Normally I would have been writing my review of last night’s Muna concert at the Anthem. But as I never actually made it to the concert, I will share how I actually spent my Friday night. Right as we were getting off the Baltimore/Washington Parkway onto the highways that run through downtown DC my tire pressure light came on, and I thought that’s not good. It’s not cold out. There’s no reason my light should come on all of a sudden after driving for an hour unless something is actually wrong. I was just praying that we made it to the parking garage we were going to instead of my tire going completely flat or having a blow out on a highway where there is literally no shoulder or anywhere to pull over and is crazy full of traffic. Luckily we made it to the garage, but we were not quite so lucky after that.
I pretty quickly identified that there was a screw in my back driver’s side tire. I’m happy it was sitting right on top and didn’t swind up on the under side of the under side of the tire when I parked where I wouldn’t have been able to see it. While we could have just gone to the concert and dealt with the tire afterwards, I really didn’t want to be down in DC at 11 pm trying to change a tire and then having to drive home an hour after that, especially since I wasn’t sure I would be able to get tire off and then didn’t want to have to wait hours for AAA that late.
So my plan was to miss the opening act, change the tire and get the donut on, and then hopefully make it in time for Muna. My friend who was with me was the real hero and did most of the work jumping on the wrench to get the lug nuts free and then jacking the car up and down multiple times. There was a lot of rust and the tire was unfortunately seized on the bolts, so we could not get it off. This actually happened to my husband and I coming back from a late night flight into Dulles, and our friend who is a car guy recommended taking it off the jack and rocking the car back and forth to loosen it. That worked that time, so we tried that multiple times, but alas it did not work. So we called AAA, who said they wouldn’t be there for 2 hours, which was not ideal. I was also worried about AAA trying to get to us in the back corner of this very low and narrow parking garage with lots of pillars. I honestly have no idea how someone who needed a car towed out of there would ever be able to do it.
Since the Anthem has very limited and crazy expensive parking if you can even get it right near the venue, I usually park about 3/4 of a mile away at a Holiday Inn garage that I can get on SpotHero for $12. We wound up parked right by the elevator from the parking garage to the hotel lobby, so there were lots of people coming and going by us. Some guy tried to stop and help us, but he was not in great shape and mostly just wound up standing around watching us try to deal with it, but I appreciated the thought. Right after we had mostly given up and were just trying to decide if we were going to leave the car up on the jack while we went and waited outside for AAA because it was way too hot in that garage to wait for 2 hours, a huge group of Newark cops came out of the elevator. Four huge guys tried to get the tire off to no avail, and basically told me it was seized, which I already knew and that we were going to need someone with the right tool to get it off. One of them told me since the tire still seemed to be holding air that I should try and take it a fix a flat place or something. I forget what he actually called it, but I didn’t know what he was referring to. He pulled out his phone and found a 24/7 tire place called Mac’s that was only 2.5 miles away. So we decided to take a chance and make our way over there.
I have no idea what is happening in DC or if they’re expecting huge protests over something I can’t think of or what, but something is going on. There were tons of out of state police vehicles parked on the road by the garage, and we had to drive by the Capitol on our way to the tire place and there were just lines and lines of flatbed trucks blocking the road. At first I was like am I allowed to be driving here? Is this some kind of weird trucker protest again for some reason? But then it was eventually clear that what was happening was they were all lined up around the capital with those concrete barricades on their flat beds waiting for a crane to come by and take the barricades off and set them on the ground. Anyway, I’m glad those Newark cops were there for whatever is going on because I never would have come up with their suggestion, and it wound up to be the perfect solution. [Edit: My friend saw a post from her local county Sheriff’s page that solved the mystery. It’s National Police Week and there’s a bunch of events in DC for it this weekend including a memorial cycling thing that I’m guessing is what they were setting up the barriers for to block the traffic from the cyclists.]
After what felt like the longest 2.5 miles drive ever worrying about whether I was going to make it there before my tire went completely flat, we got to the tire place. I had no idea that these kind of places existed. I’m not sure there’s one in Baltimore, but I’m glad there was one near where we were. [Edit: There is one in Baltimore near the prison. I had no idea.] It was literally just one drive through bay lined with tires. You hopped in the line and waited your turn and then when it was your turn you hopped out of your car. They jacked it up and took care of your tire. You paid and were on your way. Or least on your way as soon as soon as the car in front of you was done. They could do 3 cars at a time, but you couldn’t leave if you were done and you weren’t at the front. They got the tire right off with this giant extremely long handled rubber mallet that was bright orange and looked extremely cartoonish. The guy gave it a whack and it popped right off. I got it plugged and was on my way all fixed up for $15 and change. I was very happy to not have to drive back to Baltimore on a donut and then deal with getting a tire fixed this morning.
Although, we were done with all that about an hour earlier than AAA had estimated they arrived, there was no point in trying to make it to the concert at that point. By the time we drove back to the garage, walked to the venue, and got in we probably would have been there just in time for the encore. So instead of going to a concert we drove all the way down to DC to spend hours trying to deal with a flat tire. The friend I was with was the one who got COVID at the Newport Folk Festival last year and resulted in us having to leave early, so we were joking that we’re even now because my flat tire made her miss this concert. Even though I wish we had made it to at least even part of the concert, I’m glad that as these things go it turned out about as well as it could save for us easily being able to get the tire changed ourselves. We didn’t get stuck in any dangerous places trying to change a tire, and got things fixed and made it safely home, which is the most important part.