An angel appears with the sunrise!
I went back to the batteries and felt the drip - it was thin like water. As I went to taste the liquid to see what the hell it was, a womon rushed over and told me not to do that. Jessie had been drawn to my truck in the middle of the night and was waiting for me to arise so she could introduce herself.
She's a recent transplant to Nebraska and is trying to start a mobile road service and did I want help with my blow out. She offered to take my tire off & put my spare on. Weeellll I don't have a spaare. Then she offered to take my tire off, run it into town, get me a new one, and return & put it on. She peers at the lug nuts and realizes she doesn't have a socket big enough.
Neither do I. I tell her, no worries, I'll drive to town myself but ask her to tell me what she thinks is dripping underneath my batteries. She crawls under and comes swiftly back out. The steel belt from the tire has flipped up and punctured each battery - that's battery acid I was about to taste...grrrrr
She immediately offers to remove the batteries so I won't be a road hazard. As I hesitate, she insists, saying if I drive like this, it will probably burst into flame. In fact, she's stunned that it didn't catch on fire immediately when the tire blew - but it was raining pretty heavy when it happened, so maybe that saved me.
She unattached the batteries and then picked each one up and hauled them off to her truck. Then she had me follow her the 6 miles to the nearest 'town' where there was a firestone dealer with my tire.
My angel Jessie!