March 31, 2010

Burnin' Rubber

On our way to California and once again we are delaying the home time pictures because there are more current events that should be shared.

It is roughly 1700 miles from Mount Pleasant, TX to Helm, CA. That is easily done in a day and a half of steady driving. We left Mount Pleasant yesterday around noon, and intend to be in Helm first thing Thursday morning.

A week ago, when we told Mark the broker that we wanted to go back to work on the 29th, he hinted that we might want to wait till after Easter weekend. This was not because he is a super religious person. He was insinuating that getting loaded the end of the week could be a challenge due to Good Friday. But we stuck with the 29th plan. We just didn't think our budget could afford two and a half weeks off, as lovely as that would have been. In retrospect, perhaps we should have taken the hint.

We've been burnin' rubber...figuratively and literally. The figuratively part is obvious, what with 1700 miles to do in a day and a half. But let me explain the literal part of that phrase.

Despite three good paying trips this week so far, I think I can safely say we haven't made any money, at least not much. We seem to be spending it as we go.

Yesterday I posted about Malcolm's encounter with the deer on Monday night. If you haven't been filled in on that one, read the post below this one.

One would have expected that one troubling event would be all for the week. After all, we seem to have pretty good luck (overall) and rarely have more than one catastrophe at a time. We're lucky that way (usually). But then there is that saying that my sister reminded me of months ago, troubles come in threes.

Yesterday evening sometime between 5:00 and 6:00 I was driving while Malcolm laid down for some rest. I had come about 200 miles and we were in a pretty part of Texas, with a pretty sunset about to be in the works. I was enjoying my audio book and the scenery when something caught my eye. It looked like a bird or something flying towards the truck from the left. I still don't know what it was, but it was a good thing I noticed it, because I glanced in the mirror just in time to see little pieces of black stuff go flying all over the road. I thought at first "Oh I've killed that poor bird." But then as the pieces continued to fly out from under the rear of the trailer I realized it wasn't a bird.

You know how they say that bad things seem to happen in slow motion. What happens in a few seconds seems like it was much longer. I think it truly is that way, because I remember watching this go on for a while and the sudden realization that it was pieces of the trailer tire or mud flap or something, and then having to get slowed down and off the road. But really it was in a very short length of time, because those pieces I'd seen flying were on the road just behind us when I got stopped.

It turned out to be the trailer tire.

Let me pause here to reflect on a post a did back last summer when we were getting the new truck. I discussed the tires and the reasons we had chosen to get "super singles" this time verses the normal dual tires. Well...you can throw all those reasons out the window. It wasn't worth it. We'll never ever ever have super single tires again, and probably will get rid of these as soon as we can!

Had we had duals on we could have limped along, but with the singles we were stranded on the side of the highway, 20 miles west of Gainesville, 40 miles from the nearest tire service center, a long way from Helm, CA.

It took the service truck 3 hours to get to us, but eventually, and about $1500 later, we were pulling back on the road.

Neither of us had been able to sleep white we waited. Malcolm had been up since 10:00 the night before with only a 30 minute nap, but was worked up over things and so sleepless. I'd been up since 6:00am, but since I'd had some sleep during the night (and drank an energy drink) I wasn't able to sleep either. So after the tire was fixed, we drove to Wichita Falls, got some dinner, it was almost midnight, and then laid down for a few hours. I got up at 6:00 this morning to drive.

Still had time to get to California early Thursday. We were just going to have to push harder and throw our attempt to get good fuel mileage to the wind. Speaking of wind...its been blowing hard all day and we're driving straight into it.

Wednesday has been a beautiful day. Sun shining, 75 degrees, gorgeous morning...except the wind. I drove all the way to Amarillo and was just getting on the interstate when I glanced in the mirror and something didn't look quite right back there. Malcolm woke up about the same time, maybe because I hit the rumble strip on the shoulder when I was looking in the mirror, and since I needed to stop for a break anyway, I pulled off the next exit and into a truck stop.

The mudflap had been whipping around in the wind and had gotten slung up on top of the rear tire. So I pulled it out, went inside for a minute, and then we rolled on down the road, me driving and Malcolm returning missed phone calls from the passenger seat.

We got to the other side of Amarillo and I looked in the mirror and something didn't look quite right back there...the mudflap was up on the tire again. I pulled off on the shoulder and Malcolm went back and pulled it out. On we went.

About 5 miles later I looked in the mirror and something didn't look quite right back there. Apparently, because the mudflap had gotten thrown up on the tire when the tire blew last night, it now wanted to be there permanently.

So for the 3rd time I pulled off on the shoulder and Malcolm went back to fix it.

4th time

5th time and this time it was starting to wear a hole in the mudflap

Sometime after the 5th time, when Malcolm assured me it was definitely staying put this time because he had tied it, I got distracted by a conversation we were having and forgot to check it in the mirror.

The 6th time we pulled over it had been up there long enough that it had burned the mudflap nearly in two.

Obviously at this point the mudflap is a total loss, but its still an issue because this is also rather hard on the tire.

7th time

This time Malcolm, amidst cursing and shaking his fist (not really), stomped to the back of the trailer and took the mudflap weight off, which is that shiny thing at the bottom of the weight (refer to one of the above pictures or the mudflap) that is supposed to keep it hanging down and straight.

We stopped a total of 7 times in a 60 mile stretch, loosing about an hour of time in the process. But I guess the weight was the trick. Its still flapping around back there like a crazy flag, but its staying off the tire and that's what counts for now.

We've made it to New Mexico and still hope to be in Helm, CA tomorrow morning, though maybe not quite so early. Fingers crossed! Maybe, if trouble truly does come in threes, the insane mudflap is the third thing, and if so then that's fine with me. Its more of a nuisance than anything else. It has definatly made for a long morning!

To end, I once again turn to my girls who always make us smile....Ella fixed her hair yesterday. She's practicing to be Alfalfa for Halloween this year.

And a couple days ago they had twins at the ranch. I hate that I missed them. I've never seen twin calves before. And look...a red one and a black one, both heifers. Too sweet!


Jim Fisher said...

That sucks. You got a interesting story from it, but I know you wish different.

Meagan said...

I certainly hope that's all the "bad" stuff for a while! When it rains, it certainly pours! :-) Miss you so much... I am so excited about our approns! I can't wait to post a pictures of them (after I take one, lol) LOVE YOU!

small farm girl said...

I think I would be getting rid of the super singles too. They have caused you nothing but trouble.

Here's hoping that all the troubles are behind you. Oh wait, they always were behind you. lol

Be safe.

Shirley said...

Man that must have been annoying! Have a safe trip, and let's see those home pics!

ACountryCowgirl said...

I hope things get better from here!!! We had some trips like that when we were driving and it seemed like all hell broke loose all at once, and is sooooo frustrating, but now we look back and have stories to tell:) But is soooooooooo maddening at the time:) May the LORD bless you:)

Meagan said...

Hey - you picked my favorite picture too! (The one of Lily stepping into the water.) Of all the pictures that was my #1 fav!!