Life on the bookmobile is a bit different from the other JMRL branches. We all have our ups and downs, our good days and bad, but there are some situations one only encounters out on the road.
One of the scariest breakdowns on the bookmobile happened when I was headed north on Rte. 20 from Scottsville and a tire blew! I was tremendously lucky to be near one of the few side roads that turns off Rte. 20 and was able to wrestle the bus to the side, out of traffic. The first step in any breakdown is to call the guys at the City Yard, the wonderful mechanics who do all the maintenance work on the library vehicles. Billy told me to hang tight and he’d get the tow truck out ASAP. I confess I got out of the bus and climbed the small rise, to be out of the way in case anyone happened to sideswipe my 9-ton, 28-ft vehicle. Billy himself arrived in the City truck just before the tow truck guys. Billy took one look at the normal-sized tow truck and told the young men “It’s not big enough.” They reassured him it would be all right and proceeded to maneuver the front end of the bus up onto the support bar. I climbed into the City truck with Billy and we fell in line behind the tow truck hauling the bookmobile, forming a strange parade traveling slowly up Rte. 20. Billy just kept shaking his head and muttering “It’s too small.” We all put on our blinkers as we approached the turn onto Avon St Extended. The tow truck executed the turn, got partway through it, and we heard a loud “thunk” as the support bar under the bookmobile bent! Fortunately, Billy was able to get his truck onto Avon St behind the other vehicles. He told me to stay in the truck, grabbed his orange vest and moved out to direct traffic around the stuck vehicles. (Any of you who’ve ridden that route know how sharp that turn on Avon St is!) The young guys called their office and asked for the BIG tow truck – which happened to arrive coming down Avon St toward us and needed to turn itself around. There was much shuffling, trying to get the vehicles out of each other’s way and get the bookmobile disengaged from one tow truck and lifted by another, all on the two curvy lanes of Avon St. I just stayed out of the way, figuring that was the best way I could help!