Friday, June 29, 2012

The not so great day

The bare and empty garage, everything is moved out.

One last look at the homestead before leaving.

Yesterday we began our trek out west.  I received the word from my employer to head to Colorado for a job.  We left later in the morning due to waiting for a flat tire on the trailer to be repaired and remounted, but we got on the road bright eyed and raring to go.  Most of the day went great.  We headed out of Indianapolis smoothly and even made it to Illinois before needing to stop for lunch.  The kids were well behaved, stayed busy, and napped for part of the time.  So, a grand time was being had by all, giving me reassurance that we will be all right for this initial trek out west.

And then we went to stop for fuel.  This is what happened as we were getting off of the interstate and pulling into the station.
Tire? What tire? We don't need no stinking tire!
Umm, actually we do.
So I had the pleasure of pulling off this piece of work and putting on a spare in 110 degree heat.  Thankfully I parked the RV so that this was the shady side, but the pavement was still at egg frying temperature.  Soon enough I was at this point...

...which got us back on the road and on our way.

Too bad that wasn't the last of our issues.  As we were crossing I-270 over the Mississippi river, we heard a loud noise, and in our paranoid state thought that it was another tire blowing.  Thankfully, all tires were intact.  The downside was that I could no longer get the truck to shift past third, and it was hurting pretty bad.  We have come to find out that it is the intercooler next to the turbo that blew a cap.  yay.

I immediately pulled off at the next exit and parked at the first spot I could find, which turned out to be a post office.  We called in for our tows (needing the RV towed to a campground and the truck to a dealer) and decided to camp out in the post office to wait.  The lobby was 24 hour, so we knew we had a cool place to sit and wait.
The tow trucks picking us up.
Being a hot and busy day, the tows took almost 2 hours to get to us, which we spent the time on the phone calling campgrounds, dealerships, membership services, car rentals, and taxi services, trying to get ourselves set for the night.  Stephanie and the kids accompanied the RV to the campground in a taxi while I rode with the truck to the dealer to leave it there, then caught my own taxi to the campground.  I showed up just after the RV was setup; thank you to several kind 'neighbors' for helping make that happen.

We were able to bed down for the night and get some rest.  Lord knows we needed it.  We awoke this morning to my phone ringing.  The Ford dealer was calling with information about the truck.  So, now that the dust has settled, it appears that we are in St. Louis for the weekend.  Parts won't be available for them to work on the truck until Monday.  Time to get a rental and do some sightseeing!

While it is easy to get really cheesed off with all of these things happening, to ask why is this happening, things were going so well, I do just have to sit back and laugh.  We are making memories.  We are building character.  We are flexible.  No, we won't make it to Colorado for my start time on Monday.  But I am not in control.  I would love to think that I am, but I am not.

It is in these situations that we are reminded that God is in control, and while we may get caught up in the big things that are going wrong, I have to keep my eyes open to see God in the little things.

  • We are in a big city where resources are plentiful and repairs can happen quickly.
  • We didn't break down in the middle of nowhere.
  • The gentleman who brought our kids snacks while we waited in the post office, just because.
  • The two tow drivers who were so flexible and helpful, waiting for us and letting me sit in the truck to wait for my cab.
  • The guys who helped Stephanie set up the RV quickly, since it was dark when they pulled in.
  • The KOA who, despite being booked solid, held a site for us (for 5 days!), with full hookups and in the shade.
  • The 'neighbor' who, seeing that we were scrambling and struggling, gave us a pack of hotdogs, buns, and chips so that we had dinner last night.
  • Another 'neighbor' who loaned us their car so that we can run to the store and get some groceries and such.
  • We had the truck towed to a dealership, which after calling around, is the only one who can get to it ANYTIME next week, and for the best estimate around.
  • And the myriad of others who have had some hand in getting us to where we are at.
I will also take the opportunity to plug travel and roadside insurance.  Between AAA, Good Sam, and others, the only costs that we will have to pay are the truck repairs.

I have to say that we are not in what we consider to be an optimal situation, but this is what you have to be ready for when you head out on an adventure.  Expect the unexpected, stay flexible, and make lemonade.  A lot of lemonade.  Thank you for your prayers and support, we will now commence some unplanned sight seeing in St. Louis.

Any one up for meeting me? (gotta end on a joke).


  1. "Expect the unexpected, stay flexible, and make lemonade." Sounds like a great tagline for your family adventure!

    Sorry to hear about the troubles, but also love seeing how you're being taken care of.

  2. So I can't help but notice that your truck and your trailer are both mounted with 8-lug wheels. Do they have the same lug pattern? Do they have similar load rating requirements for the tires? I know it might be too soon to think about a nice match set of 8 tires and rims, but having a few interchangeable spares might be an unforeseen blessing further down the line.

    I also would keep one of those bicycles road-worthy just in case you need to ride a few miles for assistance during one of your future unplanned adventures.

    1. We'll see, Wes. We are, however, replacing all 4 tires on the RV, so that if it's an age/wear issue, we should minimize our risk of another blowout from the same cause.
      We definitely keep the bikes road-worthy, but hope to never need it for such a purpose! The intent is for them to be used for pleasure! We'll utilize our roadside assistance as much as possible, when the need should arise! :)

  3. After 10 of these kind of flat tires where one of the wheels even got all bent up, we finally replaced all 4 with "real" tires. I think maybe "ST"..something other than trailer tires. It stinks having to replace all 4 at the same time, but since they were a different kind of tire, you can't replace one at a time. Soooo much better though. So glad you figured it out earlier than we did! It's these kind of situations that your kids will remember how you react when the going gets tough ;)

    1. Good to know! We have Goodyear Marathons now, but the history on our RV is that it was purchased in 2010, driven 10 miles or so to a campsite where it sat until it was picked up this spring and driven 10 miles back to the dealer for resale. Great news on all other fronts that it was so lightly used and only had 20 miles on the road, but in hindsight, that plus 115*F temps yesterday probably meant no good for the tires. Lesson learned. Good Sam extended warranty will reimburse for the blown out tire, and we'll buy 3 more to match just so that we can minimize the risk of another problem in the near future.

  4. So sorry to hear your move is off to a rough start! Glad to see you have found wonderful "neighbors" to help you and that there are still good people in the world. May the rest of your trip go smoothly.

  5. Thank you! People have been wonderful, all around and I am humbled by the generosity of others--in ways that I'm sure seem small to them, but have been huge to us!

  6. The midadventures are not always fun, but what a powerful reminder (to yourselves and others) that God is with us in all circumstances! Glad you are safe and sound! Enjoy St Louis! I never got to explore it much but I had a layover as a flight attendant there and the crew hotel looked out on the arch -I'll never forget that view!