New Wheels and Tires

With plenty of miles for the seed to germinate, we considered all conversations we’d had with people about wheels and tires.  We seemed to have the luxury of time, since it didn’t appear they were needed immediately.  Little did we realize there would be two blowouts before we arrived home, with the last, three miles from our destination.  There was no longer any need to mull the decision over.  By that time, it had been decided to make a change from 15 to 16 inch wheels, as well as better quality truck tires.  See:  Beginning and Ending-Awning Repair and “Sploding” Tires.    We ordered aluminum wheels from Treadit, found Michelin tires to fit, along with installing a tire pressure monitor system.  We don’t want any more surprises!  There was no need to “put a pencil to it”, knowing the cost of this upgrade would save us the costs of (now needed) repairs, which piled on every time there’s been a problem with a wheel or tire.  Also purchased were Centramatic wheel balancers, which seemed ingenious once the video was viewed.

There was a question about who to have install these for us, since they were an on-line purchase, and not a common solution to wheel balancing.  The young mechanics at Sears seemed excited to see these and install them for us, and they were anxiously waiting for us when the Airstream rolled in.  Once the installation was complete, they said, “If you have anything unusual like this again, please come back; we’d love to work on it!”  How nice these days to see customer service providers genuinely happy to add something new to their job description.  Thank You Shelly for helping us schedule this, and Tyler and Dan, for being excited about learning something new.  Your attitude ensured you have our future business.

While in Jackson Center, the other thing we picked up at the Airstream Factory was a new key chain, to replace the old one which had…lost a tire.  It wasn’t clear to either of us exactly when that happened, only that it was around the same time we had to replace the wheel that had sheared off all six of the bolts.  See:  Remodeling the RollingSilver2ndHome.  We both thought once the improvements were installed, the key chain should also reflect the change.  It’s funny isn’t it, that the wheel was lost on the same side of the key chain, which went missing on our Airstream.   The day the tires were installed, Better Half came in and made the change Immediately; switching the keys from the Airstream with one wheel, to the Airstream with two.

The tire on the key chain was missing around the same time as the tire on the Airstream. Coincidence? You decide. I already have an opinion.

Yes. Not only is the key chain well used, it feels like our Airstream has been too.

Because I always appreciate those who like to excel at their job, I highly recommend Shelly, Tyler and Dan at Sears.  If you need tires, they’ll help you out.

Sears

9701 Metcalf Ave.

Overland Park, KS

913-967-8799

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Airstream Connections

There were warnings about high winds and stormy weather on the day we left Red Run Campground.  After checking the radar and seeing we would be driving out of the weather, we prepared to leave.  As it started raining heavily, there were Flash Flood warnings for the area.  A few miles down the road, there was a text from our family.  “Nasty, nasty, nasty rain.  Tornado Watch 20 miles from destination.  Had to pull over.  Couldn’t see the road.”  Weather can make me nervous, which was happening at that moment.  I’ve lived in Tornado Alley all my life, and am fully aware that even a few miles can make a huge difference in the path of a storm.  Since I couldn’t do anything for them except worry, I focused instead on the road in front of us.  We eventually drove out of the rain, and after a few harried hours, the decision was made to stop in Zanesville, Ohio.

A spot was picked and paid for, and my Better Half got back into the car and said, “Look what just pulled in!”  It was another 28 foot Airstream; an International towed by Barry and Mike.  As we stood in the drive and wondered about the unlikely meeting of  two Airstreams at the same time in the same place, the observation that each Airstream had a ProPride hitch, began the conversation and an instant connection was made.  We shared Airstream tours, dinner and a campfire.  There was talk of wheels, tires and tire pressure monitoring systems, along with campgrounds, where we were going to and coming from.   Once we received texts from family, which had arrived home safe and sound, it was a pleasant end to the day shared with instant friends.

Impromptu Airstream Rally

Do you think they had a premonition about what would happen to us on the way home with our tires?  Thank You Barry and Mike!  You were quite helpful to us whether you knew it or not.

Beginning and Ending – Awning Repair and “Sploding” Tires

Whew! Three weeks blew by in what seemed like a heartbeat. Preparing for this trip seemed like it took much longer than the time we spent away from home, although being in our RollingSilver2ndHome made it much easier than it might have been.

The first day was spent making our way to Springfield, MO, with Reliable RV as our destination. Our awning repair was scheduled, and we were hopeful it would go well so we could be on our way. The repair was made, and I was able to mark it as DONE. It was a happy moment for me when we could finally string our party lights on the extended awning, knowing I was done thinking about this to finally experience it instead. Once the lights were plugged in, my favorite 7 year old declared with hands on hips, “I like them.” Is it odd that I should feel happy to have his approval? It was most satisfying to know we felt the same way about the lights. Of course, the clips we used to string them turned out to be hangar clips for drying clothes. These were not what I originally intended to use, but instead worked out best for the lights so they were Dual Purpose. (If you do not know by now I love Dual Purpose items best, then someone hasn’t been paying attention.)

Owls – 1970’s Revisited!

