Traveling for any extended period of time requires faith, hope and trust. Things can break, illnesses (ours or the dogs’) crop up, plans change and so on. We’ve had a few minor ups and downs that increased my respect for people who live on the road full-time. You have to develop a low adrenaline response to problems, or you’d get an ulcer. Last Sunday morning we drove to Monument Valley without incident, into Goulding’s Campground which is directly across from the valley, up a hill and between two buttes. We missed seeing the first speed bump which was more like a butte than a bump, and WHAM! It felt a little like we went airborne for a second. We went over the others OK, and pulled into the site. We set up camp, took a walk, drove down to the visitor center and all that first day on site kind of stuff. We came back to make dinner. When we walked up to the coach, Ben noticed it immediately. “We have a flat.” Sure enough, one of the back tires of the Motorhome was flat as a pancake. Cue the ominous music and darkening skies.
Motorhome tires are huge, the size of semi tires. There are two on each side of the back axle. The outer passenger tire was flat. You don’t just whip out a scissor jack and get the spare out of the trunk, and there certainly aren’t donut tires for RVs. You have to call the heavy movers. It’s times like this you wish Superman would swoop in and rescue you. Well, we don’t live in Metropolis, so the next best thing is roadside assistance. The AAA for RVers is Coachnet. A call to Coachnet, and we filed our first ever claim. They had to find a place that had both the heavy equipment and the right size tire in case our tire wasn’t repairable. A $700.00 tire wasn’t a part of the original travel budget, but that’s life. I went in, started dinner, and we waited for Coachnet to call us back with news. I had a big glass of wine and Ben had a beer–we have learned that adult beverages are most helpful at times like this.
Monday Coachnet called and had found a company able to help that was two hours away in Cortez, UT. A few hours later Donovan showed up from the Redburn Tire Company. Donovan checked the tire, believed it to sound and decided that the problem was a likely a loose valve extender. Because there are two tires on each back side, it’s common to add extension valves to make it easier to put air in the second tire. He pulled the big tire off with little effort, inspected it carefully just to make sure there was no damage or leaks. He swabbed the tire liberally with soap and joked that “Now this is the cleanest tire in Monument Valley.” He made some adjustments to the offending extender piece, pumped up the tire and we were back in business. He also checked all the other tires and extender valves. Our bill for service–$0.00. Cue happy music and sunshine breaking through the clouds.
Ben chatted with Donovan, learned he is Navajo, that he had never been to Monument Valley until he came to our service call. He and Ben chatted about cars (what else?), we made him lunch, thanked hm properly for his service and then sent him on his way. Superman never looked so good.