Heading south on hwy 101 from Eureka, our destination was Cloverdale Citrus Fair in Cloverdale. We motored along the twists and turns, climbs and descents of Hwy 101.
Suddenly, I heard a noise I knew wasn’t good…right front tire going flat. No shoulder to pull off on, I used my walkie talkie to let Todd and Janet know my predicament. They pulled over as far as they could and stopped and I pulled up behind them. I say we were pulled over as far as we could but we were basically sitting in one lane of traffic.
The scary part was this stretch of road went straight, then a couple of curves and heading downhill. The semis and cars were traveling a high rate of speed as they came around the corner to where we were sitting. I cringed watching the cars and trucks come around the corner and swerve into the other lane, having to break or speed up to avoid the people that were already traveling in that lane.
Todd walked back and put safety triangles in place and stood motioning for people to move over. The cell service was very spotty and calls for help kept getting dropped. Finally AAA (which told me they didn’t cover my RV) said they’d call CHP and let them know we needed help with directing traffic. Who showed up first was a fire truck and he helped by parking his truck with his lights going further back from the triangles.
Probably about an hour later a CHP officer showed up. He was really worried about where we were sitting (probably as much as we were!) saying that there were truckers that were drunk or on Meth and wouldn’t be able to maneuver their trucks over to keep from hitting us. He told me there was a pull out further down the mountain and to just drive slow on the flat tire. Todd and Janet led the way. As we got close to the turn out, the officer passed us and went across to stop the traffic to let us cross the northbound lanes to the pull out.
Officer Jessup was very helpful. He offered to call a couple of tow truck companies. Though when they were reached they said they had met their quotas for the day, or just really didn’t want to come out to help. We were over 40 miles away from the closest town. He then suggested a Les Schwab (even though he said he thought they were overpriced) from the next town south, Willits.
Officer Jessup stopped by again to see how we were doing and to offer a suggestion of using one of the dual tires to limp the RV into the next town if we didn’t want to buy a new tire and couldn’t access the spare. We chatted about how he wanted to RV when he retired and how he was impressed to run into people even in their 90s that were still traveling.
I called Les Schwab and they said they would send a truck out, and that it was $105 an hour. (we found out the tow trucks were $185 an hour so that was a bargain!). Todd tried to get my spare out (it’s stowed under the back end of the RV) but was unable to get it released, as I’m missing one piece of the tool that cranks it down.
When the fellow from Les Schwab got there he said he wouldn’t be able to get to the spare either so we’d have to replace the tire with the one he brought. The one I had drove on was ruined. Four hours later we were driving towards Willits so he could balance the tire. The total cost was close to $600.
I had bought my tires from Discount Tires, saving myself over $500, but I wonder if I wouldn’t have been better having bought from Les Schwab. I now have a Toyo tire on the right front, all the rest are Michelins.
One good thing is I did buy a replacement policy on those tires, they were bought new about 4 months ago. So they will pay me the replacement cost of what a Michelin tire would have been…hopefully it’s close to what I paid for the Toyo. Also, my RV insurance Progressive, may pay most, if not all of the service call. I’ll let you know what ends up happening. AND I will be looking to buy the piece I am missing for getting my spare down as soon as possible!
I just have to say how much I appreciated all the help that we received from Officer Jessup of the California Highway Patrol. Also, the fireman, whose name I didn’t get, that worked to keep us safe until the CHP got there. Of course, I also have to mention Todd and Janet Legg who risked their safety staying with me and directing traffic around where we were stranded.