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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

Don't Cheap Out

~Wednesday, November 24, 2021~

Day 528 (Travel Day)

Back on the road again 😩, this time to Tucson, AZ to Diamond J RV Resort which is sort of like a second home for us since this will be our third time at this high desert setting. It will be a nice home base for our Thanksgiving weekend, though we’d prefer being with our family. We miss everyone sooooo much! Looking forward to those FaceTime calls tomorrow for sure! With the fridge full of Thanksgiving fixings and the truck gassed up, we were ready for another 400-mile day.

While Jeff did all the driving, I was on the phone with tire centers in Tucson, trying to find just 1 tire to get us to California (the same Goodyear model we currently have on the trailer). We were on pins and needles all day, praying that the other front driver’s side trailer tire, very worn, would get us to Tucson. Since we had to use our only spare the other day, it’s definitely risky not having one for our long drive today. It’s nice that the spare we just put on is full size, which is where it will stay.

Ultimately, we would like to get a whole new set + an extra spare with our plans to go to Alaska next summer. Having only 1 spare in the “Last Frontier'' would be just too risky with miles and miles of nothingness. But NOW is not the time to be needing tires. After hours of phone calls, we grew to learn just how bad the supply chain really is. In fact, NOW is the time to take the utmost care of everything you have since it could take months to get any replacements. Anyway, we had no luck in finding the Goodyear tire we wanted in Tucson; only a brand called Hankook. We’ll be picking that up on Friday.

Since we’re going to be in Napa in less than a week, we thought we’d put a call into our tire guy, Jay, from Napa Tire to see if they had any of the Goodyear Endurance tires. We couldn’t believe our luck. They had 7 left. Without hesitation, we asked if he could put 4 aside for us until we arrived next week. No problem. Our angel Jay!!

Now for the tires on our Mazda Miata which has been nicely stored at my mother’s the whole time we’ve been on this road trip. We have plans in January to store “Billie Jean” (the trailer) at a friend’s home for a few weeks while we head up to Oregon to see family and friends in the Miata, giving “Hank” (the truck) a much needed rest. But to make the road trip to Oregon, we need to get 4 new tires for that as well. Once again, I called a few dealers, including Costco, to try and get our hands on 4 new Michelin Pilot Sport All-Season 4 tires. We got the same response, even from Jay, our tire guy…...good luck! But he did recommend 2 good alternatives that he could order and have ready for us the first week of December…..Cooper or General tires. We’d never heard of either of them, so told him we wanted to do our own research and get back to him on Friday. They’re both very good tires, but they ain’t Michelins!! Jay also went on to explain how many of the tire manufacturers, since the pandemic, have halted production on many of their superior lines, producing more price-friendly alternatives and it looks like they won’t be ramping up production on their better quality tires until 2022. So in the meantime, it forces consumers to buy inferior tires which in the end compromises safety and produces a greater amount of waste with tires that have a minimal lifespan. And we’re just consumers. I can’t imagine how difficult it is for professional drivers, like truck drivers, to get what they need to keep on truckin’.

On our drive today, the skies were quite dramatic with a variety of rain storms visible in the distance. One in particular was on a stretch of Highway 10, prone to dust storms. Today, it was a mixture of dust and rain that thankfully wasn’t too violent. There have been numerous fatalities in this area over the years until recently. They have put in place a detection system which includes a weather radar that detects dust storms from miles away, alerting drivers to pull over or slow way down in the hopes of preventing pileups. Even farm owners who have cleared land in the area, can face fines if left unplanted too long.

We pulled into our campground before dark, just in time to see an amazing Arizona sunset. It’s so great to be back.

The familiarity is quite welcoming. While getting set up, we met a few friendly neighbors who, like so many, are snowbirding here until Spring. Wally, in his late 60’s I’d say and oh so tan, appears to live alone and is quite the tinkerer with his “work station” set up just outside his trailer. Our other neighbors gave us a “cheers” as they were enjoying their cocktail hour while admiring our trailer. I guess one of them is a Lance fan and was blown away with the size of our rig, not knowing that Lance made a 30-footer. Maybe a tour’s in order?

After we got all set up, it was time to start the Thanksgiving production… least the pie. I found a delicious recipe (well I hope it will be delicious) with homemade butter crust and an ingredient I’d never used before in pumpkin pie…..cream cheese! So stay tuned for our review!

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