We were 120 miles from home when someone pulled up beside us on the road and rolled down their window. “Your rear tire blew”, they mouthed. Thank You Good Samaritan! We pulled off the road, and sure enough, the tire had “sploded”, the sidewall tearing and tread falling to pieces. There was a quick tire change, and immediate Googling for the address of a tire store in the next town. Once we arrived, the tire was replaced and we were on our way. My Better Half does not believe in driving any distance without a spare. It’s a good thing, because three miles from home, the other tire on the same side of the trailer blew. It was timely I suppose, that we had several tire discussions with others about the problems with certain trailer tires. Personally, we’ve had issues now with three out of four. Obviously, it’s time for a change. Upgrades are completely necessary before we go another mile. Oh, and you know those repairs needed to the aluminum skin? When the second tire went, it took out the handle to the black water tank with it. It’s a good thing this happened before Repairs were made. Fortunately, the tank was empty, so it’s not needed soon. It will be nice to look forward to a time when we don’t end a trip needing to look forward to repairs. Even with all of this, we’re not discouraged. Not Yet. Stuff happens. Right?

Time for a new approach, wouldn’t you say?

The first year of Airstream ownership has been…um…revealing, about where the weak links are with our systems, whether they are routines, refreshing, repairs or revisiting that which has come before. The second long trip was much easier than the first, so things are getting better. In no way could I have declared we were having a “South Dakota Badlands Moment”, even though the end of our journey seemed like It’s Always Somethin’. After all, we did travel over 2200 miles. Did I mention I got sick the second day after we headed for home? At least I got to sleep in my own bed, even though I didn’t get to spend quite enough time in it. Will Our Third Long Trip Be The Charm? I’ll think about that tomorrow. For now, I’m going to bed.

Lookin’ in the rearview mirror

What a Week!  Mercury Retrograde was strongly evident in all that we did while we were in Salina, Kansas last week.  Our regular campground was full, so we stayed at “the other one”, just west of town, with not a lick of shade.   There was a car rally in town, which explained the lack of spaces available for those of us who hadn’t planned.  Temperatures soared to 109 degrees, and were 98 degrees at 10:30 p.m.   That was when discovery was made about sub-par air conditioning in our Airstream.    Was it the temperature, or our AC system?  Fortunately, most people would be heading out the next day, so we reserved a spot under the trees as soon as we were able.  Being a Sunday,  we gave up and stayed in my mother-in-law’s apartment while she was in the hospital; our cool oasis for the time.  It was an exercise in counting our blessings wherever we could find them.

Kudos and Many Thanks to Luke Long at Lorenson Industries, Inc, for taking care of our air-conditioning issues.  The breaker kept tripping, and he drilled holes in the shroud to allow heat to escape.  He cleaned cottonwood fluff  from the evaporator coil, and suggested moving the AC wiring to a different breaker, to avoid a thermal breaker trip.  With 42 years experience on RV’s, we were happy to have found him.  Once we moved under some shade and added some extra room circulating fans (Vornado) to get the air flowing, we survived the extreme temperatures in relative comfort.  It’s times like these when certain lessons become indelibly imprinted, like scheduling regular maintenance and seeking shade.  Oh, and making reservations, even though we didn’t have a choice in that matter!

Once we were able to move on from maintenance, we noticed all the great cars in town for the weekend.  Car people are a hardy bunch, to schedule their rally in the middle of summer in Salina.  You have to love them for making an effort to show up when The Heat is ON.  For Days.  They were everywhere; a visual feast!

Cool Car

Beauty

Cruisin’

Check out the sidewalls!

Wanna’ go for a ride?

My mother-in-law is home from the hospital, and feeling so much better!  She had to revisit an old issue to keep her health in balance, which is often what Mercury Retrograde is good for.  While she was out of her apartment, I reorganized her pantry and bathroom storage so everything would be within reach and easily viewed.  She sprained her wrist a few months ago reaching for something too high, so I made it my business to bring it down to a more accessible level for her.  We found someone to run errands, which is a relief for all of us.  Thanks for your prayers.

It was an exhausting, extreme, exhilarating week.  I can already tell Mercury has gone direct, as I am able to use my computer without incident, and plans are finally proceeding forward.  We found the right person to repair our awning, which is scheduled soon.  I’m grateful to wave goodbye to this episode in my rear-view mirror, and look forward to our next adventure!

Luke Long

Lorenson Industries, Inc.

461 E. Avenue A, South Industrial Area

Salina, Kansas  67401

785-823-6036

Refreshed and Revitalized

The RollingSilver2ndHome has been refreshed!  It was finished on Friday the 13th, which added a sweet note to a day that is known for its less finer qualities. (No Bad Luck here, but then you have to know where to have the refreshing done. I’m feeling smug about picking the right place, and people to deal with.) The Airstream has a new floor which has the same feel as its original look from the factory, and looks almost brand new inside.  (From 11 years ago, but hey, it works for me.)  It’s easy, breezy, and no longer a carpeted maintenance nightmare.  Give me a broom and wet swiffer and I’m good to go!  The Goldilocks chair freely rolls.  Aaaaah.  We also have a fresh, new, streamlined china bowl toilet which helps with that brand new feeling.  It’s the simple things that make me happy.

For anyone who needs a new floor in their RV and finds themselves in the Midwest, Village Decorative in Augusta, Kansas gets my rave reviews.  You know how it’s impossible to find old-fashioned customer service anymore?  Not here.  This is a family owned, three generation business who care about their work.  We drove some distance to have the job done there, because they came highly recommended.  They have had much experience replacing RV floors, and I would use them again in a heartbeat.  Special Thanks to Dick Pennington, Berry Harvey and Angela Wilson for their exemplary customer service!  Should you need their services, here is their information:

Village Decorative

117 W. 7th

Augusta, Kansas  67010

316-775-6651

http://villagedecorative.com/

In the 36 hours they had it, two different people inquired if the Airstream was for sale.  I guess I know now where to park it when that day comes!  If it weren’t so hot, I’d be planning my next trip.  As it is, it feels good to check this off the list.