Friday, July 6, 2012

2012 Southwest Vacation Day 21

On our second day heading home we had our one and only camper mishap.  We came back onto the interstate after getting gas with the temperature between 95 and 100.  Our kids had just gotten huge slushy's, and our truck air conditioning was oh so cold.  Suddenly there was a loud bang and our truck jolted around the road.  Liz could see our camper literally bouncing on the road and things flying out the back.

I slowly eased off the road, and sure enough -- we had had a blowout.  Unfortunately, it took part of the bottom of our camper out as well and we lost a bunch of our supplies and cut wiring within the camper.  Fortunately we had a hydraulic jack and a spare, so I set to work.  The next 90 minutes was a huge comedy of errors.  Take notes folks, and learn from my mistakes.  Remember the kids were all sitting in the air conditioned car with huge slushies-- watching the movie we put on for them.

1.  It took a while to get the jack to work.  I finally read the directions and bled off the excess hydraulic fluid.  Jack worked great after that.
2.  I jacked the camper up, and went to loosen the lug nuts.  Loosen before jacking up.
3.  I let the tire down, loosened the lug nuts, jacked the camper back off and pulled off the tire.  I went to put on the spare -- but it wouldn't fit.  I needed to get the camper up higher
4.  I let the camper back down.  Huge mistake because I couldn't get the jack underneath to jack it back up again.
5.  I got the tire jack and slowly started cranking up.  After a while, I realized the camper had it's own leveling jacks and  could use those . I finally got the jack in place and got the jack to it's maximum height -- the tire still wouldn't fit.
6.  A policeman finally pulled up and offered to help.  He was really great, and I was grateful.  I finally used the leveling jacks again to get the camper up higher, and the policeman slid the tire on.  We tightened the lug nuts, and he told us to drive slowly and get more air in the spare.
7.  We drove about 5 miles to the next filling station -- when I went to put air in the tire I couldn't find the valve stem.  It took me about 60 seconds to realize the patrolman hat put the tire on backwards!
8.  :This time it only took about 10 minutes to get the tire off and back on properly.

So we spent the night on the eastern border of Iowa in a motel and got a new tire the next morning.  I drank about 8 sixteen ounce glasses of pop for dinner that night!  I was seriously dehydrated.

We made it home without incident, although the repairs cost a few hundred with most of the costs covered by the warranty we had purchased.

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