Somewhere along the way we decided that it was a good time to buy an RV and take off on the open road. We decided to take the RV owner’s word for it that the RV was safe, cared for and ready to go. We decided that it was OK to watch a video and that was going to help us to know everything we needed to know to drive this MASSIVE vehicle and tow a Jetta behind it.
For me this was the biggest vehicle I had ever driven. Before that it was a Tahoe. That Tahoe also had a rear camera. If you have not driven anything with a rear camera you should know that it is amazing and makes driving almost easy enough for a toddler to do it. OK, maybe not a toddler, unless he/she grew up on a farm and was taught to drive at an early age.
For Jason, he had actually driven a u-haul before so he had a little experience with a bigger vehicle. He had not towed something with it but knew how to maneuver it and at least drive it. That definitely gave him a leg up on the whole situation.
Well, we are on the road making our second longest trip and figure we had already been through so many things with this rig that we were good to go. After all, we had blown our breaks, busted a couple belts, been towed twice, had our generator break down, blown fuses, drove unknowingly without rear lights, and went without a stove or oven because we couldn’t figure out how to use it. We had this. What else could possibly go wrong?
Naturally, this time around we are a little more cautious even though we are more comfortable driving. Every little sound, bump and gauge change we are aware and weary. So, when we started hearing a noise we had never heard before we naturally started to worry. At one point I swore I actually saw something fly from the back of Wanda and almost hit someone. At that point, I decided it was time to pull over. What we were looking for, we didn’t know, but we were hoping we would know it when we saw it.
We get out, look around the rig, look under and see nothing. So, it must be something inside right? Well, we are in the rig looking through everything. Maybe we didn’t secure something good enough. We looked everywhere and couldn’t find anything. It was a strange noise but seemed like it was coming from within the cabinets or under the floor. This time around Jason decided he would drive because my nerves were a little frazzled and if you know anything about me, I hate puzzles, and this was a puzzle. What in the world was that sound? Where was it coming from? Were we in for some trouble?
Not even a half hour down the road we are hearing this noise again. I am up in the rig looking through everything trying to find the source of the noise, yes, I know this is illegal and dangerous, but it’s a puzzle and I need to know where it’s coming from. Lucky for us it’s about time for us to pull over and get some gas so we pull over at the nearest gas station. While we are filling up we both are looking all over the rig and trying to find the source of the mystery sound. We are still at a loss and think there is something wrong with us and we are just over reacting.
Back on the road. Well, this time we didn’t even make it 20 miles down the road when the rig started to shake. Something is definitely wrong and since we didn’t know what it was, it was time to pull over at the rest area and figure out what to do next. This time we get under the rig to see if we can figure anything out. Unfortunately, neither of us know what under the rig should look like or what we are even looking for. Lucky for us, this time it was obvious what was wrong. We blew a tire. The inside rear tire was half missing. Again, we are blessed and dodged the bullet on this one. If this would have happened on the front of the rig we would have been screwed. We don’t know the first thing about how to handle a blowout, let alone one in this large of a vehicle towing another vehicle.
We call roadside assistance, get out the lawn chairs, have lunch and wait for our tech to arrive. Lucky us we had a spare tire for the rig so we didn’t have to pay for a tire at the time but we did get terrible news. I mean terrible news.
The guy who changed the tire lets us know that our tires are rotten. They aren’t safe and we should not drive on them much further. We are in Burrell, Iowa with the destination of Jamal, California. We ask him if he thinks we can make it and he says probably, but we need to be careful and we need to get new tires as soon as possible. He also lets us know that they don’t really make these kinds of tires anymore so they might need to be ordered and it could be pretty expensive.
Well, the rebels we are (yeah, I know, stupid), we decide that we can make it. Not only did we make it but we went from Jamal to Menifee to Palm Springs and back to Menifee before getting new tires.
Let me tell you this from experience, don’t risk something like that. It can literally be life or death and it’s not worth it. You have no idea what it does to your nerves every time you get behind that wheel and start driving. Every little weird movement, bump, anything, you go in to a slight panic attack and that’s definitely not a good thing for you or anyone else on the road when you go in to that kind of a state of mind.
In Menifee I decided I could not take the stress any longer. It was time to get the tires. I must have called 10-15 different places trying to find one that would change the tires and get the best deal. I ended up finding a place that would do everything and they were incredibly honest. They were up front with me about the tires, the difference in the tires and what would be best for what I had in store for me. Not only were they great with me, they also noticed my brakes were bad and waited for me to come back to the shop to see if I wanted them fixed before putting on the tires.
By the time I had left Menifee Tires I had spent a couple thousand dollars and was completely amazed. I wasn’t only amazed by the level of service and the out the door price but I was amazed at how much differently Wanda drove.
You would not believe how much different a huge vehicle will drive with new tires and new brakes. It is a completely different story. The weight that had lifted off of my shoulders is unexplainable. The only thing I can tell you is that it’s not worth it. I probably aged about a year in those 2 months of worrying about my tires. Yeah, now I have gray hairs thanks to this experience. Before long I will now have to pay for hair dye so I can continue to look my age and I owe it all to procrastination of my safety as well as that of others.
The moral of this story is if you hear a weird noise or that something isn’t right, it’s because it isn’t. Get it checked out. Don’t risk your life, someone else’s life or your own sanity. The other moral of this story is when you are buying an RV, don’t take the owners word for your own safety. It doesn’t matter who they are, what they do or what they have done to it in the past, get it checked out. It could be your life and the burden that is lifted off of your chest is not something you can ever put in to words.