Inger and Jeff Latreille
A Close Call
~Monday, November 22, 2021~
Day 526 (Travel Day)
Not enough time spent in this cool town of Terlingua. It was perfectly situated between the state and national park of Big Bend. And we enjoyed our stay at The Roadrunner Travelers RV Park, so much so, that we did a review on Campendium. Check out what we had to say at https://www.campendium.com/users/347528. There’s so much more to investigate in this tiny ghost town from the art scene to Big Bend National Park. We will be back!
Before hitting the road, we dropped off some yummy homemade banana muffins to our RV hosts Chris and Allison and thanked them for the great stay. Chris also reminded us to sign their black water tanks
(a Roadrunner tradition and unique memento of their guests). We of course signed it with our alias name “FootprintsOnWheels”.
We are headed northwest today, out of Texas and on to New Mexico at a campground called Caballo Lake State Park in Caballo, NM, back through the “frost heaves” on Highway 118 and the well marked elevation signs of prominent mountains nearby; something not all too commonly seen. We also got a kick out of seeing signs for Burros (don’t see those too often either). It would have been cool to see these iconic creatures conjuring up images of rustic days gone by in The Old West. And being the train fans that we are, it was fun to see a few go by today. But then something really caught our eye while driving through Marfa, TX…...a white Zeppelin-shaped object
just sort of hovering high in the sky. Was it a UFO, was it a type of drone? Ever so curious and with my laptop already open on the car ride, I had to investigate. After a few Google searches, I found out it was a border patrol blimp…..a tethered aerostat radar balloon. The balloon is used to monitor low-flying aircraft coming across the border (with illegal drugs perhaps?). What’s amazing is the cost for keeping 6 aerostats aloft……..a whopping $30 million per year. But they have seen a significant decrease in drug trafficking since the balloon’s inception in 1987, so it would appear it’s money well spent.
Driving through El Paso was a bit stressful for driver Jeff. Lots of narrow lanes, construction and heavy traffic. Hmmm….it didn’t help that we were passing through during the commute hour, right?
Next, the “Land of Enchantment”....enter New Mexico. For us, the land was not so enchanting, at least for the first hour. Just shortly after we entered the state, our TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System)alarm sounded off, showing us the front passenger trailer tire was quickly losing pressure. We were on a 2-lane highway in VERY light traffic, waiting for the perfect spot to pull over, and that we did. As we got out to inspect, the tire was hissing loudly which told us it must have been something more than just a nail or screw in it. Sure enough, when Jeff removed the tire, we saw a ½-inch wide, 5-inch long separation at the inside of the tire. Wow, thank goodness for the TPMS system or we could have had significant damage to the trailer and a costly repair. We’ve heard many horror stories where a blown tire can put a hole in the floor of your RV, shred wires and propane lines or do damage to the underside/outside of the trailer. It’s not unheard of for 1 blowout to cost $3,000 or more in damage. So our little $150 investment did its job!! If you’d like to know what system we use, you can check it out on our website at https://www.footprintsonwheels.com/trailer-extras. Anyway, if we were going to have tire issues, we couldn’t have asked for better conditions to do a fix with warm weather, a sunny day, and a large amount of space off the road to change a flat. Even though Jeff has changed a few tires in his day, there were still new things to learn in changing an RV tire. We had all the right tools which made things go smoothly. We didn’t even know that the “spare” would be a real full-sized tire with the actual rim on it. The hardest part was getting the damaged tire back under the rig, basically cranking the thing back up into its space. It would definitely be a challenge if you were trying to do this alone.
We inspected the other 3 tires and discovered that the driver’s side tire had the same wear on the inside (basically a ticking time bomb), and now with no spare. We’re just grateful that this lesson learned wasn’t an expensive one.
In the past, we’ve never really noticed the wear on the inside of the tires, concentrating more on the center part, and we are religious about keeping good tire pressure and covering the tires wherever we’re staying. UV protection is super important! We’ve also not read much about tire rotation on trailers so will have to investigate more about that. In any case, we have obviously maxed these puppies out with over 40,000 miles on them. After being sidetracked for an hour, we were finally back on the road, with Jeff driving and me calling various tire places. None had what we wanted. So we’re crossing our fingers until we get to Tucson where we’ll likely have more options. At least I now know how to change a trailer tire.
We were relieved to finally make it to our campground at around 7:00 p.m. in the dark. Had we not had the tire mishap, we would have made it in the daylight. It appeared there were 3 campgrounds right next to each other with ours being the Palomino Campground. When Jeff got out to inspect which way was the best for us to enter, a fellow camper asked which site we were looking for. When Jeff replied, “site 4”, he said, “wow, lucky you….you have the best site in the place”. It was the outside campsite overlooking the reservoir, which we could faintly see with the 3⁄4 full moon. This place is amazing and only $22/night with full hookups, staggered sites, firepit, bathrooms/showers and our very own covered picnic area. And it’s quiet and oh so peaceful. Can’t wait to see what this place looks like in the daylight.