Saturday, June 10, 2017

Aw, Geez! Two flat tires? And an RV mod I've been needing :)

While at Pickett Lake, off Lake Mary Rd, Jeanne and John and I went out one day to scout some new boondocking areas.  Off we went in Jeanne's car.   Jeanne had heard of a couple of good areas - lots of trees with fields, perfect for boondockers with solar panels.   One of the areas we checked out looked good, but was really rocky.  Suddenly Jeanne's Tire Pressure Monitoring System went off.  We were already out of the rocky area and driving along the good dirt road, but obviously something was wrong with the front left tire, so she pulled over.
We all got out and looked.  This is what we saw:

Brand new tire - she had just bought four new tires the previous week.  As we drove down the rocky road, one of the rocks on the side of the road must have been really sharp and punctured the sidewall as we drove past it.  It really deflated fast.

John immediately got the right tools, figured out the jack, and took off the lug nuts and the tire.  Jeanne and I, two very independent, self sufficient women, stood back and watched.  LOL  Then Jeanne fitted the spare onto the wheel and John tightened the lug nuts.  Later we agreed - IT'S SURE NICE TO HAVE A MAN AROUND!  Guys, sometimes you just know stuff that we ladies have to take a little time to figure out.  I haven't changed a tire since I was 15 years old in Driver's Ed.  We would have figured it out, but John just knew what he was doing, so we let him do it.  Sure was nice!

Here's Jeanne fitting the donut spare on the wheel, with John watching:

After Jeanne put the spare on, John tightened everything up and they loaded the flat tire into the trunk.  We piled in the car again and drove to the Sam's Club in Flagstaff where Jeanne had purchased the tires.  Unfortunately it wasn't repairable and they didn't have that one in stock.  She would have to wait two days for one to be ordered and arrive at the store.

It's kind of nerve wracking driving on a small spare tire but luckily the speed limit out of town and then along Lake Mary Road was 50 MPH, so that fit with the speed the little spare was supposed to be driven.   Two days later she went back to town and had the new tire put on.  Luckily it was all covered under the warranty, and she only had to pay for the installation.  Darn rocks!

So, the next day I drove The Palms into town to get supplies and gas and propane and water, etc.  As I arrived in Flagstaff, MY Tire Pressure Monitoring System went off just as I was pulling into the Giant gas station.  My right front tire was losing air.  I got all the tasks done and checked on my GPS for a Discount Tire in town. There was one on the other side of town, so I started driving, keeping my eye on the TPMS.  It was slowly going down.  My tires should be at 70 PSI in the morning, and of course the pressure goes up as I'm driving.

The front tire was going down fast now - I'm driving through city traffic, watching the TPMS, stopping at red lights.  It was kind of stressful, to say the least.  I could have stopped and called a tow truck, but I was only a few miles from the tire store.  It stayed at 24 PSI for a bit, then dropped to 21, then 20.  The Palms was driving fine, and everything felt fine.  When I pulled into the driveway at Discount Tire, the flat tire showed 19 PSI.

I drove in and parked and an employee walked right over.  I told him I had a flat tire, and he said, Yes, the right front?   They could all see it as I drove in.  I didn't think it looked that bad, but what do I know?

He took all my information and my car keys and Katie and I sat down to wait in the customer waiting room.  As I was sitting there waiting for the verdict, I texted Jeanne - "You're not going to believe this..."

Less than a half hour later he was back.  I looked up and The Palms was parked outside waiting for me.  Turned out the tire itself wasn't flat, the valve stem was coming loose, allowing the air to leak out. So they repaired it, or replaced it, and we were good to go.  No charge.  Discount Tire is so great!  I sure recommend them.

Can you believe we both had flats one day apart?!?  Hopefully we're both good now and won't have any more flats!  And again I have to give a 👍👍 for TMPS.  We might have felt the flats, but our systems warned us before we knew anything was happening.  And who knows?  That red light and beeping sound might have prevented an accident.

Now, on to the RV mod that John did for me - this is the happy part of this post.

So...  I have a really nice awning, it's brand new.  I've never used it - NEVER in six years.  But it doesn't have a cover over it, and I camp where the sun's shining and the temps are warm.  My poor awning started fraying along the top of the roll a couple of years ago, the part exposed to the sun almost every day for the last six years.  When it first started looking bad, I got some awning tape, cut off the little threads and pieces that were coming apart, and taped the whole awning across the top.  It looked great!

A year later, with more sun and lots of sand and dust storms, the awning was not only fraying again, it had some pieces of awning tape hanging off it, and it was now a brown color from all the dust getting under the tape.  Brown sticky tape hanging off the white awning fabric.  Honestly it looked awful and was embarrassing.  So I bought some cheaper clear tape and taped it up again.  That tape didn't last at all, and before long I was again spending almost $75 for three rolls of clear awning tape.

