Rescuing the Red Baron

Rooster and I joined our daughter’s family in the adventure of rescuing the Red Baron. The weather radar showed the possibility of strong storms moving in our direction. #South Bend #Indiana “Red Baron

Rescuing the Red Baron

The time is 4:45 p.m. on a Friday. Fifteen minutes is all it will take for me to be out the door and on my way home. The office phone rings. I pick up the receiver and Rooster’s voice floats to my ear. “Stephanie’s car broke down in South Bend. Everyone is going up to get it. Are you up for the trip?” I started to say, “What do you think. I’m always ready for an adventure?” Instead, I glanced at the radar playing on the television screen hung on the campus police office wall. “It sounds like fun, but we’ll probably get wet,” I said. Therefore, I wondered if rescuing the Red Baron might turn into a fiasco.


At least the radar didn’t show red or purple

Rooster was waiting for me when I got home from work. We met my daughter, her husband, Stephanie, and Grandpa Dave at a gas station at the edge of town. The caravan pulled out on the highway on a rescue mission to save the “Red Baron.” The stranded vehicle was sitting in the parking lot of an auto parts store. The red Plymouth needed to be towed home before the establishment had it removed, or the “Red Baron” would spend the remainder of his days in the city of South Bend’s impound lot if our mission wasn’t successful.


A natural-born adventurer

If there is a gene for adventure in the human DNA, our granddaughter Stephanie inherited a large dose of wanderlust from Rooster and me. I’m not certain if it’s nurture or nature at work here, but she seems to be taking after us in the heading out on the highway looking for adventure state of mind. I know we’ve given her ideas. Rooster and I have been adventure partners since 1974.

There’s not much chance of us stopping any time soon. (At least she didn’t hitchhike home from South Bend like Rooster and I would have done back in the day. I shouldn’t say a word about this because I suspect she will read this blog. All I have to say is she better not try traveling by thumb. Times are different in 2019.)

How her adventure began

The story began with an idea, which sprung up in the minds of her and Gabe. He is Stephanie’s first serious boyfriend. The two of them remind me of Rooster and myself when we were young. They decided to go on an adventure this summer they would remember for years to come.

They loaded up the “Red Baron” and headed for Lake Michigan. (Naming cars is another family tradition carried over to this generation.) They made it to South Bend, Indiana before the car started to overheat. Stephanie managed to pull into an auto parts store’s parking lot before the engine blew up.

The best place to break down

If you’re going to have problems with a radiator, there is no better place to break down than where you can get parts to make needed repairs. Good thinking on the part of our little adventure Padawan. When a journey starts to take a turn for the worst, it’s always a good idea to think fast. Thursday night, her parents made it to South Bend to rescue Stephanie and Gabe. They tried to fix the “Red Baron,” but he needed more work than they could do in the parking lot. That’s how Friday after work became the day the “Red Baron” was going to be towed home.


Indiana road construction

The caravan managed to travel a couple of miles down the highway before we came to a crawl. We have moved into the road construction season here in the Hoosier state. Those of us who made it through the dangers of winter travel and the treacherous potholes left behind by the freezing and thawing process winter weather works on the asphalt. Because of this pattern, we must now endure road construction on the highways throughout Indiana.

The potholes are still plaguing us, but road crews are busy tearing up roadways across the state. It took us an hour to travel five miles. Once we were out of the cone zone, we sailed down the highway at a smooth 65 miles per hour. By the time we reached Plymouth, Indiana, we needed to stop for dinner. We had a need for nourishment after the long delay on the highway. We had to eat fast if we were going to stay ahead of the rain and the approaching darkness.


Trip to South Bend

We travel the last thirty miles to South Bend listening to music from the 60s and 70s. My daughter, Marci, joined us in the Sunshine Mobile. It was brave of her to squeeze into the backseat. There isn’t much room in the rear section of our Chevy Spark. Rooster and I seldom have passengers when we go on adventures. We made it the auto parts store and loaded the “Red Baron” on the trailer in the soft glow of twilight. My son-in-law and Grandpa Dave wanted to get as far as they could before dark since they were pulling the red car on a trailer.

We’d been lucky as far as the rain was concerned. We’d only experienced a couple of drops on our windshield. The guys thought it might be a good idea to get home before it started to pour from the sky. Rooster wanted to continue on to the Chicory Café. It’s one of his favorite coffee shops. Stephanie and Marci decided to join us. Now there were four people loaded into the tiny Sunshine Mobile.  The Chicory was closing when we pulled to the curb in front of their door. We decided to walk around the corner to the South Bend Chocolate Factory.


Downtown South Bend after Rescuing the Red Baron

South Bend’s downtown has an interesting nightlife. The activity we encountered as soon as we rounded the corner was amazing. People walked the streets searching for a destination where they would find something interesting to do. Music flowed through the open door of a bar where adults enjoyed an after-work drink. Teenagers skateboarded the sidewalks. Families strolled the streets enjoying the cool evening. I never imagined there were so many things to do in the downtown area of this city. The South Bend Chocolate Factory was open.

The shop was doing a brisk business. The adults ordered coffee-flavored drinks while Stephanie chooses ice cream. We moved out onto the patio to enjoy the music. A man was there playing acoustic songs from the 60s and 70s. There was a mystic feel to the evening. The magic ended when my daughter got a call from the second half of the twins. She needed to get home to supervise the chaos about to take place at her house. Courtney was off work, and she was going to have friends over for a bonfire. I’m glad all of my kids have left home. The teenage years were a rocky and stress-filled adventure.



I was amazed when only a few random raindrops littered our windshield on the trip home. The massive storm on the radar must have moved around us. My daughter said she enjoyed the music playing on the radio.   Stephanie asked if she could have our playlist. Rooster and I had to admit we didn’t have a playlist. We might not be cool with the technology, but at least we know where to find better music. Rescuing the “Red Baron” turned into a magnificent multi-generational adventure. It’s nice when you have family members partner up with you on a spare of the moment odyssey.



Who is Molly Shea?

Molly Shea is an accomplished fictional short story writer from Indiana, who writes short stories and novels about a fictional town called Tecumseh.  To read more of her short stories and adventures click here.

Be sure to follow Molly on Twitter!

Published by henhouselady

I am the author of Saving the Hen House. I didn't know when I started it would turn into a series. I love to ride motorcycles, the blues, my family, and going on adventures. This old hen rocks.

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