Cathy and I were finally leaving San Antonio yesterday, on our way to Florida for the better part of 2 months before returning home here again. We have been joking recently that in odd-numbered years Texas seems to be like the "big black hole" that won't let us go, so even though it is October we were glad to be making a break for it.
WELL, we didn't even get to Houston when we almost had a major disaster! Let me set the scene for you: there we were, basically minding our own business, barreling down the highway in our RV at about 65 MPH, when all of a sudden and out of the blue BANG!, the loudest sound you ever heard inside a vehicle explodes right underneath me and we are now listing and careening to the right, out of control, and heading straight for the Jersey wall between the breakdown lane and the grass. (The Jersey walls are those concrete barriers on the side of the road.) I was on the phone talking when it happened, yelled something about Holy Crap! and hung up, looked over at Cathy driving, and realized it was taking a herculean effort on her part to try get control of the RV again. She was practically standing on the brake and had a vice grip on the wheel as she tried to pull the rig back to the left before we smashed into the wall. We didn't come to a stop for at least 1/4 mile down the road, so I am not exaggerating when I say it was the ride from hell!
In the 1st picture here you can see that we left a trail behind us for about a good 1/4 mile before we came to a stop. In the 2nd pic you can see 2 things: the majority of our right front tire is back near the group of cars, and the marks on the road where we swerved back out away from the walls--up closer where the car is by itself. The 3rd pic is just a better picture of how far we drove before coming to a stop.
So what is the wet stuff on the road? When we finally came to a stop, and before we could get out to see what happened, we immediately smelled something that I thought was burning rubber. So with hearts pumping and Cathy directly behind me, I opened the door expecting to see smoke from the tire or something, when instead we see that we are absolutely gushing diesel out of the RV. I yelled to Cathy that we had a major leak and to run for it in case it was going to blow up. Here is a video where you can see how close we are to the wall, the diesel still flowing (slower now) out of the bottom of the RV, and what is left of our tire. (I only took these pictures after ascertaining that the rig was not going to blow--haha!)
We were so close to the wall that Cathy and I actually jumped over it as we got out the door and ran to the back on the grass. Feeling a little safer, Cathy calls 911 and the Insurance company.
So the 1st to arrive was the Volunteer Fire Dept, followed by the Austin County Police. We were between 2 counties so they passed it off to the guy in the 3rd picture, Sheriff Davis of the Walla County Sheriff's Dept...I called him "Big Tex!"--haha Big Tex at 1st said he couldn't find us, but then he saw the trail of diesel and followed it for a good 1/4 mile till he caught up with us--haha.
Cathy and I assess the damage while we wait. What's left of the tire looks like Rastafarian Dread Locks, doesn't it? You can tell in the 2nd pic that the wheel well is all torn up inside.
And in these pictures you can see that the exploding tire completely tore out the connection and hose that leads to the gas tank underneath the RV. The 3rd pic shows the part of the connection that you usually place the gas nozzle into when pumping your gas. When Cathy opened the little door, the gas cap just fell out...nothing to hook onto anymore.
So "Big Tex" calls the local area heavy-duty towing company, Gregory's Towing, and they come to our rescue while he keeps traffic away from us. Their rig was really big, and I posted the 3rd pic here for my sister Ellen...it was named after you kiddo! haha That is Richard in the 4th and 5th pics and his brother Randy in the 6th...it is their family's company. (I told Richard I would make him famous so he is waiting for me to post this--haha.) It was pretty cool watching them hook us up...remember that the RV weighs in excess of 30,000 lbs.
It took a while, but they finally got everything hooked up and towed us down the road apiece to Holiday World RV, where they sell and repair RVs.
Fortunately, Holiday World has full hookups...water, sewer, electric for us to hook up to, because it looks like the "big black hole" of Texas has sunk its teeth into us good. Yesterday they told us it would be at least 1-2 weeks before all the repairs could be done, and then this afternoon they revised that to probably 3-4 weeks!!!! Good God!!! NOTHING LIKE SEEING THE COUNTRY, HUH?! haha (They have to get the wheel and tire fixed before they can drive the RV into the repair bay, and the wheel will take 2 weeks to get here...they must be rolling it instead of shipping it?)
Here we are trying to wash all the diesel off the RV, and today we took the car to the car wash to do the same. It will take a couple more washings on both to get it all off. You can see the diesel big time on the car windows.
And finally, a couple last pics. Here I am pointing out the violence with which the tire blew. Inside the RV, at the foot of the stairwell, is a night light. It not only blew the plastic cover off, it blew the light bulb clear out of the socket!!! I was sitting in that chair of course...felt like I was sitting on top of a canon!!!
And here are pics of our now-messy medicine cabinet and the kitchen table area where the drawer was yanked open and the chair toppled as Cathy wrestled with the RV.
So that was how we spent our vacation, how about you?