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Unplanned Stops - Turning Lemons into Lemonade

Highway Tales
Article Date: March, 2012


As any seasoned RV owner knows, things don't always go according to plan. Breakdowns always seem to occur at the most inconvenient time and in the wrong place. Being sidelined throws a monkey wrench into your plans. Fortunately an RV owner is better equipped to deal with them than anyone else. After all, your house is with you so a delay isn't as bad as it is holed up in a less than spectacular motel some place. Plus, you might just discover something new that you didn't know existed.

We recently experienced one of those issues on our last trip. It was a windy day in South Dakota and we were driving down I-90 on our way back home to Wisconsin from Wyoming's Bighorn Mountains. The winds were affecting our fuel economy and we were just below a quarter tank so I decided to pull over into a large gas station at a remote exit to see if they had diesel fuel. I drove to the fuel island and cruised through at about 2 MPH checking to see if they had diesel fuel when a loud bang was heard. At first Leann thought that I didn't check my clearance and had hit the overhang but I knew that was not the case. I got out to take a look. The right side steer tire was flat and had blown. Fortunately, by the grace of God this happened at a crawl rather than the 70 MPH we were doing on the interstate. I then noticed a small office trailer adjacent to the fuel stop so I eased the coach away from the pump island and onto the gravel lot.

I then dropped the leveling jacks to take the weight off the tire and further inspected it. I carry plenty of tools along so I removed the tire and found a long tear in the inner sidewall where it had blown so this tire was history. I got on the phone to Coach-Net and they dispatched a service truck with a new tire but it would be a while until they arrived. Being bored we ate lunch and noticed that there was a shield on the side of the office trailer that looked like a National Park Service emblem. So we walked over and went inside and found that it was the office for the Minuteman Missile National Historical Site. After talking to the ranger inside we found out that we could tour the missile silo and underground launch facility the next day. We decided that our schedule was shot anyway so we took the tour the next morning and wrote an article about it, which appears on this website. The next day turned out to have severe wind alerts and the winds were downright deadly so we just hunkered down the next day and left the following day when the winds had dissipated.

Minuteman Missle Silo

RV owners are uniquely qualified to take advantage of these situations. RV travel has become popular enough that reservations are helpful but there is generally an RV park or campground in the area that will have room. If not, there's always truck stops and large parking lots that can be put to use in an emergency. The flexibility of RV travel just makes it one of the many benefits of this lifestyle.

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