almost last.
‘Chuck’s Tires. Repairs & Sales. Lot #7 Tipella @ at the 78 km’
Clearly, that’s where we headed. Driving toward Tipella we saw another one of Chuck’s signs and once in the tiny community, we only had to ask one person where Chuck lived.
Upon arriving we were first greeted by Chuck’s dog and eventually we found Chuck. Miss A told him about the situation and he offered to load his truck with tools and gear and drive back to her SUV.
Chuck is a super star. Yes, for being so knowledgeable about tires and wheels and what not, but he is really just a super star human being. He was quickly able to discern that the spare wasn’t holding air because the rim it was sitting on was bent. His plan was to take the spare tire and rim, and the punctured tire and rim back to his shop, put the spare rubber on the good rim, fill it up, return to the truck, put it back on, and be on his way. And that is exactly what Chuck did.
He made no mention of being out in the wilderness without a spare or tools, he offered no advice or life lessons, he just did what needed to be done. And when he put me to work, cranking on the last few lug nuts, so he could chat with the ladies and enjoy a smoke and beverage, I didn’t blame him for a second. One might think that a service like this in such a remote location would cost a few hundred dollars. And my guess is that anyone requiring his services would be glad to pay it. But the cost for all his work... the driving back and forth, the work at his shop and the work at the truck cost very little. Indicative that Chuck gives a damn - about people, about life and about keeping it simple.
I try not to regret things in life, but I will admit, I regret not taking a photo of Chuck’s super simple, blue and white sign nailed to a tree in the middle of nowhere.
Photo by Bryan White.
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