Thursday, December 20, 2012

Are we lucky or unlucky?

Lenoir City, TN
A rainy miserable day. Gray foggy skies.  A good day to be inside.
The quiet drone of raindrops continuously beating on the roof.
The mesmerizing view of raindrops on the window and sliding down the glass like shooting stars, or skiiers gliding down a steep mountain, or sperm searching out their target. Yes, when you stare long enough out the window on a rainy day, things aren't as they seem.

My husband is sitting close, reading his Kindle. Our African Grey Parrot is staring at me with one eye. Our two Setters are behind me curled up on dog beds. Ahhh this is what rainy days are for. Family being close and all snug and warm.  Sounds nice?

It's interesting the things you notice when stuck inside the small space of a vehicle. Huh, I didn't know that thingy on the sun visor had a spot just for pens. Oh, good to know that I have a notepad in the zipper part. I've been meaning to put a notepad in the truck. Oh, and here's an extra pair of sunglasses! What a treasure chest I would have not found if we weren't stuck in our truck for hours.

Yes, we are all 5 of us crammed in our truck. Yes, my husband is sitting close (in the driver's seat) reading his Kindle. Yes, our African Grey Parrot (in a small dog crate on the center console) is staring at me with one eye. Yes, our two Setters are behind me (in the back seat) curled up on dog beds. Ahhh this is what rainy days are for. Family being close and all snug and warm, stuck in our truck for hours. No, this is not so nice. The dogs have the most room in the back seat and are doing what they normally do during much of the day...sleep.

I did not complain about not enough things to write about. I complained about the December Photo Project becoming tedious. Granted, it's been a few days of absentia from my blog, but there's no requirement of how often to post. I don't think my 20 something followers will be lost without regular posting from this ex "Jersey Girl".

Again, I am thankful for my laptop. Here I sit in the passenger seat of our truck and I'm able to post, vent, release my frustrations out to friends & family.

We left Sevierville, TN on Wednesday morning about 10:30am. We had a 260 mile drive ahead of us for an overnight, then onward to the Memphis area. We are driving along Rt. 40 and Scott is ready for his salmon salad sandwich I lovingly made for him for lunch. He eats the first half and says, "This is a really good sandwich". As I look past his loving eyes, out the driver's window and see a huge semi has pulled up next to us on the highway.  I hear a HONK, HONK! and the passenger is pointing to the back of us and mouthing, "Tire", we think. So much for a sweet romantic moment while traveling.

Of course, we immediately pull over, thinking we must have had our first flat tire. Oh crap, how long will that set us back. Let's see how Good Sam Emergency Roadside Service works.  As soon as we stop we see smoke and smell burnt something. Uh oh, it must really be flat. Scott jumps out and of course I have horrible thoughts of him being hit by oncoming traffic.  He runs back to the truck in a frenzy. "WHERE'S THE FIRE EXTINGUISHER?". I know it's "somewhere" in the back seat. Scott finds it quickly. Oh my gosh, what the hell is going on??? I run out to see, just as he throws a pitcher of water on our rear driver's side tire of the RV. PSSZZZZZZ, sizzle, hiss, steam. I go inside the RV to check things out. Damn, it smells like smoke in here! But all seems to be ok, I hope. Ok as much as I can see.
Yep, we had flames coming out of the wheel hub on the inside/underside of the rig. Scott had to crawl under to extinguish the flame.  I'm so glad Scott researched fire extinguishers. Instead of using the dry chemical ABC extinguisher we have, he opted for the small can of FIREADE 2000. This is a liquid with some kind of detergent added. Scott retired from the NJ Turnpike, so he saw many break fires on the semi's coming through. He saw how little the dry chemical extinguisher did. The flame would subside and flare up again. With Fireade 2000, the flame is stopped quickly, as least for a grease fire. It did a great job of putting out a fire that could have easily & quickly  burned up our whole rig and maybe even our truck if we didn't unhitich quickly enough.

So are we lucky or unlucky?
Lucky that the trucker pointed our problem out. And now that we know what was wrong, was she saying "Tire" or "Fire"?
Or unlucky that it happened in the first place?

