The days of the on-air puzzler are long gone, more’s the pity. No more listening to Ray try to get through a sentence while Tom helpfully interrupts. I was nostalgically going through some of the old puzzlers on the site and one of them reminded me of an experience I had. This is 100% true, no obfuscation needed.
Back in the summer of 2017 I was in California with my 21-year-old daughter. We’d flown out to visit my mom after my dad died. The plan was to drive back to Kansas City with some of the bulkier aspects of my inheritance–paintings, statuary, engine blocks… that sort of thing. So we rented a Kia Sedona (Tom: Is that important? Ray: No. It could’ve been any vehicle big enough to carry their crap. Tom: So it had to be a big vehicle? Ray: Only to carry the stuff. For puzzler purposes it could’ve been a Mini Cooper. Tom: Ah, ok. Ray: Can I continue now?).
We rented a Kia Sedona and loaded all the stuff in. We bought supplies for the trip–bottled water, beef jerky, couple of bags of potato chips, chewing gum, the extra big bottle of Filippo Berio Olive Oil… the usual–and we set off.
We took I-70 through the Colorado Rockies and it was just gorgeous. We were driving past Vail, about 2 miles above sea level, and marvelling at the beauty around us. Grassy slopes, crystal clear streams, rugged rock faces, two or three deer running up one of the hills. Beautiful. Then all of a sudden… boom! It was a muffled sound, not too loud from inside the car, but you can bet it startled us.
“What the heck was that?!” I asked.
My daughter shrugged.
A few seconds later… boom! Same sound. We were worried now. What was going on? The van was running perfectly. The engine sounded fine. The steering was fine, the ride was smooth, and we definitely weren’t feeling the tha-bump tha-bump tha-bump of a flat tire. No warning lights were going off. Still, I was looking for the next exit and thinking about pulling off to the side just to give the van a walkaround and maybe stare at the engine like I knew what to look for.
Before I did that, I had a brilliant thought. I told my daughter to check something for me. She did, confirmed I had correctly diagnosed the problem, and we kept driving without worries.
What did I tell my daughter to check?