Wednesday, September 3, 2014

It was bound to happen sooner or later

During the three years we've been on this RV adventure, our tow car has had two flat tires. But we've never had a flat on our motor home. Until yesterday.

We were driving south on US 395 in Washington State, when all of a sudden the metal grill on our cook top started rattling like crazy. That grill is the noisiest part of of motor home when we're on the move; for the most part, however, we've figured out how to silence it. But it went nuts.

Jim also heard a quick "thump, thump, thump" and said "I think we've got a flat."  He slowed  way down, hoping the road was just rough. Going slow didn't help. The thump thump just got slower.

While Jim was still driving I walked to the back of the rig to check the tow car. It looked good and so did the tow car's tires, so we pulled to the side of US 395.  A quick glance at the rig's tires told us the passenger-side outside dual was not happy.

We slowly limped about three miles to the nearby town of Eltopia, Washington, and Bev called our RV insurance company which includes road service. This is the first time we've used Foremost Insurance's road service and they were great. The agent stayed with me on the phone while we got to a safe place, immediately texted what road service company would help us and the time they would arrive, and checked back to make sure assistance appeared as promised.

The guy who showed up (in just 30 minutes) was great, too, but rather ill prepared. He didn't have an assortment of lug nut wrenches to remove the tire, he didn't have tools needed to remove a dual, and he didn't have air in case our spare was low.  But he stuck with it and after a lot of kicking, maneuvering, jerry rigging, and help from Jim, he got the flat off and the new tire on -- and fortunately our four-year old spare had air.

Next stop was Les Schwab in Kennewick, WA, where we got a new tire because the old one is toast.  

Last year when we traveled south on US-395, our tow car battery died as we got to Connell, WA, the first town north of Eltopia.  We are now calling this area the Connell-Eltopia Triangle.
Jim pulling the spare out of our storage compartment.  It was buried beneath lawn chairs, tire covers, a rug and sundry other items that are now in our tow car.  
Waiting to be swapped: Spare to the left, flat to the right.  The flat does not look that bad because it's being held up by the inside dual tire.

Waiting for road service:  While waiting, the white car to the left pulled in and parked next to us, then another car parked in front of us.  It was creepy and Bev told Jim to get the bear spray -- but apparently both drivers were picking up people who had car pooled to work.
Road service guy and Jim work to get the tire off.  Jim was rolling the spare into the flat to try to dislodge the bad tire. 
The cause of the flat.  Obviously we hit road debris, although we didn't feel the hit.