We lost a tire on our tow dolly but we still consider ourselves lucky

We were driving today from San Antonio to San Angelo on Route 87 which is a back-roads Texas highway.  It’s mostly two lanes and it goes through the center of a number of towns but in between the speed limit is usually 75 MPH (65 MPH is fast enough for me and the speed we usually get our best fuel mileage at).  We were about 50 miles from San Angelo and I was looking in the rear view mirror when I noticed some stuff being thrown up next to our tow dolly.  I wasn’t sure what it was, so I immediately pulled over,  Once I stopped I could see that the left tire on the tow dolly had blown completely and what I had been seeing was pieces of tire being tossed around.

Blown tire on our tow dolly

Now I realize that doesn’t sound like good luck, but we’d been looking for some kind of a pull-out along Route 87 so we could stop and have some lunch and we hadn’t seen anything of the kind for miles and miles.  Somehow though we managed to stop right next to a paved pull-out.  It was on the other side of the road but all I had to do was drive over to it and we were safe and well off the road.  That was good luck.

The tire was completely destroyed and had taken a big chunk out of the fender (which is made of plastic, go figure) as well.  We don’t have a spare tire for it so I got on the phone to our Roadside Assistance (Coachnet).  It took a couple of tries because the cell phone reception there wasn’t very good and my phone kept dropping the calls, but I was finally able to explain our situation and where we were and they found a nearby tire service that would come and replace it.

In less than an hour and a half from when we pulled over the tire had been replaced by a serviceman from Bob Moore’s Tire Company, and at a very reasonable price ($163 for both the tire and the service call).  I duct-taped the fender back together, put the car back on the dolly (I had taken it off to make it easier to get at the tire) and we were back on our way.

We were lucky and we know it.  This could have been much, much worse.  Our car and the tow dolly itself could have been damaged and we could have been stuck on the edge of a busy highway, getting blown side-to-side every time a big rig truck went by.  Instead we had some lunch and read for a bit well off the highway while waiting for the service truck, got our service done quickly and at a reasonable price, and were on our way again none the worse for the experience.

 

The San Antonio Riverwalk was just ducky

We were in San Antonio about a year and a half ago and visited the Riverwalk at that time. It is very charming and every city should have one.  We’re back in San Antonio partly because it was more or less on our route (we’re meandering to Arizona) and partly because Susan wanted to see the Riverwalk again.

Ducky Riverwalk 5

We got there a bit after noon and the first thing we did was find a restaurant for some lunch.  While waiting for our lunch to appear, we noticed that there were a large number of ducks and geese both in the water and walking all around.  We don’t remember seeing them the last time we were here but was Spring then and it is Fall now so maybe that has something to do with it.

The ducks in particular were very bold and not shy about walking among the tables at the restaurant.  There were more ducks than pigeons, but they were both after the same thing, which is whatever crumbs people dropped off their table from their lunch.

Ducky Riverwalk 3

 

Ducky Riverwalk 1

Ducky Riverwalk 2

The Riverwalk is very pleasant and we enjoyed rambling around.  Some care has been taken to make it handicap accessible since there are at least a half-dozen public elevators located at different points and ramps alongside many of the stairs.  Even so, there are several restaurants we had to pass by because you had to climb a set of stairs to get to them and we had to go back up to the street level and down a block to find a handicap accessible bathroom.  We never did find a way to get to one section of the Riverwalk because all the accesses that led to it consisted of stairs.  Even so, we enjoyed it and it was worth the trip into San Antonio from our campground on the outskirts of town.

 

Our satellite dish almost flew away

We’re currently camped near San Antonio, Texas.  Usually once we’ve pulled into a campsite, after putting down the levelers and putting out the slides, I start the water heater and then start the search function for the satellite dish (their buttons are right next to each other on the control panel).  I’d asked for a satellite dish-friendly spot in the campground because it doesn’t have cable TV, but after 15 minutes the satellite dish hadn’t locked onto a satellite.  Although there was a tree nearby it didn’t really look like it was in the way but I wasn’t overwhelmingly positive I knew which direction the satellite was located in.  I figured I’d have to move the motor home backwards about 5 or 6 feet in order to miss the tree (PITA since I’d already hooked everything up) but I decided to put that off for a bit later since I had other things to do first.

I took a walk over to the campground office to take care of some paperwork and when I came back I had a WTF moment: our satellite dish was standing on one side.  No wonder it couldn’t lock onto the DirecTV satellite, it was pointed sideways!

Satellite Dome 2014-10-19 09.49.12

When I got up on the roof of the motor home it was evident that we hadn’t hit something (and we probably would have heard a loud clunk if we had) it had just come loose.  Not totally surprising after 6 or 7 years of road vibration.  I re-attached it to its brackets and tightened the screws and nuts as hard as I could.  Once it was flat again it had no problem finding the DirecTV satellite.

Even if it had come completely loose it probably wouldn’t have fallen off the roof since it is attached by several sturdy cables but it could have damaged the cables if it had and that would probably have been an expensive repair.  This has been a year for repairs and we were fortunate this time that I noticed the problem before it became serious and that I was able to fix it myself.

The Big E

The Eastern States Exposition is like a state fair, but for all of New England and it’s on steroids.  It’s been over ten years since we last came but it doesn’t seem to have changed a bit.  We came on a Tuesday, so the crowds weren’t all that bad.

Big E 08

As usual there were lots of places selling food that probably wasn’t all that good for you but that’s part of the attraction.

Big E 04

I indulged myself with a triple-pig sandwich: pulled pork, sausage and bacon.

Big E 06

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Eastport Pirate Festival, 2014

The Pirate Festival is probably Eastport’s biggest event of the year.  All the locals seems to participate in it and it draws a lot of visitors.  The campground we are staying in went from less than half full to completely full in a day and we’re glad we had reservations far enough in advance to have a spot.

A lot of people that come to the Pirate Festival have put together elaborate costumes so people watching is a big part of the fun.

Eastport Pirate Parade 06

Eastport Pirate Parade 04

Eastport Pirate Parade 09

Eastport Pirate Parade 05

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Rachel and Scott visit

Rachel and Scott drove up from Boston to visit us in Eastport.  They stayed in a local B&B and we fed them from our grill while they were here.  It was overcast but otherwise nice and we spent most of the day outside talking.

Unfortunately the photos didn’t come out all that well.  I’d like to blame somebody else but it was my camera and believe it or not these are the best of all of those taken.

Rachel and Scott

 

Richard, Rachel and Susan
Richard, Rachel and Susan

Waste not, want not

We saw grasses growing next to the highway all through South Dakota.  They weren’t weeds, but looked a lot more like escaped crops.  It’s even possible that they had been planted deliberately because in several places we saw them being harvested and rolled up like alfalfa or other feed grains.  Regardless, of how it got there it is apparent that the South Dakotans are very frugal and didn’t let it go to waste.

Waste not want not

Gated highways

We saw these gates across the highways all through Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota. The highway on-ramps also had gates and signs that said that ignoring them would get you a $1000 fine.

Gated Highway

They close the gates during the winter when the blizzards have dropped so much snow so fast that they can’t keep the highways plowed.  And here we thought winters in New England were bad!  We’re even happier knowing we’re going to be spending the winter far, far away from gates like these.