Vagabond in America 2016 travel blog

Remains of my tire

Damage to my RV

My next jump started extremely well. I was up at 6:30, hitched my RV to my truck and was on the road by 7:30. My earliest departure yet!

All was well until, all of a sudden, the traffic on the Interstate came to a complete halt. Not a crawl, like you'd expect during rush hour, but an absolute stop. I waited for a while and nobody moved. There was a light rain. I assumed that there was a major accident ahead. I don't yet have a CB in my truck so I couldn't listen in on the trucker's conversations. I tried calling 511 which often has traffic info but Arkansas doesn't support it. I tried "traffic conditions" on my Sirius XM/radio, but they didn't include Arkansas. I tried the local radio stations but no mention of a problem. I just had to wait.

I could see the next exit ramp. It wasn't far. So, I pulled into the breakdown lane and traveled to the exit.

As I've seen many trucks do, I pulled slightly off the road onto a dirt area next to the exit ramp and parked. I started up the generator, turned on the A/C in the RV, and moved Pooka's carrying cage into the RV. Then, I settled into a nice nap. It's great to have a full bedroom when you need one!

Half an hour later, I woke up and checked out the highway. Still nothing moving! Glad that I wasn't still sitting in traffic. Decided to have an early lunch, check my email and relax.

Another half hour goes by. I looked back at the highway. Traffic is still at a standstill. Lots of 18-wheelers are now leaving the highway and passing by me on the exit ramp. OK, there's a major problem up ahead.

I decided to follow the truckers. With that many, somebody must have heard something. I touched my GPS screen and selected its "detour" mode.

My new route was surprisingly pleasant. A nice scenic drive on a US highway that parallels the Interstate.

After I saw all the truckers turning back onto the highway, I canceled the "detour" mode on my GPS. It found a nice route that took me directly to my next planned stop without going onto the Interstate. I filled my fuel tank and rejoined the highway.

All was well in the world! Well, at least for a while.

While crossing a bridge, I heard an enormous blast. Looking out my rear-view mirror, I saw large chucks of tire exploding into the air. Houston, we have a problem!

Fortunately, my truck handled perfectly. If I hadn't heard or seen the tire explosion, I wouldn't have known there was any problem.

I cautiously pulled into the breakdown lane, put on my 4-way emergency flashers, and took a deep breath. At least I'm OK and the truck is OK. Now let's check out the RV.

One of my trailer's tires was completely shredded. Hardly any of it remained. There was a deep dent in the siding of my trailer just past where the tire had been. OK. Bad, but not horrible.

I called the 800 number for the emergency RV road service, which I'd had the foresight to purchase long ago. The operator took down my information and put me on hold while she contacted the local road service company. Twenty minutes later, she came back on the line, apologized and said it would take still longer. Half-an-hour later she called me back with the promise that a repair truck would arrive in another half hour.

I called the campground, told them I might be late, and requested detailed arrival instructions in case the office was closed when I got there.

The repair service arrived as scheduled and, within 30 minutes had my spare tire mounted.

Off to the campground! Total delay 2 hours 10 minutes. Not great but not bad either.

Despite having lots of time on my hands, I neglected to take photos at the time. Took these pictures much later.

I managed to reach the campground before dark and pulled into my reserved site. I asked some of the neighboring campers to help me back into my site and had them watch as I open the damaged slider. No further issues! Excellent.

As the sun slowly sank behind the Ozark Mountains, I sat down and took another deep breath! Safe!

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