Current Location: Shields RV Camp, Gulfport, Mississippi
Dark and overcast and 70 degrees F at 8PM
It is one of the exciting things about RVing. If you put many miles on the road, sooner or later you will have a flat tire, or maybe even a blowout. Some people swear by pressure system sensors, but my trucker daughter says they cause more problems than they prevent. Talk amongst yourselves on this one, as Bob Mclean of the Caretaker Chronicles would say. Our minds are made up and we don’t have them.
At the moment, settled in to our location for the next two nights, I find I can’t think about anything that happened over the last two days since we left San Antonio except the BLOWOUT! Maybe if I write about it, it will go away and I can think about something else.
We bought 4 new tires for the rig before we left on the trip. The two perfectly fine older tires were from previous years, and we thought things would be OK with them. We still aren’t sure if it was the 2013 tire that blew because it was old or if it was the killer rough road on I-10 all the way through Texas, but either way it got us today.
We had spent a lovely evening last night at Fort Sam Houston State Park in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Traveling east on the Interstate was a mix of smooth here and there mixed with killer rough bumps and potholes that I couldn’t avoid. I was driving.
We decided that it would be fun to stop at the Atchafalaya Visitor Center as we left Lafayette, and as we began the magnificent crossing of the Atchafalaya Basin on the magnificent 18 mile long bridge, we heard a magnificent explosion and felt the bang of hard metal and rubber hitting the bottom of the rig Believe me, that is a wake-up call if there ever was one. We had a blowout once previously on the way to Brookings, so the sound wasn’t new to us and I knew immediately what had happened.
The knee shaking, heart pounding moment was made a lot worse by the 70 mile per hour semis passing us on the freeway right there over the water. I pulled as close to the railing as I could manage, Mo pulled in the mirror, and squeezing along the bridge railing and the rig, she checked under the rig to try to see which tire had blown. Inside rear dually, on the driver’s side. Inches from those speeding semis.
We had great cell coverage, thank goodness, and calling AAA RV was quick and easy. They answered almost immediately. When she asked if we were in a safe place, I loudly said NO! We are NOT in a safe place. That escalated our call to an emergency, and she also asked if we wanted the police to be notified. We definitely did, since sitting there on the roadside on that bridge was pretty scary.
As we waited for help to arrive, we saw that the traffic backup that we saw begin back in Lafayette had reached more than 10 miles eastward. Who knows how that might affect a truck getting to us. A bit later they called again, telling us that they couldn’t do anything on the bridge, and we would have to limp slowly to the first exit.
Lucky for us, that first exit was only a mile from us at the Visitor Center, and with a bit of fear and trepidation, Mo drove the baby car behind me while I crawled along in the MoHo. Lucky for us, the right side edge of the road never thinned so much that I had to slip into that 70 mph traffic at 2 mph.
The other little glitch that was a result of the blowout was that we had no power, either from the generator or from the house batteries. The generator wouldn’t start but things would work if the MoHo engine was running. We didn’t know if there had been some kind of undercarriage damage from the explosive force of the blowout. Knees were shaking and heart was pounding for quite some time after we were safely parked in the visitor center lot waiting for the tire guy.
It took a bit of time, but once he arrived, things were taken care of quickly. He even found where the battery wires had come loose and hooked everything back up. Voila! Power. With a new tire and power to the rig, everything turned out OK. So grateful for happy endings.
I will take a bit more time and write about the last couple of days on the road tomorrow morning. Tonight I plan to drink a shot of Jack and decompress!