We were on the road at 6:30 am. It's 589 miles to Bismark, ND which is where we planned on spending our third night. However after the 130 mile setback yesterday and our growing weariness of traveling, we'll see how far we get.
We were rolling along well and had covered about 300 miles by 11:30 am. We went almost non-stop. taking only one short break at a rest area along the way. I'm starting to think that we will make it to Bismark today as GPS is saying we'd be there by about 6:00 pm. That's doable and it gets us back on track.
But no. KABOOM!!! One of the tires we bought last year at Les Schwab exploded on the right side of the fifth wheel. I looked in the right mirror just in time to see a plethora of shit flying down the freeway. I pull over and inspect the damage. The whole right rear of the trailer is now missing metal. The tire pulled some wiring out and one of our electrical outlets has been pulled through the wall on the inside. Denise is so frustrated that all she can do is go into the trailer and lie down. I suck it up, change the tire, cut the wires, and bend the metal back into some resemblance of its original form so we can continue. What else can one do? I also shut off the propane as one of the lines leading to the water heater is crimped. I don't think it's leaking because I can't smell any gas but I don't want to take the chance. Denise would be happy if the whole fucking thing burned to the ground...
An hour later we're back on the road. I stop at the next town, Miles City, MT for fuel and inquire about a tire shop. The eighteen year old girl at the counter looked at me as if she had never even seen a tire before. Thus with no help, I decide to just take the rig up to the next town, Glendive, MT, just 76 miles away and setup at an RV park where we stayed in 2002. Then I can take just take the tire into town and have it replaced while Denise stays in the comfort of the campground.
27 miles to go to Glendive. KABOOM!!! The other fucking Les Schwab tire blew. Those bastards at Les Schwab told me these tires were even better than the steel belted sidewalls I really wanted but they didn't have in stock. I've been running these Michelins on one axle for around 4 years now and they have never had a problem. I only got about 6000 miles out of the inferior Schwab brand. Oh, and if you thought the right side of the trailer was damaged, you should see the left.
We have no spare. There's nothing else to do but take the first blowout that is in the spare carrier to Glendive. I unhook the fifth wheel from the truck and leave it and the boat on the side of the freeway. Then I get the spare out and throw it into the bed of the truck. And we're out of water now after spending two nights in the rig without being able to refill. I had intended to get more at the RV park in Columbus, MT but since we didn't make it, I wasn't able to add any water. So my hands are filthy and there's nothing I can do about except wipe them with a rag. Fine. We head to Glendive.
I decide to take the first exit and just start driving through town. Right off the freeway is Joy's Glendive Service and they have a truck tire shop in the back. We pull in and I explained our situation. These guys were great! They had some tires that are specially requested by the oil company rigs that haul heavy pipe but I wanted the steel belted sidewall Michelins that have served me so well. They called the local tire distributor but no Michelins in stock. However they did have some Yokohamas that were a step up from the ones Joy's had in stock. I wanted the best I could get so I settled on the Yokohamas. The owner himself picked up the tires and was back in 20 minutes.
Bob was the mechanic that mounted the first tire on the spare which I had brought. Then he fired up the service truck (which, appropriately, was a converted ambulance) and we followed him out to where I'd left the trailer and boat. He blocked off the right lane and with his on board air compressor, had the tire changed in about 10 minutes. Then he took the next bad tire and headed back to the shop.
Meanwhile, I hooked up the truck to the trailer and pulled the whole rig back to Joy's. Bob had already mounted the other tire on the rim and had it on the trailer in no time. We were so appreciative we gave him a $20 tip and told him to enjoy a few beers on us. I think he was shocked. He gave us a business card and wrote his personal cell number on it in case we had any more trouble.
So now it's 4:00 pm and there's still 450 miles left to Ten Mile Lake. We decided to get another 100 -150 miles down the road before calling it quits for the day. Bob tells us Dickinson, ND is about 100 miles down the road and is a fair sized town where we should find an RV park. But after that, the next large town is Bismark, ND, about an additional 120 miles. We decide Dickinson will suit us just fine.
We get to Dickinson but see no RV parks and no signs for any along the freeway. We decide that instead of going on a wild goose chase by getting off the freeway, we would just continue on toward Ten Mile Lake and take the first RV park we found. We'd even be willing to camp in a rest area if we could find water. We try a rest area further down the road but there was no water available to fill the trailer.
Oh well, it looks like it's going to be Bismark. Just 60 miles to go and we're both exhausted. We've been on the road since 6:30 am and it's already after 8:00 pm. We hit the western edge of Bismark but there's still no sign of an RV park. Bismark has 4 exits. Finally just before the last exit we see a sign for a KOA campground. We both hate KOAs because they are way over priced for what you get but this one is an oasis. We gladly paid the $32 for a site in a field that only had water and electrical hook-ups. It was 9:00 pm. We went to bed almost immediately.
Comments, Praise, Complaints?