We called Good Sam and told them we were on the side of the highway. They said they couldn't send anyone until we were in a safe place, so to call 911. Huh? Where do most incidents happen that you need to call an Emergency Service?  On the highway! So Scott decided to try to crawl to the next exit. We slowly drove with RV in tow along the shoulder. Trucks are honking at us because being so large, we were not completely off the highway. Scott looks in the rear view and sees the grab handle by the steps & door was open and not flat against the RV. I run out and close it. We are very close to a guard rail and I notice, the steps aren't in either!!! I jump out and can't get the steps up because the guard rail is in the way. So Scott drives while I'm outside watching the steps. Finally get them up. Then we come to an overpass with no shoulder.  Scott moves back into traffic and we hear more honks because even though we are driving faster, we are still slow and now in the lane of traffic. I'm begging him to just pull over again. While I was checking clearance of the steps I could hear the grinding of the wheel as he slowly drove. I didn't want a fire to start again. Between my begging and his being spooked having to go back into traffic, we decided to call 911. Nice cop, but he didn't know what to tell us. At least this time where we stopped was a large grassy area that we could pull further out of the road and half off the shoulder also. This is as "safe" a place as we're going to get. So another call to Good Sam. Fifteen minutes later we get a call from G&A Equipment, 24 hour service. A 1/2 hour later they arrived.

We had only driven 60 miles. Sigh.

So what went wrong? The wheel bearings failed. I don't know much of anything about the working of all this, so if I describe something incorrect, keep in mind this is 3rd hand knowledge...from mechanic, to Scott and then to me.
So the wheel was scraping and heated the grease in the bearings which caused the fire. The mechanic said we would have lost the tire if we continued to drive. He spent an hour and a half on the highway fixing it enough for travel. We opted to bring it to their shop in the morning to get all wheels checked out. Of course you may be thinking, that this happened because we didn't maintain the bearing. Oh no...Scott keeps up with all that.  We had all the bearing checked and packed in April.

So here we sit in the parking lot of the mechanic, with my husband beside me reading his Kindle, our parrot get the rest.

We have been told the "spindle" of the axle is stripped also. So a two hour job has turned into an all day job. Looks like we're here at Soaring Eagle RV Park for another night.

I was a little depressed last night over this situation. Thinking is the RV life for us? But then I thought, if we had a house, there would also be maintenance and things that go wrong. I still want to travel. Haven't seen enough yet. No, it's not time to settle.

So are we lucky or unlucky? That question is not even worth thinking about. This is just life. Good things happen and bad things happen. Why? I won't even bother to ask. You'll drive yourself crazy trying to find the answer to why?

Why do good people die of cancer?
Why do murders stay healthy and live off our tax money in prison for the rest of their lives?
Why do children get shot down by a crazy person?

There is no answer. Unfortunately, we just have to learn to cope and move on. There is only one guarantee in life and that is it will end, some sooner than others. Sorry for the downer. As I get older and my parents get even older, I feel each day I'm an healthy and alive as a blessing.


  1. it up as much as you can for whatever time you have left!!! And thanks for heads up on Fireade 2000!

  2. A perfectly fine bearing catches fire as did a perfectly fine tire took me down (bad) memory least Scott didn't get a ticket--if it would have been my NC trooper, he would have conjured up an arson is hoping for 1 day out of service....cheers.

  3. There will always be incidents when youe home is mobile and goes down the road at 60+ MPH. We are static for right now and still have had things go wrong (A/C, fridge, etc.). Personally, I think you're lucky to be living the lifestyle and that no one was injured. :) Hang in there and carry on! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

  4. Wow, glad you are all ok and safe, Tucker sends doggie kisses to his pals. Be well and have fun.Thanks for all you did for us at 4 paws. We are getting a spell of cold weather tomorrow so Tuck will be wearing his sweater, thanks

  5. Thats all the fun in driving around the country, all the unexpected stops LOL,, just kidding....yep I was coming back from racing my car in Canada and just as we got back to the good old US the trans blew out of the truck ,, and to learn my AAA coverage dose not tow trailers ,only the truck .so i told the tow truck drive i dont care about the truck take the car and trailer 'nope cant do that sir " he says.i offered to pay extra .. so there i sat with my race car on a trailer on the side of the road , till a friend came and tow my car to his house , and what a deal in renting a car on sunday nite in east bubble f%^k MI , finally got home around 1am in the morning , aaahhhh thats just the begging of the story ,, were did my truck go , how was i going to get my car and trailer home .. film at 11 ,, so i feel for u guys good luck =)

  6. It is no fun being stuck in a truck with pets. Try to enjoy the Kindle and be glad you home on wheels didn't burn up. Glad you are safe.


Our Travels