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Google Places and Platypie

Pitfalls of life on the road: occasional postings about problems that can and do occur along the way...

April 16, 2012

Pitfall #1: The Flat Tire

Flat tires we've had a few...  When you get a flat tire in an 11,000 lb. motor home you don’t just jump out, jack it up and change the tire. That just just cannot be done, especially with huge 18 wheelers passing within inches of your disabled home.

Here is how it actually goes:

When you have a flat tire in a large motorhome there is a Really Big Bang...the dog screams and jumps into the front seat and runs back and forth between the two of you while the driver tries to get to the side of the road and slow down. All the while, with an eighty pound collie trying to climb into his mouth.

Thug, thug, thug we pull over to the side of the road. Bernie climbs out to see which tire has exploded and determine the damage.

The navigator, me, starts frantically using Google Maps with GPS on my iPad to locate help. Semis are roaring past shaking Maybe and us to the core. What search word? What words? "Road service-50 miles",  "tire center-30 miles", "service-nothing." Finally, "Tires-6 miles".

A major interstate is preferable to having a flat on a darkening country road with no phone service. While trying to figure out what do do next, you can hear the  banjos start to play.  Oh dear, we're in Stephen King country.

Who do you trust? The dentally challenge guy driving the old pick up truck who offers to lead you just a mile into the woods where a friend has a Big Jack - or the clean cut kid at the service station just off the interstate who sells you watered gas and whose cheapest tires are $312.00 each? Answer? All of the above.

Winter, a year ago, we were on I-90 just south of Lake Erie on our way to Cleveland. It was sleeting with blowing snow. BANG! SCREAM(the dog) NO shoulder... Sleet is tapping on the windshield and ever 30 seconds or so a tractor trailer throws up a huge plume of slush and water on us.

Luckily, the flat was one of the four rear tires and it wasn't banging, so rather than be crushed by a big truck we decided to drive very slowly the 6 or 7 miles to a Dunn Tire Center. It was dark and the store was closed by the time we got there, so we spent the night in their parking lot. A pizza shop was located in the same strip mall and we had a nice bottle of Merlot, so all was well. The next morning we were underway.

Last week, in the dessert, about 70 miles north of Roswell, New Mexico  we had a major blow-out. We had seen nothing but sand, chunks of grass and barbed wire fences for the last hour and a half. Occasionally we would pass an old car or pick-up truck, but there was no real traffic.

Big chunks of our tire could be seen on the road behind us. Our mouthes filled with blowing grit as we contemplated our dilemma.

There was no phone service... and the loose steel belts were slashing Maybe’s underside...Bernie again took his knife and cut off part of the tire and we limped back 8 miles to a rest stop to try and get help.

What a place! A big bull just across one fence, no pay phone, no emergency call box, and nobody... Watching for rattlesnakes (per the sign), we finally climbed a different fence, walked a little way up a hill and got a few signal bars. Many calls for help, but most places had closed at noon on Saturday, which it was. The few that were open did not offer road service so far away. Merde! We figured we could boon-dock at the rest stop for a week, if necessary, since we had just stocked up on food and evening beverages before we left town. Surely the highway patrol would come along eventually...

After a few hours we got impatient, Bernie snipped the pieces of steel that had ripped off our exhaust system, tied the pipe on with a dog leash and we spent the next four hours limping back to Roswell at 15 miles an hour.  After a few miles of gentle thudding, Sully stopped barking.

Roswell would not let us go. We waited several days for the replacement tires to be shipped in, another day for alignment and one more day for the exhaust system to be re-welded. Six days after our first departure, we started north again for Santa Fe.

Farewell, Roswell and your little green and gray people.

Pitfall #2: The Dreaded Scenic Overlook

(Where are the keys to our home and our transportation?)

Not exactly my kind of sport, but interesting indeed... Keep on discovering!


We need these guys in Harlem & Rockaway.


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