Monday, November 16, 2009

The Adventure Begins.........The Road Hits Back...Not Again.........

The Adventure Begins

My mind raced with the possibilities. Was there something endangering my horses? Was my truck or trailer on fire? What........what could be the problem?

I rolled my window down and the man in the car did the same. Then I heard him say I had blown out tire on my trailer. How could this be? This time I hadn't heard anything........nor had I felt anything. How could I have another blow out?

In disbelief, I began looking for a place on the shoulder to pull my rig as I watched Jesse pulling farther away from me. I carefully pulled my truck and horse trailer off the road and onto the shoulder being sure I was clear of traffic. Then I grabbed the walkie talkie Jesse had given me to let him know what had happened.

Now I could see Jesse's rig finding its way to the shoulder farther down the road. Jesse responded asking me if I could get down to where he was so they could help me get my tire changed. If I proceeded slowly, I thought, I just might be able to make that half mile down the road to Jesse without doing too much damage to my rim. I started my truck back up and carefully began creeping down the shoulder.

I hadn't gone far when a truck pulling a red boat whizzed past me. Then it darted onto the shoulder and backed up towards me. A man jumped out, running back towards my truck. As I lowered my window to talk to him, this man asked me if I had a spare. He told me if I'd pull farther off the road, he could change my tire for me.

Then the man moved his rig up farther giving me room to get deeper onto the shoulder. I called Jesse to let him know what was happening as I reparked my rig. Then I saw the man coming towards me with a hydraulic jack in tow. This guy was really prepared for situations like this.

Next I unlocked my tack room to get at my spare trailer tire. There right in front of me were a couple of traffic ones. I've always carried a couple of traffic cones just in case of emergencies like this.However, I've never used them before. I grabbed those cones and set them out along the roadway up close to the line. Hopefully making the passing drivers more aware of the jeopardy of this good Samaritan changing my tire.

Once I finally had the spare, you know, the one I'd just bought the day before at Wal-Mart, dug out from underneath all that miscellaneous horse junk, I took it around to this man. Then I began to tell him about my first blowout and my disbelief at having another. It was then he said to me he criss crosses the country a lot. There's one thing he's learned about tires in this process. If they blow it's usually due to bad stems or aged tires.

These tires had been purchased a little over a year ago so I thought it couldn't possibly be age. Bad stems he said were easy to tell, you could just flick them off with your fingers. But we wouldn't want to do that until we got to a tire store. That was his recommendation. The next thing I needed to do was head straight to a tire store, not just to get another spare but to check out my other tires. If not, I'd surely see another blowout before I ever finished my trip.

When he'd completed changing my tire, I thanked the man. He turned out to be a retired fire fighter. Helping people is a way of life for him. He couldn't seemed to quit even though he was supposed to be retired.

It really wasn't long at all and I was back on the road following Jesse. I called Jesse to let him know what this man had told me we needed to do. Jesse was certain there was a station with tires not to far from us in Kingman Arizona.

It was after hours when we reached our destination. There was a semi truck pulled in front of us waiting for the tire expert to return. The station owner thought the driver of the semi was out of luck but was confident that they'd have what we'd need to get back on the road again.

Even before the tire guy arrived, I noticed that new tire from Wal-Mart seemed to have lost some air. I don't think we'd gone much farther than twenty miles or so but the tire was clearly lower than when it had been mounted on my trailer.

When the tire expert arrived I had come to an important conclusion. I wanted to have two spare tires and not just one. I didn't want to be spending anymore time hunting for spares if I should get into trouble again. Right off that meant at the very least I'd be purchasing two tires and an extra rim.

Then I thought we'd be putting those two new tires on the trailer not to take any chances. Since I supposedly had two new spares on now, that would give me new tires all the way around. I could use the two other tires for spares.

However, the tire expert confirmed the former fire-fighter's beliefs. The tires on my horse trailer, despite being recently purchased were indeed aged tires. Close up to the edge of each tire was stamped a date of 2004. That made this tires five years age inappropriate for a trip such as this. That meant instead of buying two tires, I was no buying four. I could use my two former spares as spare tires again. The odds were I wouldn't need them before I made it home.

Then there was the question of the Wal-Mart tire. It was indeed leaking air. The tire expert believed they had installed a car stem on this tire instead of a heavy duty steel stem intended for trailers. Car stems are only rated to hold 35 pounds of pressure. The pressure on most trailer tires would be 60 pounds or more. Had I tried to run any distance on the Wal-Mart tire, it would have blown too.

To be continued................

The Road Hits Back......Getting By

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  1. I do not know where you purchased the other tires; but I do know why I never buy anything I need to work from Wal-Mart. The place is a nightmare.

  2. Oh wow - what a struggle!

    You and your ponies had quite the trip so far and you haven't even made it to the show yet!

    Hope things improve as the story goes along...

  3. This is the trip from Hell!! But I appreciate you sharing, because I'm learning things I did NOT know, like heavy duty steel stems... I don't think I have those...
    going to be checking my tires tomorrow, yes I am.
    Keep going, I can't wait to see how this turns out. Wowsers.

  4. That's some all around bad luck you were having there. Not a single thing was going right, beyond both Jesse and the retired firefighter being willing to help you. I once had a battery die on me in a parking lot across the street from a WalMart on a Sunday when all other mechanic shops were closed. At first WalMart argued with me that they couldn't leave their shop to install my battery. I had to do it myself. I asked to borrow some tools, but they wouldn't lend me the tools. They said I had to buy them in the store. I was about to cry when one lady took pity on me and volunteered her car and tools to another mechanic to drive across the street and install the new battery. However, they installed the wrong battery TWICE. It took over four hours to get the correct battery installed.