When not in use, our motorhome resides in a storage area at a nearby RV park. It’s just a couple of miles from our house, so no problem getting there quickly to work on it or to break it out for a trip. Actually, we’ve stored our rigs at the same place for nearly a quarter century making us perhaps their most loyal tenant. No discount on the rental fee as yet, however. Gonna have to talk to ‘em about that!
When leaving on a trip our normal routine is to bring our rig to the house and, out of respect for our neighbors, we park it out front for no longer than one overnight so we can take care of all the usual get-ready stuff. You know the routine. Load up, check engine fluids, LP, fresh water, tires, fire up the refrigerator, hook up the car and all that. We like to be ready to go by early morning.
This was our routine just a week ago when we decided to get away for a few days to a favorite resort just 35 miles from home. Although not that far, this trip requires driving on the interstate through a tricky mountain pass involving lots of dangerous curves and grades, and more than its share of speeders.
On this particular day we discovered when checking the weather that 25 to 40 mph gusts were expected along the way. We considered delaying a day, but then decided to go ahead. Because of the wind and an over abundance of rockin’ and rollin’ truckers who like to go faster when it’s windy, we had to take it slower than usual. So it took about an hour to make the trip.
Arriving at the park, we pulled in, unhooked the car and I got lined up to back into our space. With the usual expert guidance of my copilot, I backed in and parked like a champ. Then I got out and prepared to drop the levelers, run out the slide and hook up the services.
Oops, something didn’t look right! The coach didn’t look level. I got around to the front end and, sure enough, the right front tire was looking really anemic and, to our astonishment in a couple of minutes, went flatter than a pancake right before our eyes!
Our first thought was what if this had happened in the pass? That could have turned out very badly!
Having had a couple of nasty blowout situations in the past, both times while underway. Fortunately, both times involved a rear dual. So, we are disgustingly thorough about checking the rubber before hitting the road. We always visit our favorite tire place before every trip.
I guess my purpose in telling this story is to remind everybody that we can never be 100 percent sure about tires. Even a new tire can fail. Or something like this can happen.
After a short prayer of thanks for getting us out of the pass before the tire went flat, we called our emergency roadside service. Ours runs us about $100 a year and has proved to be a very worthwhile investment. A nice young man with his mobile unit arrived in about an hour. It was after dark by now, but he had the right lighting equipment and went to work.
He dismounted the spare from a very difficult place and had the flat tire off and replaced with the spare in no more than a half hour. When we inspected the flat we discovered that a BOLT, not a nail or a screw, but a 3/8-inch bolt had penetrated the tread and caused the flat. But then, we’ve never been accused of doing things in a small way. Where and how we picked up that bolt will never be known, but it just goes to show that, even on a short trip, stuff can happen.
The young man almost got away before we could thank him. He tried to refuse, but we gave him a little something extra. That’s probably not allowed by his boss, but we won’t tell. We told him in the nicest way possible that we hoped we’d never see him again.
We’ve loved having an RV and have been at it for more than 30 years. Our travels have taken us all over the western United States as well as into Canada and Mexico. We started out with a 1970s vintage 28-footer and graduated a couple of times to a little bigger and a little better RV each time. At present we belong to a 32-foot Winnebago Adventurer. Who knows what will be next? Of all our trips, long or short, never has one been uneventful.