Man Down! Getting to Tucson the Hard Way

April 10, 2006

Related Topics: On The Road

The drive from Las Vegas to Kingman, AZ was less than scenic and two hours longer than planned. GPS is a marvel for any road-tripper and we live by Tom’s (TomTom GPS) suggested routing. However, it would have helped if we’d known the Hoover Dam was closed to RV’s, Trucks and any vehicle towing. Sara tried to convince me that we aren’t a semi, and don’t really meet the standards for a conventional looking RV. However, we’re definitely towing a large trailer, we look a lot like a semi, and are living within. Although we’re miles from the city of lights and gambling, I figured this was a bet the house would probably win and we’d end up turning around. The re-route sent us over a hundred miles in a round about before arriving to camp for the night in Kingman.

We arrived late and hit the road early. It’s always a challenge to find time each day to catch up on emails before settling into the air-ride driver’s seat for a cushy ride between destinations. After an hour in the office (the front seat of the RV with a folding table, cell phone and my laptop), I folded up the table, completed the exterior and interior pre-flight checklists and crept onto the highway for a 6-7 hour journey to Tucson.

The temperature changed dramatically from dawn to mid-morning and the RV felt it was appropriate to provide some roadside, hands-on training. With a 450-hp diesel pulling less than half the possible load, you don’t feel the traditional road vibration, missing most the little bumps along the way. Another eighteen-wheeler with a passenger pulled up along side and started making gestures (none obscene) towards our truck. Two trucks side by side on the highway leave enough room to share a bag of popcorn and a soda between cabs, so her lips were easily read.

A heavy shot of adrenaline captured every bit of my attention when I viewed a plume of black and grey smoke billowing from the trailer, reflected in the oversized, drivers-side mirror.

Within an hour, Good Sam’s Emergency Service had changed the tire, putting us back on the road towards Tucson. The service man left the shredded trailer tire hanging on the wall as a reminder where the spare had idly waited just moments before. Apparently, there are special, computerized systems available for RV’s that notify the driver of any pressure changes due to damage or significant temperature change before a blow-out occurs. Tire pressure must be adjusted based on the ambient temperature…so the tow truck driver claims.

I wonder if they’ll ever make a GPS that does that too?

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