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Stories are everywhere, even where your car breaks down

WSU student Jake Trease jacks up his Honda Accord after pulling into a lot in Eureka, Kan. The incident led to a story about a coffee shop called the Jar, across the street. (Photo by Jessica Craft)

My group left Rosalia Ranch after lunch with one mission: coffee. We were tired from a long morning of interviewing and taking photos. We took off down the dirt road, toward civilization — or at least a caffeinated beverage.

I thought it was just the dirt road, but when we hit pavement, I knew it was my car. There was a rattling that put vibrato in my voice and made me worry my car would fall apart.

I pulled over, almost into the tallgrass, fearing a blown tire. We examined the car as the cows looked over from their barbed-wire fence. My tires looked fine, so we trekked on.

We made it all the way to Eureka, about 20 miles away. When I slowed down at the city limits, the vibrato-voice came back and I pulled over again, this time outside a local salon.

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Micah Wickline, left, owner of the Jar in Eureka, Kan., makes coffee for Flint HIlls Media Project team member Jake Trease on June 13. (Photo by Kevin Brown)

When we jacked the car up, our group member Kevin instantly knew what was wrong: a broken CV joint on the drive shaft.

I didn’t really know what that meant, but I knew the implications: we couldn’t get home. Luckily — at least, given the circumstances — our original mission was just across the street.

We called project instructor Amy to get a ride and I called AAA to get my car towed home. In the mean time, we walked across the street to a place called the Jar to get some coffee.

We found a lot more than coffee.

On the window, there was a sign that said “computer repair.” I figured the coffee shop shared space with a computer guy and didn’t really think much of it. Until I met Micah Wickline, who makes coffee, repairs computers and sells vitamin supplements on the side.

A full story can now be found on Micah Wickline and the Jar, which probably never would’ve happened if my car operated, as it should have.

What this project taught me, more than anything, is that there are stories everywhere, even right where your car breaks down.

I was always bored with Kansas, thinking there was nothing here for me. Now, I know there are rich stories behind every door — around every corner. All you have to do is look around and slow down.

— Jake Trease

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Wichita State University student Jake Trease watches as his Honda Accord is loaded onto the tow truck. Trease and his team were covering stories in Beaumont, when his car started giving him trouble. They made it to Eureka, before it broke down. (Photo by Amy DeVault)