First, I inspected the tire to find the culprit -- it all came down to a tiny piece of glass about 1 - 2 mm in diameter. It had gotten lodged in the tire and had worked its way through the tire until it finally punctured the inner tube.
Next, I got the tire pulled away from the rim with my tire lever and removed the blown tube. About that time, a family in a minivan happened by and asked if I needed help. They even offered to put me and my bike in their van and take me back to Coffeen, a town I had passed through about two miles back. A little unsure as to whether I would need help or not, but also not wanting to delay them since I guessed by the way they were dressed they were on their way to church, I said I should be OK and if I need help I would catch a ride with someone else. They said OK and drove away.
I pulled out the replacement tube and blew a little air into it to give it some structure so it would be easier to install it between the rim and tire. I was working on threading the stem into the hole in the wheel's rim and about that time, the same family pulled up, coming back from Coffeen (I think they must have gone into town to get some gas). They asked again if I wanted help and this time, I accepted their offer -- the last time I put a tube in between the tire and the rim, I ended up tearing the tube!
So with their help we got the tube in, aired it up as best as we could with my mini pump, and parted ways. I told them thanks and God bless them. What a great show of kindness from strangers. I turned around and headed back to the start point for a total of 35 miles.
A snippet from today's reading from Romans comes to mind:
The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness;Indeed, the Spirit was looking out for me today!
for we do not know how to pray as we ought,
but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.