This is an excerpt from the upcoming Home Run On Wheels book.
The San Gabriel mountains provide a gorgeous backdrop for LoanMart Field – the home of the Dodgers Single-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. I enjoyed my visit to the quaint stadium that seats about 6,600 people. When the game was over, we headed toward our RV park in Orange. We should have arrived around 11:30 p.m. It was nearly 4 a.m. before we got there.
It is a long drive from Vallejo to Rancho Cucamonga and somewhere along the way, one of our tires had picked up a nail. It was the rear inside tire on the passenger side. As that tire deflated, the outside tire absorbed the weight of our 20,000-pound rolling home and blew. We first smelled burning rubber; then we heard the pop and I asked, “What was that?”
“I don’t know,” Patti replied.
A few seconds later, we heard the rumbling of the blown tire on the Highway 57 freeway. That is one of the worst sounds you can hear while rolling down a highway in an RV. We were thankful we purchased Tyron bands to go on the tires for this very reason. The bands allow the driver to maintain control of the motorhome and avoid an accident in case of a flat tire. I don’t even want to imagine what might have happened without those steel bands.
I was in the second-from-right lane and put the signal on to move over, but nearly clipped a car that was trying to pass on the right after I flipped the turn signal. The vehicle backed off and I pulled onto the shoulder. Fortunately it was wide enough to fit the RV. We had roadside assistance, so I called the number after going outside to see that we did indeed need a new tire. I couldn’t tell if we needed two. One new tire and roadside installation would set us back $800. I was praying we didn’t need two. We were only 10 miles away from the RV park.
We waited about an hour and I called again for an estimated time of arrival. I was told about 40 minutes. Another hour went by. I called again. There was an issue finding a tire, but the driver was now on his way. Patti and I tried to rest a bit – her on the bed and me on the couch. Patti even worked on some of our stadium reviews – sitting at the dinette as the sound of vehicles cruising past us shook the RV. A vehicle pulled up behind us.
“Finally,” I exclaimed and opened the door, only to be greeted by a pair of California Highway Patrolmen.
“Everything OK?” one of the officers asked.
“We got a flat tire and are waiting for someone to come out to change it,” I said as I exited the vehicle.
I pulled out my phone and used the flashlight app to show them what had happened.
“Someone’s on their way?” the same officer asked.
“Yes,” I replied.
“OK. Be careful,” he said and the two returned to their vehicle.
About 20 minutes after the cops pulled away, our tire technician arrived. I showed him what had happened and he went to work. I used the RV’s leveling jacks to raise the vehicle and he removed both rear passenger tires. The outside tire was shredded. After removing the inside tire, he discovered the culprit – the aforementioned nail. He was able to remove the nail and repair the hole (thank God). It took about an hour from the time of his arrival until we got back on the road. Ten minutes later, we pulled into the Orangeland RV Park. I hooked up the water and electric, but that was it. We had to go to bed.
Our trip to see the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes had been costly – literally. Fortunately, we had tire insurance and eventually got reimbursed – though it took a couple of months. Life’s all about the stories. We now had another memorable one.
We saw the Quakes parent team a couple nights later. Yasmani Grandal delivered a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th to give the Dodgers a 6-4 win over the Brewers. While Dodger Stadium is expensive, it was Dollar Dog night so we were at least able to load up on Dodger Dogs for only a buck.