My friends Wing, Fresh and I share a special bond–a friendship based on the foundations of hatred and distrust. That has nothing to do with today’s story–it’s just a fact. Today’s story is about how a moving trip to Seattle was salvaged in the hour of despair.

Some time ago, Fresh was moving from Boulder to Seattle, and Wing and I agreed to help him with the move. A two day drive was planned out that would take us across the northwest United States. I even rented a car to make packing up Fresh’s stuff easier and allow us to more comfortably fit in our respective vehicles. The day of the move everything was loaded up into the two vehicles and we all went out for breakfast to celebrate the start of the journey. After eating, we came back out into the parking lot to do a final check of everything.

Fresh’s car (the jeep) and my rental car (the green Toyota) in the parking lot awaiting departure.

 

Wing, the great sage of materialism, laments Fresh’s excess of worldly possessions.

 

Fresh gives the thumbs up. “What could possibly go wrong?” he thinks.

Before departure we did a brief team huddle. Fresh emphasized that he wanted to get to Seattle safely and without getting pulled over, so he advised going no more than five miles per hour over the speed limit. In retrospect this was ironic because whenever Fresh was driving the lead vehicle we would be burning rubber down the highway. With the final check done, Fresh and Wing got into Fresh’s jeep, which would be the lead vehicle, and I got into the Toyota which would be tailing them.

We are all prone to nervousness and panic attacks. Fresh, however, had a particularly big panic attack when some car trouble jeopardized the whole journey. A few hours into the drive, we were in northern Colorado, not too far from the Fort Collins area. I was in the tail vehicle, listening to an audio book while keeping pace with Fresh and Wing in the lead vehicle. Suddenly, I saw a piece of Fresh’s jeep start to flail in the air and we all immediately pulled over. It turned out that the part of Fresh’s jeep that covers the wheel well on the front passenger side had become detached from the rest of the car and had almost broken off completely.

The damage.

 

Northern Colorado, for those of you who’ve never seen it.

 

Wing tries to pop the piece back into place.

While Fresh flipped out about how we hadn’t even gotten out of Colorado before running into trouble, Wing tried to push the loose piece back into the jeep and I pondered possible solutions. Unfortunately the piece was not willing to stay in place so it looked like we might have to break the entire piece off of the jeep to proceed. It was then that I remembered we still had packing tape loaded in my car, which is quite strong and might be able to hold the piece in place. Putting all my engineering skills into action, I got the tape out and went to work. Since we would be driving at high speeds I knew the front part of the tape would have to be heavily reinforced to deflect wind off of the front of the wheel well area where the piece was most susceptible to coming loose. While Wing held the piece in place I laid down strip after strip of tape, reattaching it to the rest of the jeep. Further along the well I placed more strips of tape that lay flat along the jeeps surface so as not to catch the wind and create drag that would potentially pull the piece off again. After a few minutes, it was done. When we got to a gas station awhile later I took some photos of my masterpiece.

In all of it’s taped glory.

 

I also taped up the other side of the jeep, which I had noticed was a bit loose.

And thus the trip was saved. We proceeded on and in two days reached Seattle. The whole time the tape never failed and Fresh himself told me that the tape is still holding up to this day, even through Seattle’s rain. It truly was the finest hour of that trip.

UPDATE: After a few years in Seattle, the tape finally failed. Still, I think I did a pretty good job.

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