We said our goodbyes to the Camp Directors Jenn and Lee and NOMADS Susan and Mike, and got on the road shortly before 9 am yesterday headed to Bloomsbury, NJ where we planned to boondock for the night while visiting fellow bloggers Betty and Dave.
After driving maybe 60 miles and while in heavy traffic on I95 in Connecticut we heard a loud BOOM! At first we thought it was the tractor-trailer next to us backfiring. But immediately realized we had a tire blow out. The tractor-trailer slowed allowing us to pull over. There was no shoulder on the road but for about two feet then a guard rail. The tire had blown so fast the Pressure Pro System gave us no warning. The blow out caused the side of our trailer over the tires to rip apart.
We needed to get out of the road. There was a spot about 200 yards up the road where we could safely pull over. Len slowly drove the truck while I walked on the inside of the guard rail holding the metal that came loose from the rig.
To remove the torn metal, Len started the generator and got out a grinder and cut the large piece off allowing him access to the tire. After changing the tire, we got back on the road. About an hour later we pulled into a rest area and grabbed some way overpriced McDonalds burgers.
We figured we could get to our destination by 3 pm so I called Betty to let her know. At about two ANOTHER TIRE BLEW. Again so fast the Pressure Pro did not give a warning. This time we were on I287 with a wide shoulder. This was the tire directly in front of the previously blown tire. A little more damage was done to the side of the rig. Fortunately both tires were on the same side so all damage was contained.
There are massive holes in both tires.
We were now in a situation with no spare. We unhooked the truck and set off to buy two tires. I put in a search for a Sears in our GPS. She directed us to a location about 8 miles away. NO SEARS to be seen. A little up the road we found a Pep Boys. They do not carry trailer tires. A little more up the road a Firestone Tire Store. They keep no trailer tires in stock - can order one and will get it by Wednesday. They search on the computer to see if other Firestone stores in the area have what we need. NO. They tell us about a tire store about 4 miles away. We go there. It is closed.
Another search on the GPS for a different Sears. She directs us into a residential area on a dead end street. No Sears there of course. Back to the main highway - there is a Discount Tire Store. No trailer tires. They call the nearest Sears for us. NOPE! No trailer tires there either. They call a tire store they know about. No answer.
In the meantime I have been talking to Betty keeping her up-to-date on our situation. Then I get an idea! They have a 2010 Montana. They have a spare! Can we come get it and get our rig off the Interstate? Sure.
It is a 52 mile drive each way. We get to their location at about 5:45. They have their spare ready for us. Back we go. However first we get on I78 near where they are but we head the wrong way. Almost into Pennsylvania we get turned around. We then drive the miles back to our rig, Len gets the spare on and we head back to Betty and Dave's. We get there close to 8 pm. We have now been on the road about 11 hours for what was to be a 3 to 4 hour drive.
We park the truck and rig and open the slides. Betty was outside and said she heard loud noises when the larger slide opened. Later we realized that Len had wrapped bungee cords around the frame and connected them to the remainder of the piece of metal he had left from his cutting. He did this so wind would not get under it and cause further damage. The sound was the bungee cords snapping and breaking. No damage we hope.
Betty and Dave then took our poor souls to dinner.
The day was trying. We are seriously considering if we should continue on the road. We had the accident last year which separated the back end from our rig. Our four original tires on the rig were replaced this year due to either blow outs or they were obviously wearing. The two tires that blew yesterday were replacements we bought in New Mexico in the middle of nowhere when we had a blowout of one of the originals and it was the only tire store in the area.
We've had two very close calls in recent weeks when the drivers decided at the last minute to head to an exit and cut in front of us to the point to avoid a collision Len had to pull into another lane both times hitting the brakes and almost hitting another car. Only because of his driving skill did we avoid a bad accident. Had I been driving, the story would have ended differently. And we have both had to deal with the death of our mothers in the last year.
As much as we love this life style, we don't know if we can continue with our almost constant stress of breakdowns and near misses. It this worth it?
Today we will look for tires but it is Sunday. We don't hold out much hope. We might need to stay put a day or two. Tomorrow we contact the Insurance Company AGAIN.
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