Thanksgiving 2014–Travel from hell but worth it

Greetings folks,Tire damage shown

It’s really been a while since I have updated. Thought I’d give it a go with the trip up to Sioux City from Omaha this weekend.

Keep in mind, I’m safe, no real damage done to anything, but the following is true in every way I can think of.

Friday I started to travel toward Sioux City. I started early because I wanted to meet up with a friend, but not early enough to be honest. I get about 25 minutes away from Omaha and my vehicle starts shaking. Considering I’ve needed an oil change and back brakes for a long time now, I thought that it was one of those things. Turns out my back passenger tire blew out, the side of the thing shredded like a popped balloon. I got the spare tire out, a jack I didn’t even know I had (thankfully I did), then turned around and got it jacked up. Problem now was that I couldn’t get the tire off. Thankfully it was a day that it was above freezing in  Nebraska/Iowa. I’m sitting there kicking the tire, doing what I can to get the tire off without hopefully damaging my own body. It wasn’t coming off. Years of rust built up and cemented the thing.

Thankfully, George from Missouri Valley stopped, while I had a friend of mine on his way as well. This is a complete stranger that stopped for me as well. I want to take a moment and note that I try to stop, but rarely can help, when I’m on the road because people need help or like to be helped here and there. Thankfully I’m not alone. After a few minutes of trying to use a sign post that was in the grass next to the rode to hit the tire off, he decided to drive the ten minutes or so to get a proper hammer. When he returned, we got it off and the spare tire back on in minutes. I was on my way to Sioux City shortly after.

I get to Sioux City, visit my friend that I’m staying with and we have a good rest of the day. Not much productive accomplished, but still pleasant. The next day, we go to leave and I realize I don’t have any heat coming out of my vents. There is heat, but there’s no thrust behind it, sort of like when steam comes off a pan but goes nowhere. I’m thinking great, fan behind it or something isn’t working (there are other, more educated theories behind this, but my inexperienced non-mechanical mind things fan). At this point it went from 60’s to about 10 degrees in less than 24 hours. Normal for the region, but still miserable.

Alright time for me to return to Omaha on Sunday. I’m paranoid already for the two failures. I go check my tires, sure enough one was down to 10 psi. The others were low as well. As I was filling the last one, I noticed a slice like mark on a tire. I’m thinking, “Great, it’s going to blow on the way home, and I have no other spare.” I stopped by Sears, thinking I don’t have money and could possibly apply and receive a Sears credit card to get replacement tires and pay off the bill with my tax return. Automotive was closed. Sundays are not the best times to need any help. Either way, I decide to say oh well, nothing I can do. I start driving home.

The temp isn’t that great, 10 degrees again, high winds. I find out that if I hit a few bumps, I actually get some push behind my heat, and so it takes the edge off the cold for me. This makes it bearable, but I also am paranoid because of that slice on the tire. Really gambling here, because I don’t want the tire to pop, but HEAT! Oh well, I grit my teeth, keep driving at 55 miles per hour, because of my spare being a donut that shouldn’t be much higher than that. I’m monitoring my engine heat, just in case I’m low on coolant (thus lacking heat?). I get home fine.

A few things I want to mention at this point. My back brakes needed to be replaced (emergency brakes?) and I’m at least +500 miles on this oil, due for an oil change (scheduled for Tuesday), and now I need two tires, would like to replace the hub cap on the shredded tire (damaged it with the sign post), fix my heat, my power steering isn’t that great at retaining fluid, low washer fluid even though I just put some in, transmission has something wrong with it, and I’m missing knobs for my heat on the dashboard. After all repairs, I’ll have a brand new car effectively.

I debate selling it, but who says I’ll get better on the next car? Live and learn. I still consider the trip a success. Worrisome, but what’s life without worry? I’ve had a lot of fun.

How’d your Thanksgiving go? Not American? How about your general weekend? Or tell me about your worse travel experiences.