Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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No, not tired as in sleepy, although I certainly was that yesterday after having had nearly no sleep the night before and therefore having gone to bed around 3:30 PM. In this case this is a tale of a tire. Aside from one hour of work from 4:30-5:30 AM this morning, I had the rest of the day off. We had some plans to get away early to do grocery shopping in Reno, but my minvan (more specifically the right front tire) had other ideas.

Flat Tire

When I went out to refill the bird feeder, this is what I found.

Now the tire was under warranty from Big O, and I have a mini-spare, but I really don't like driving long distances at speed on it. I could use the Rolling Stone, but the chassis battery was dead, and we'd not been in any hurry to replace the battery because we didn't need to use it. (The last time I even refilled the fuel tank was last March.) I told Lisa about the tire. She pondered a bit and worked out a plan that didn't require her to do a whole bunch of additional fiddling with her pickup truck, which at the moment will only hold her and Kuma Bear due to stuff she has installed in the passenger seat.

The first step of the plan required that we get the mini-spare and jack out of the back of the Astro. It's been years since we last had to do that, but at least I remembered how to get the hatch cover off where the tools are located, and there are instructions. I lowered the mini-spare from its storage location underneath the rear of the van, chocked the diagonally opposite wheel, and unlimbered the jack.

Jacked Up

After slightly loosening the lug nuts, Lisa engaged the jack on the front right hard point and cranked the tire off the ground, then removed the lug nuts. It was at this point that we discovered that the lug nuts that Big O installed when we last replaced the tires are not quite the same size as the lug wrench. Fortunately, Lisa has a socket that is the correct size. We may need to replace the lug nuts with OEM standard sized ones.


It was pretty obvious what was wrong with the tire.

Mini Spare

The last time we needed the mini-spare was 2008 when we had a flat in Wells NV on our way to the Denver Worldcon. We hadn't bought the house in Fernley yet. Fortunately, the mini-spare had held pressure and went on easily.

With the mini-spare in place, Lisa unhooked the dead battery from the RV and I lifted it into the battery-transport box she has. We then drove over to O'Reilly Auto Parts and turned it in toward the core charge on a new battery. Lisa installed the new battery and the RV started up without a problem. I put the flat tire inside the RV, and we drove to Sparks.

At Big O, we presented them with the tire, and told them that we were going shopping and would be back in a few hours. That way we neither had to worry about infection risks from sitting around their lobby or boredom from sitting in the Rolling Stone.

Repaired Tire

We did our errands and returned to find the hole filled and patched and ready to go. I rolled it out to the RV and we headed for home.

Shortly after picking up the repaired tire from Big O, while sitting at the light on southbound Pyramid Way waiting to turn onto east I-80, I witnessed a nasty traffic incident that happened in the very lane in which I'd been driving only 30 minutes earlier when we came off east I-80 to turn left (north) onto Pyramid Way. A white pickup truck (alas for me not getting a better description) came boiling down the off-ramp, smashed into the rear of a small car that then pinballed off the car in front of it and spun around. (These two vehicles were stationary, as their light had only just turned green.) The pickup truck, with significant front-end damage but still mobile, then drove around them, went through the intersection (and past me), heading north on Pyramid Way. The middle car in that three-car sandwich looked badly damaged. I sure hope the driver was buckled up, but Lisa figures whoever was in that car must have been injured no matter what.

I grabbed for my phone, but grabbed the wrong one and not only couldn't get a picture, but didn't have the presence of mind to try and spot the license plate. The lights then turned green in my favor and I couldn't see any safe place to go other than to head onto the freeway and home. I had to assume that someone else closer to the accident would call 911.

When we got home, I called the Sparks Police Department and gave my contact details, but I wasn't able to get the key information they need: the license plate of the hit-and-run vehicle. All I could confirm was that the truck had sustained front-end damage. They probably won't need me any further, but I still feel bad about it because I was probably the best possible witness for what they needed.

By the time we got home, it was nearly dark and getting very cold. We unloaded the groceries, but left the repaired tire in the RV and will swap it back into place tomorrow, as we're not going anywhere else tonight.
Tags: astro, minivan, rolling stone, rv

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