wordsfromanneli

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Trouble Comes in Threes

A few days earlier in Great Falls, Montana in -17 C (1 F) temperatures that felt several degrees colder than that, the trailer’s holding tank (at least the outlet) was frozen and could not be emptied. What a thing to talk (write) about!

A couple of days of bumpy roads and warmer temperature fixed that problem for us, as we found out at the sani dump in Omak’s stampede grounds.

While the Captain dealt with this task, I was looking mindlessly at our muddy, tired-looking trailer.

“Do you think that tire looks a bit low?” I asked.

I got the usual (expected) answer. “Naw, it’s just the way it’s sitting.”

Silence…. Then, “Get me that pressure gauge out of the console, will ya?”

Moments later, “Holy sh–!” (Apparently, he still had the holding tank problem [trouble #1] on his mind.) “It’s only 15 pounds!”

(I knew it should be somewhere around 30.)

Several times over the next hour or so, the Captain said, “Whoah, sure lucky you noticed that tire.”  He said later, he  thought we must have picked up a tack on the rodeo grounds.

At the first available gas station we put air in the tire. Then we hurried to nearby Home Depot lot next to Wal-Mart and found a quiet corner to change the tire, which was already hissing out air.

When the Captain got the spare tire off the back of the trailer (first time it had been touched since we bought the trailer), the pressure gauge told us this was something that we had overlooked. It had only 12 pounds of air pressure.

How lucky was it that we had brought this mini compressor along? It plugs into the cigarette lighter and can pump up a tire.

 

In minutes the spare was up to full pressure,

and the tire was changed.

So that was trouble #2 taken care of.

We had noticed more than six trailers and motorhomes in the Wal-Mart parking lot next to the Home Depot lot where we were, so we felt safe enough and thought we would have a quiet night’s sleep.

At about 11 p.m. a small car (trouble #3) came into the lot and parked right up against the back of our trailer. I peeked out through the blinds and the car backed up and pulled out.

My relief that he was leaving did not last long, as he pulled in right in front of us. NOW we were worried. He had the whole huge empty Home Depot lot to park in, yet he cozied up to us. The driver got out and crouched down by his left front tire, hiding behind his open car door.

I suggested that we take off and go park by the motorhome in the lot next to us. The Captain sneaked into the truck and drove, while the dogs and I stayed in the trailer until we were safely parked by the other campers and watched to see what the strange car would do. After a while he left and we could relax.

There is a lot to be said for parking in an RV park, but this time our flat tire had left us searching for a quick place to park and we ended up boondocking in a parking lot. I wonder if the lost sleep is worth it.

Just a day’s drive from home, we had one more calamity to deal with. Next time.


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Deflated

A day to remember from when I lived on the Queen Charlotte Islands.

Women! Listen to Your Man

“Don’t use the truck while I’m away,” he says.

“Why not?” I ask. “My back is a mess from pushing the Beetle to start it every time.”

“I’ll have a look at the Beetle when I get back, but meanwhile, don’t use the truck.”

After he leaves, I grumble. Fine for you to say ‘Don’t use the truck.’  Your back isn’t a wreck. I’m working too. To hell with this. I’m taking the truck to work.

The next day I get dressed for work. I have a 30-mile drive through uninhabited countryside to teach at an elementary school in the next town.  Ah, yes. It’s so fine driving the truck, even though it is an old beater. I don’t have to push it to start it, and the radio works. It even runs quietly because unlike the VW, it has a muffler.  Yes, I thought, I deserve this. I’m working and I deserve this.

But I don’t deserve what happens next.

As I round a slight curve in the highway, the truck wants to leave the road. I fight to hang onto the steering wheel to avoid careening into the ditch. I pump the brake and get the speed down to something manageable. Still holding the steering wheel in a death grip, I manage to come to a stop, just barely off the road, but safely on the shoulder. A quick inspection confirms a shredded right front tire.

Now what? I ‘m about ten miles from town and in the middle of nowhere. I take my school bag, lock the truck, and start walking.

It’s quiet out here on this sparsely used highway. At least it’s not raining for a change. I’ll be late for school. Nothing I can do about that. Maybe someone will come along and I’ll catch a ride. But at this time of the morning, why would anyone be driving this lonely road? I’m having guilty thoughts about using the truck when the Captain specifically said not to. He hadn’t said why though. I thought he was just being chintzy, as the Beetle is much cheaper on gas.

But wait! Do I hear a vehicle? Will it stop for me? I get out on the middle of the road, hoping it won’t barrel right over me. It sounds like a big engine.

Glory be! What comes around the bend but the blessed school bus. The gods love me after all. I jump aboard explaining my near disaster and am delighted to be dropped off at the school steps. I’m not late after all. Everything will be okay.

I phone my brother-in-law, Vaughn, who works at the local garage. He says he’ll see what he can do.

After school, we drive out to the blowout site with a compressor in the back of the garage’s tow truck.

Vaughn pulls up to the back of the truck. “It’s the right front,” I say.

“Well…looks like you have a flat in the back too.”

Vaughn pumps up the back tire, removes the mashed front tire, and has to pump up the flat spare tire before putting it on. He gives me a hug and says good luck.

I drive home praying silently that nothing more will happen. I vaguely remember the Captain once saying something about the truck tires only being cheap retreads. I guess I’ve learned my lesson. My day has been as bad as it can get, hasn’t it?

I pull into the driveway at home and blow out a long breath of relief. I get out of the truck and it seems there’s yet another tire doing the same thing.

S-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s!