I got to within 70 or 80 miles of my goal today and heard a loud explosion. I pulled onto the shoulder of I-95 South, and sure enough, my right rear tire on the 5th wheel had blown. I made a call to Good Sam Emergency Road Service right away and was told help would be there between 90 minutes and 2 hours. Two and a half hrs later I called again to find out the tire service was only a few miles away. By this time the sun was going down and I don't drive well in the dark, so I was relieved that it only took a few minutes.
According to Good Sam I could have had my spare put on or purchase a new tire, and the tire man would bring the proper tire with him in case I decided to go with a new one. While I was waiting for the service to arrive, two very kind gentlemen drove up and offered to change the tire for me if I had the tool to get the spare down from where it is bolted. I had no idea and just opted to wait. When the tire service arrived he said it looked like I had to release the tire from somewhere inside the rig. At that point, with heavy traffic whizzing by and after waiting all that time, I opted to take the easy way out and buy the new tire. I believe I will soon be buying three more tires to round out the set, and I will definitely figure out how to release the spare so it can be checked.
When I was first making the call to Good Sam a state patrolman stopped and talked to me for a few minutes - he said I would be safe sitting inside the truck, but to buckle my seat belt and keep the flashers on. I can't believe he came by just when I needed to see a friendly face. And the kindness of two strangers made me feel good as well, although I ended up having to wait quite a while. The tire man, when he got there, got the switch accomplished pretty quickly. He also told me that from how the tire looks, it hit something, although I certainly didn't feel or hear anything other than the loud explosion.
I had a blow out once with a small car and it took a lot of effort to keep it under control and coast to a stop. This time, other than the noise, I wasn't sure what had happened. I briefly took my hands off the steering wheel (really, really briefly) thinking that if it was a tire I would feel the pull. The rig pulled a bit to the right, but there was absolutely no problem with controlling it, or with bringing it to a stop. I am certainly grateful for that.
With all that time to wait I phoned Natasha (Mary) who is now in Kansas City. She had told me about an RV park that would be on the way to Savannah should I need to stop, but she spent quite some time looking for alternatives for me, and since I was about 2 miles from SC Exit 33, she discovered a KOA at Exit 33! I know some folks think KOA is too expensive, and it sometimes is a little pricey, but a KOA has always been there when I've been close to rock bottom and really needed one. This was yet another of those times, so I can't say enough good about KOA.
And I can't say enough good about Natasha! I was ready to bawl when I reached her, and she just took hold and kept talking to me while trying to get info on where I could find an RV park close by. Friends like that are a treasure.
Back pedaling to yesterday afternoon, I decided to go ahead and try to hitch up. I had problems with it which I won't enumerate, but I ended up jogging down to the office to catch Rex as he was out the door and leaving for the day. God bless that man, he came back, solved the problems with the hitch, and hitched it up for me.
I realize I have been the recipient of a lot of kindness in connection with this oddysey of mine, and I can't express how much I appreciate it. But there comes a time when one has to ask "Why is this happening, and what is the message for me, or what am I to learn from it?" I am bombarding myself with these questions and when I figure it out I will certainly let you readers know. I don't think I should quit just yet, and while I would love to exchange this 5th wheel for a different kind of RV that would be easier for me, the economics of it are such that I probably couldn't afford something in a late enough model to warrant trying to change. So I will continue to ponder this dilemma and go deep into my heart to try to figure out what is the right thing for me to do. At least I will have three months at Fort Pulaski where I will be able to just park it - that is to say, if I can get the damn thing backed in properly!
As I mentioned to Natasha on the phone today, it's like the old gambler says - "you've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold em, know when to walk away, know when to run..." At this point I just don't know but it seems like it's between hold 'em and walk away.