Saving the RV, the Truck, and RVers from potential Disaster

#weekendcoffeeshare

In 2-1/2 months we leave for our second extended post-retirement trip out west. Seven thousand miles in four months with a focus on southern Utah, northern New Mexico, southwest Colorado and northern Arizona. And that doesn’t count sightseeing in the truck.

Given gas prices and my 94-year-old Mom’s health, this may be our last extended trip for a few years. But at 70 years of age, forever isn’t really in our vocabulary anymore (not being morbid just honest).

This trip also made us think hard about tires (not something I normally think much about). I’m more interested in funny stories, bird pictures, and pretty much anything else.

Last year we had two tire blowouts on our 2019 Winnebego Minnie 2500FL trailer. Suddenly we knew that to a large degree, our safety depended on those rubbery round things underneath our vehicle.

Tire blowouts in North Dakota and Florida

Our first blowout was on I-94 halfway between Fargo and Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. It could have happened to anyone, it wasn’t really the tire’s fault. We were moving down the road at a safe 65 mph and a car drove by with the passenger miming EXPLOSION!!!! We didn’t hear anything. Our tire monitoring system didn’t go off. But when we pulled over, one of our trailer tires was completely shredded. Turns out the driver in front of us dropped steel roofing debris from his vehicle.

North Dakota trailer blowout 2021

We were fine. We just pulled onto the side of the road and in about 45 minutes Keith had switched out the bad tire for the spare. (When it comes to cars I am afraid, we are very pre-feminist. Keith fixes them and I feed him in thanks.)

Florida blowout 2022

Our second blowout was on I-75 in Florida. We have no idea what caused the blowout but we heard the explosion (It was a lot more than a pop. These are very big tires.) Again it took Keith 45 minutes to change the tire and we were on our way.

Imagining the worst

This time we really thought about the “What ifs.”

What if we didn’t have a spare?

What if it blew when we were traveling through Houston during rush hour?

What if we were on the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York with no shoulder?

What if we were coming down a mountain in Utah or rounding a hairpin curve with nothing but a cliff on the outer edge?

I scared myself silly. For a positive person, it sure is easy to envision worst-case scenarios.

But that isn’t the end of our tire story. Last week our mechanic (John at Stoney Creek Auto Service in Branford. CT) found out we were going to tow 11,000 lbs up and down mountains in Utah. He strongly recommended we get new light truck tires for our truck. We had to listen to him.

We found John 25 years ago on the Car Talk National Public Radio website. It provided a list of honest mechanics in the U.S!

( Best Car Talk show of all time was when the astronaut had a problem with his vehicle and called in for advice from outer space. But I digress.)

Tires are expensive, but I guess it’s essential we invest in our safety. That is why we’re sitting here in the tire store drinking bad coffee and watching a dopey game show on TV. The monitor says we’ll be sitting here for 2-1/2 hours so it’s going to be a while.

By the way, for the technically minded (Keith) and financially minded (me), the truck tires are Michelin Defender LTX Light Truck Tires. We were told when we tow we should pump them up 7 psi higher than the recommended amount. Cost: $1,293 (ouch)

Next month we’ll get Goodyear Endurance for the trailer and probably drop another $1,500. who says RVing is inexpensive. Not!

17 comments

  1. I wouldn’t even know what a tire was.I don’t even know the plates of our cars anymore. We have kayak racks on top and we drive Alfas which aren;t commonplace. So. I make a lousy feminist in this regard too, although like yourself I’m a good cook. My husband is very into cars and I’m not even really into driving, and that’s where I find liberation.
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can really feel the difference with a good set of tires. You know the price is worth the safety and peace of mind. I’ll be driving to Montan soon and I always make sure my tires are in good condition for those steep mountain climbs. Safe travels!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Pfiddlergal,

    I’m the husband who changes the tires while my wife stays safe in the car, but I long ago decided to try to stay on good tires all the time because (back then) the van we drove was so frequently full of kids and their friends.

    Thus I wanted as few surprises as possible 24×7 every day or night. I’ve been blessed with both a great family and a great job to earn the money for those tires and oil changes and the numerous other steps that cost so much. The result is that we rarely have breakdowns or blown tires.

    Now we’re old and don’t have a van full of kids any more. Now I just don’t want to be crawling around the ground dealing with a dirty tire, but if needed, I keep what I need handy.

    Oh – and if you’re ever looking for some fun short stories to escape the dopey game shows, try this link for a list of very short 99-word stories. If you’ve never sampled them, the’re fascinating – full stories in a ridiculous few words.

    Carrot Ranch 99-Word Story Index

    Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It is very wise to be safety minded. I did so many stupid things due to my lack of knowledge when I got my first RV. Good for you to listen to an experienced mechanic. Stay safe and have fun out there!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your story moved me! Or should I say scared? I am also 70, and we travel less than we used to, but going up and down mountains in AZ. Blown tires can happen! I’m glad you weren’t hurt. Those pictures were pretty graphic! Wow! If you get near N. AZ get in touch with me. Marsha 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Marsha. I honestly didn’t realize how dangerous a blown tire could be until after I blogged about it! BTW I too was a history major. Do students stilnstudy history? Not ebough I am afraid. Thsnks for stopping by.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Very scary to consider, my friend. Students still study history in CA but in grade school it’s combined with language arts. By middle school it is a separate subject.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. My husband changes the tires too but they’re not as expensive as yours! We take a lot of stuff on our cars (and RVs) for granted these days, but sometimes you just have to spend the $$ to have that extra bit of peace of mind. I guess that’s why we don’t travel much anymore…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. RVing sounds a lot like boating; riddled with anxieties and a deep hole to throw money into. It’s better than staying at home. Enjoy the adventure. Be safe out there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so right Antoinette. It is a lot like boating (which I’ve never done but I am parrotting my husband who is very experienced in that area.)I admit it. I get nervous. There are many opportunities to make a mistake. Particularly with long distsnce travel. That said, it is thrilling seeing the country and opening up to new and very different experiences and people. Thanks for dropping by. Our next round of travels begin soon and after 4 months I’m getting itchy feet.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s