Tag Archives: Rube Goldberg

Tires, Cons and Incompetence

It’s hard to know where to begin. I was thinking of starting at the end, but that might be courting disaster as this might not be the end so I’ll start in the middle. I have my technician standing by to help with the terminology.

Teddy bear cactus back lit by the setting sun.
Teddy bear cactus back lit by the setting sun.

Said technician was doing his usual fiddling and checking. We were parked in a beautiful Arizona desert campsite; we’d had a pleasant lunch in the sunshine and things were just a little too perfect so himself went looking for trouble. “I thought that tire looked a bit flat. It has a faulty valve. Can you hear it hissing?”


“Put your ear next to the valve.”

“I’m comfortable here.”


I grunted to upright, lumbered over to the wheel and grunted to a crouch. I heard it. “Is that the new tire they put on yesterday?”

“Yes and it wasn’t enough that we waited 2 ½ hours for them to even think about starting to put the wrong tires on.”

“No. It was the previous place that put the wrong tires on. They put the right tires on yesterday, then had to take them off and put the wrong tires on.”

A little background in case you think the desert heat had fried our brains: We had only done 8,000 miles towing the trailer when Jimmy noticed that the front pair of trailer tires was wearing, so we had them replaced in Natchez, Mississippi. The tire rating was slightly different but they would know what they were doing, wouldn’t they? Wouldn’t they?

A pretty picture to relieve my RV angst.
A pretty picture to relieve my RV angst.

About 1400 miles later, the rear tires showed considerable wear so they had to be replaced. This was done after much web searching in Yuma, Arizona for a reputable tire shop where the correct tires, i.e. crossplys were fitted. My technician, at this point, decided to ask the tire shop tech why they had fitted D rated tires when the front newish pair were R rated. You guessed it. Or maybe you didn’t. I’m lost too. But anyway. The first shop fitted radials in error so the correct crossplys had to come off to match the erroneous radials. We now have four radials on the trailer and a crossply spare.

WAIT! Don’t glaze over yet.

Another pretty picture completely unrelated to tires. I'm calling it pollution art.
Another pretty picture completely unrelated to tires. I’m calling it ‘Pollution Art.’

When we had a puncture in St Petersburg FL, Jimmy removed the flat tire with the Mecanno/Erector set jack we had on the Chevy and I had 40 fits when the hitch was about to topple off it’s block nearly planting the trailer nose down in the dirt. This time we made a stepped ramp with some bits of wood, LEGO-style, and towed the front wheel of the dual-axel up – bump, bump, bump – to get the rear wheel off the ground. It was marginally less precarious and much more Heath Robinson/Rube Goldberg (bilingual again!) than the spindly jack.

All went well after that, the valve was replaced in five minutes and we put the wretched thing back on in time for a slightly before the sun-over-the-yardarm glass of wine.

We’ve been stiffed all over the country with this trailer right from its purchase from a bunch of cowboys in Washington State who couldn’t even add up. The company manager couldn’t get his head ‘round the difference between a rebate and a deposit. He was convinced that one cancelled out the other. I had to explain to him that the two were added together and deducted from our purchase price. We were overcharged for the awning arm replacement just off the Interstate in Florida, overcharged for a service in San Antonio in Texas (where I suspect the guy did nothing at all but charged anyway) and were the target for a con in Wells NV.

Is the trailer jinxed?

Oh, by the way, this latest episode was in the town of Hope!

CIA helicopter keeping an eye on Jimmy. They're in cahoots with Border Patrol.
CIA helicopter keeping an eye on Jimmy. They’re in cahoots with Border Patrol.