Well, when I was camped with Jeanne and John at Pickett Lake, off Mary Lake Road, John mentioned that one day recently, he was sitting inside his fifth wheel, his awning was rolled up as usual (he doesn't put his out either), and the wind picked up and grabbed the awning, the material rolled out and was tossed over the roof of the RV, flapping up and down and all around.  Wasn't much he could do with the wind blowing, until things calmed down.  When he was able to check it, he saw the awning was ripped from flapping on the roof.  So what he decided to do was take the awning down.  Not the whole thing, just the fabric.  And that's what he did.  I walked over to see it, and it looked great, neat and clean.

I had been planning on taking my whole awning off - all the hardware - when I got to San Diego and asking my son to store it for me, so that if I ever sell The Palms, we could re-attach it for the new owners.  But John's solution was so much easier, and could be done NOW.  I'd lose the eyesore awning and keep the hardware intact on The Palms.  If I sell, the new owners can leave it that way if they don't use their awning or they can have a new awning installed.  It was a perfect solution!  And the frosting on the cake was that John offered to cut the awning off for me.

I should have gotten "before" photos, but just picture a long white awning with dust covered tape coming off here and there.  It was really bad.

Here's John on the roof, or at least his shorts and shirt, cutting each portion of the awning loose as he unrolls it.

Finally down to the last part:

And the last piece is cut off!

And here's The Palms with the awning hardware intact, the roller across the top looking clean, with nothing messy hanging loose.  It was such a relief to have the awning gone, and not have to spend $$$ on tape again!  If I had known about this "fix" I would have had it cut down years ago.  And saved a bunch of money on awning tape.  Who knew?

Here's my beautiful awning - never used, this part never even exposed to the sun.  It was a shame, really.

BTW, John doesn't like his picture posted, so I never show his face.  He's helped me with some other things and I love to give him credit, but I always crop his face out out of the pic.  Some of you know Don "donhalfaface" - well, this is John "johnnoface."  LOL

Thank you, John!  I can't tell you how much I appreciated you doing this for me.   I don't think I could have done it by myself.

And here are a few photos to finish up my time in Flagstaff:

I caught this guy perched on the top of a pine tree - he looked like a blackbird, but he has a grey collar and a grey beak.  There's also some grey on his chest.  I did some research on-line to find out what kind of bird he is, but there was nothing I could see.  Anyone know what kind of bird this is? 

Flowers in bloom along my walking trails:

FINALLY, I've gotten my wish - I'm tall and thin!  And I have the picture to prove it:

Just look at those long legs!  LOL

From me and Katie, have a great weekend, everyone! 😲😟😊😎😘😀


  1. Jeanne didn't mention that you had a flat the next day, too. What a funny coincidence. We've been saved a couple times by our TPMS, too. Definitely worth it!

  2. I really enjoy following you and your adventures!

  3. You are not alone as far as just removing the Awning and leaving the hardware.
    Glad the tire repair was an easy fix. Still taking great pictures.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  4. Oh my gosh!!! Both of you having a flat tire within a day of beach other....Who would have thought???

    Glad you got that awning squared away!! That was so nice of John!! Good friends....priceless!!!

  5. Wow such long legs woman! Good job with the awning, a good solution. Nice that you flat tire was just a valve stem, we have had that issue a few times.

  6. Even the hardware is gone from the Castle. Since I spend so much time in the salt air of the coast, the springs of the roller assembly were apparently corroded and the roller would not stay tight even with the arms up and tied. The fabric was faded along the roller also. I have seen what happens when the roller springs fail while going down the road. When the chance to get rid of it all for $30 happened, I grabbed the opportunity and the awning and hardware has been gone about five years now.

  7. We can certainly vouch for Discount Tire too. Even before we bought 6 tires at one, we had gone there for a couple valve stem issues, and they never charged us a thing! We are customers for life!

  8. I have also have a Discount Tire testimonial. A few years ago while visiting my sister in Phoenix, vandals slashed several tires along her road, including mine. I took it back to Discount Tire intending to buy a new tire to match the other three. They gave me a brand new tire for free. I had a road hazzard warranty but this was not a road hazzard. They told me they were replacing tires as a service to those that had been victims. They earned my loyalty for life!

  9. Really interesting story. It's just wonderful having friends with great
    knowledge and wisdom, plus they are do'ers too!
    Hopefully we can all be like John..... Pass it along .

  10. Really glad to hear that you have the tire monitor. So many rv accidents seem to be due to tire blowouts that hopefully you both will have warnings before that happens. Glad you are all safe, and love reading your blog. Thanks

  11. What are the odds!?! Glad you got the awning taken care of as I know it's been bugging you.

  12. Nice that TMPS saved you from a worse situation. We would miss our awning even though we don't use it often. Glad you got it removed and your Palms looks like new again!

  13. Flat tires are no fun. We had two one year in "Q". So much for driving on the rocky back roads.

  14. We lost our awning heading to Q from Phoenix. A gust of wind took it off right along the interstate. Bob managed to cut it off and removed the hardware. Had to leave it along side the hi way. I bet those adopt a highway clean up people had fun with that.

  15. Oh my gosh. That could have been so disastrous for either one of you. That little box sounds like it is worth it's weight in gold. I think I'll check my owner's manual and see what kind of tire notification I have. It would be good to know if I have something to give me even a little warning.


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