“Blampff… thud thud thud… “ As we drove through the tightly barricaded, construction muddled highway, our front tire split in two. With no place to pull over, we crammed into the off-ramp median. “This is bad!” I said as we came to an unsettling stop.
Besides having the AAA roadside assistance card, we didn’t have much of an emergency plan.
The driver side mirror of the RV dangled over the white line. Semi trucks scraped by, jarring us side to side. It was clear that no tow truck could pull into this tight, slice of holy shit pie we’d got ourselves into. We’d have to change the tire right here.
Our spare tire sits behind a bolted shut tire cover, our two locked bikes, and a customized bike rack. Only Houdini himself could find the scattered keys and wrenches to unchain the spare under pressure and in the nick of time.
With our side compartments flung open, toolboxes and travel gear unfurling out onto the pavement, it looked as if we’d set up camp in the middle of the interstate.
Removing the shredded tire was the most demanding part of our tire rolling, tool-juggling, never-ending sideshow. We jacked it up and began tugging on the lug nuts, which cast us into roadside purgatory. Without resistance we were going nowhere.
The tow truck driver arrived and schooled us in the tire removing sequence. Jacking the Cheddar Yeti up only after he removed the lug nuts. Blocking the tire and so on. “This is a bad spot you know.” He said with a punishing tone.
As soon as the tire was changed, the police car that had been slowing oncoming traffic, nudged us back onto the road. Inside the RV, our bikes, the shredded tire, our loose tools, the cat, and ourselves reluctantly regained ground. Hoping we had gathered all the pieces, parts, bikes and BBQs before leaving. As we pulled away, not bothering to look back, we agreed that IF there would be a next time, then we must have a plan.
Our tire was old. At this point the Cheddar Yeti still wore the tires that were on it when we bought it. Since then we have driven it over 23,000 thousand miles. They looked all right but how do you really know? We’re still not sure if it was an aging tire or something in the road. Even new tires can blow due to debris, so you should ask yourself; “Am I prepared for a flat on my RV?”
Making A Plan:
- Assign each passenger a duty. Who will call Road Side Assistance? Who will begin removing the items in the way of the spare? Who will secure the pets? Who will place the flares?
- Know where your tools are & make them easily identifiable. Which tools take off the bike rack, the spare cover, the spare tire, the hub cap and the lug nuts. I’m thinking of spray painting them gold and writing inspirational verses on them.
- Do a dry run. Practice changing your rigs tire BEFORE it really happens. It’s different than the car you might be used to.
Safe travels to all of you!