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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

First flat on the road and it wasn't even my fault!

We have a list of places we want to visit and things we'd like to see.  We fiddled around with our schedules until they clicked at the same time and we were off to Branson, MO. for our first visit.

I always get the motorhome ready the day before, bring it home from the storage lot and plug it in to cool down the 'fridge.  I also check over all the fluids and the last thing I check before we pull out is the tire pressures on both the motorhome and the toad.

We left after everything was checked and tires were topped off to the correct pressures.  It was going to be a great trip.

Several hours later, we stopped at a Flying J to fill the gas tank.  There was a long line to get to all the fuel pumps and this Flying J was an older one, with no separate RV pumps like most of the newer ones have.

We didn't care, we were not on any schedule, there was no time pressure for a change.  It was a nice feeling.

I pulled up in line, picked the farthest lane to the right to try and make it easier for the many cars needing gas.  I waited as the two RV's in front of me filled up and pulled away.  Finally it was my turn, so up I pulled.

My gas tank fill was on the left side.  I hopped out the right side door and walked back around the toad and then up the left side to the pump.  There was a line of cars at each pump and a couple behind me.  The car right behind me had a bunch of college aged kids in it and they were complaining loudly about the wait, probably for my benefit. 

I moved as fast as I could and as soon as I finished I climbed in my driver's side door.  I always do a walk around and look at all my tires and tow hitch, but I didn't this time because I was trying to be considerate and drove off  to not delay any of the cars behind me.

We just started down the road and a car pulled up along side us beeping their horn.  I looked over and the passenger was pointing to the back of our motorhome.  Not knowing exactly what was wrong, I quickly drove off to the shoulder and got out to look.

The right rear tire on the toad was almost flat.  I was glad the nice people in the car had alerted me, because I might not have noticed it was low on air until it blew out and did real damage, or even caused an accident

We slowly pulled off the road at the next exit and found a safe place to change the tire.  I put on the tiny doughnut spare.  We checked in our Next Exit book and found a Super Walmart at the next exit  (no pun intended) where we could get the tire fixed.  I looked and couldn't see any reason for the loss of air.  No nails, screws or holes.

We got to the Walmart and I took the tire into the Tire shop.  The tech put the tire in a water tank after filling it with air and with both of us looking at it, we could not find any hole or leak causing the flat.

I was quite puzzled and didn't know what to think.  As I looked out at the motorhome and toad, I noticed the right front tire was low, too.  I went out and checked the tire with my gauge and it had only about 15 psi in it instead of the correct 35 psi.  I was really puzzled for a couple of seconds until it dawned on me.

When I had been fueling up, the kids in the car behind me let air out of my tires to get back at me for taking so long and causing them a short delay. I couldn't see them from where I was pumping the gas and Marti never stepped out of the motorhome.

 I should have ignored their loud complaints and done my normal check, I would have caught the low tire before I pulled out.  But since I was trying to be the nice guy and rushed my routine, I drove off and almost had a real problem.

I proved my theory by filling my tires to the correct air pressure and checking them repeatedly for the next hour to be absolutely certain before we pulled out.  I checked them again and again the whole way to Branson and had no further problems.  In fact, I never had to add air to them again right up until the time they wore out.

Now, no matter what, I double check everything every time I stop and before I roll again.  It boggles my mind that those kids, because they were impatient, would vandalize my tires like that to "punish" me for taking up a few minutes of their time.

It was a minor issue that could have been very bad, but we didn't let it ruin our trip.  We had a blast, saw a bunch of great shows and really enjoyed the show put on by Yakov Smirnoff!

Thanks for visiting and please feel free to leave a comment.


  1. That is just horrid for them to do that!

    I read on rvnet a while back about some kids had pulled the pins on a toad and hid in the bushes to see what was gonna happen. The owners had been in a restaurant and did their usual walk-around before leaving. They luckily saw the missing pins and were able to replace them with some spares. WOW! And the kids ran off, giggling and laughing at them. If I had 10 minutes alone with them and paddle strap, they wouldn't be laughing much longer!!!

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

  2. I double check all my pins, too and even carry several spares. I used to lock the pins in until I saw a picture of a MH that caught fire and the toad went up too. They had locked the pins and when they bailed out of the MH, they left the keys in it. A double loss.

  3. You might want to consider a tire pressure monitoring system...we wouldn't be without ours!

  4. Just caught your blog via Bayfield Bunch and wanted to thank you for your story and heads-up on such things. I would never have thought anybody would do such stuff...I shouldn't be surprised though. Sure am glad you caught things before something horrible happened.
    We also have the tire pressure pro system. Love it.

    Safe travels!
    Mike & Gerri (happytrails)

  5. Good advice both the walk around and Donna's about the monitoring system. We wouldn't be without our Doran!

  6. Those kids are seriously rude!!! Too bad you didn't catch them in the act. They would have had a big problem then!