The Colorado River was still flowing heavily through Glenwood Canyon and Sandy got some good photos. I have to wonder if this rush of water is ever going to slow down. Then we started to cross the Rockies, first climbing to over 10,600 feet through Vail Pass (where they were repaving at the summit) and then to over 11,000 through the Eisenhower Tunnel under Loveland Pass. The motorhome spent a lot of time in lower gears both climbing and descending. Then it was down to Denver where we caught I-76 east and I hoped that life would get a little less interesting for a while.
But it didn't. About 30 miles out of Denver on rough I-76 in significant heat, an SUV pulled up beside us pointing frantically down, a sure fire sign to an RVer that something has gone wrong. I pulled off on the paved shoulder and we could immediately smell burnt rubber. The right side trailer tire had blown to the extent that the outer sidewall was gone. Luckily, the inner sidewall held together but only due to the warning from the other vehicle. There was no alarm from the tire pressure sensor but then there was no tire pressure sensor, either. Or valve stem. I believe the rubber stem failed and flew off taking the sensor with it before it could send a message to the monitor. Lucky for us it didn't happen in the mountains where options to pull over are very limited.
We had a spare tire and my plan was to use the rear stabilizing jacks and the front crank jack to get the tire off the ground just like I do for bearing greasing. Unfortunately, my plan didn't take into account that, with the wheel down on the rim, there was no way the rear stabilizer leg could be lowered. I got out my Good Sam Roadside Assistance card and phoned the toll free number, giving a whole lot of information to the man on the other end. He put me on hold for a minute and then got back informing me that help would be there withing 55 minutes. In fact, Jeff from C&J was there within 15. He got his jack and changed the tire, also noting that it looked like we had a leaking inner wheel bearing seal from the build-up of grease on inside of the rim. Tire changed, we were on our way within an hour of the blowout. Thanks Good Sam and Jeff for reducing what seemed like a real problem to a minor inconvenience.
I-76 was choppy all the way to Nebraska and I-80, although they were working on the last section of the road. Hitting I-80, the wind was gusting out of the south again denying me the coveted tailwind. There was also a severe storm being tracked heading east over Oshkosh, Nebraska. It was behind us so we decided to run as far as we could today to stay ahead of it.
There was, as usual, not much interesting to see across Nebraska on I-80 but that is the way I like it in the RV. We got the obligatory photo of the Great Platte River Road Archway near Kearney and fueled at Grand Island before finding the WalMart in York for the night. This lot was jam packed with motorhomes, trailers and fifth wheels. I talked to a man from Iowa in a Class A gasser who had blown a dually tire the week before. The flailing rubber had taken out the drive shaft and several underneath parts of his RV, an expensive proposition.
WalMart had the exact 15" Goodyear tire we needed but we also required a new rim and the department was closed for the night. We decided to stop at another tomorrow further down the road and see about getting a replacement. I moved the RV out of the lee of a large Featherlite unit to allow a breeze to flow through the windows, which helped combat the oppressive heat and humidity. We had the interior battery powered fan going and managed to get to sleep at a reasonable hour.
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