A Barn Spike & A Blowout!

I’m tired of tires!

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Charlie is sick of the hassle too! 

After we left our second BLM camping oasis in the middle of Wyoming, we had a camper tire blow out in Nebraska… We didn’t feel a thing!img_8108

I just so happened to need the bathroom so we pulled into a rest area. For once, Allen didn’t complain about my tiny bladder, and I don’t think he ever will again! I went inside to do my biz and it smelled HORRIBLE like burnt rubber… I came back out to the truck and asked Allen to come take a whiff. He got to the door of the camper and just looked at me while pointing to an empty rim with little shreds of rubber dangling from it. Oh. THAT’S where the smell came from! Haha! img_8110
We stuck the weirdly worn down original tire (that we changed in Idaho, 2,548 miles ago) back on the camper and hobbled down the highway about 10 miles to Nebraskaland Truck & Tire. They had just closed for the night so we boondocked in the not-so-scenic parking lot & waited until they opened at 7 the next morning. img_8111

We got a new tire put on the spare rim and were back on the road by 7:50… Not too shabby! Thanks Nebraskaland for your quick service.

We headed east on I-80 and FINALLY got to stop at the Iowa 80 Truckstop, “the largest Truckstop in the world”! It was everything I thought it would be and more! It’s a trucker’s paradise, the Disneyland of truck stops. We got the camper washed right off rip because it was absolutely filthy… No line, no wait, $53 and we were shiny and clean! Then we fueled up and Allen snagged us a nice end spot so we could open the slides. I caught a couple Pokemon when we headed out to explore the many offerings of the Iowa 80 Truckstop. I really wanted these grass flip flops and Allen really, really wanted this train horn for the truck, but it just wasn’t in the budget. The horn is about $20 cheaper on Amazon so we might still get it one of these days! We had a delicious buffet dinner then went to hang out with Chaz and let her play in real Midwest grass. (That’s a rarity for her with where we go most of the time…) 

Leaving the amazingness of Iowa 80, we had less than 300 miles to Elkhart Campground. We thought we’d get there early in the afternoon and get some time to actually relax, but it was storming on the toll road and construction was backing traffic up, so we lost quite a bit of time in that *** debacle. (Allen said I can’t write what I originally wanted to call that mess!)img_8143img_8147

We had an appointment with Lippert Components first thing Friday morning thanks to Emily hooking us up! They made sure the Correct Track was aligned properly and replaced the front 8k# axle (it may have had a bent spindle, possibly causing the tire problems, but there’s no way to be sure exactly what it was).

They also adjusted our brakes, apparently we are supposed to do that occasionally-we had no clue. Emily synced our slide motors on the Schwintek Slide that has been screwy since day one. I never knew how to do it, but once she showed me it’s a piece of cake. The slide is working better than ever now.

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It was pretty warm outside! 

They had us in and out of there in less than 4 hours total, which I think is pretty awesome! While we were there waiting, we saw two Amish horse-drawn buggies go down the street!

Lippert is teaming up with Grand Design to make customer service a lot easier, we got a new business card that’s hot off the press with the joint email and contact info… Pretty awesome if you ask me. I think this move is definitely going to be good for both companies. Lippert has always been great to deal with from our experience and this time I think they went above and beyond to help us out and we are extremely grateful! (We’ve dealt with them one other time when we had to replace a valve on our hydraulic jacks.)img_8211

We took the camper back to Elkhart Campground (running over a nail somewhere along the way-more about that in a sec.) and had just enough time to make it over to the Grand Design factory for a tour. Logan was the first guy we met, he seemed to have done some research and knew a little about us and our camper so that was a nice, personal touch. Ray Clark took us and one other couple, potentially future Grand Design owners, on a tour.img_8171

We got to see the build process from the frame on up. It was pretty neat to see how they frame them and build the walls. The front cap has an aluminum cage or frame which separates Grand Design from their competitors (among lots of other things.) Allen got to see the Momentum 376th in person finally, as well as the same model but a Solitude version, which has a window in the front cap that I like. Allen really likes that layout but I’m vetoing because there’s no way we could ever fit a Smart car in that tiny garage!

After the factory, we got to meet Bill Martin finally. I’ve talked to him a couple times on the phone and online so it’s nice to get to put a real live face to a name! We almost got to see a brand new Momentum model that they haven’t even released yet. I don’t even think the prototype is all the way complete. I promised I wouldn’t reveal any secrets on the Facebook Grand Design Owners page, but it might have a completely new and different layout than all the other Momentums and possibly the ramp door might be very much improved… But I don’t know that!!! 

Saturday morning we were scheduled to get all new tires on the camper. (We wanted to wait until our axle was fixed before making the investment). We got up early and went out to hook the camper up on the truck when we noticed that “nail” in the tire I mentioned earlier. It was totally flat so we pumped it up and made a b line to Discount Tire. img_8200They had 6 brand new Goodyear g614rst tires waiting for us! So we had those swapped out and had them rotate the truck tires also.

The guy brought out the “nail” aka barn spike at one point and said THAT was what was in the tire! Crazy! img_8206

So we are currently on our way to Cincinnati to visit family and so far, 130 miles into the trip, the tires are doing great. We can tell they are a little harder or tougher than the Westlakes from how the camper bounces and they seem to be a little louder. They have almost no rolling resistance, which I found out means they roll down the highway a lot easier, giving greater fuel mileage and making the tires last a lot longer. I think they’ll pay for themselves in the long run. We are already up a mile per gallon since we left, and we are going a little faster than normal!

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