After months of preparation it was time to take our trailer on the road! We were headed to Premier Dog Show (UKC's largest event) in Kalamazoo, Michigan. We had invited my sister, Kay to come and experience a dog show with us. Anticipation ran high the morning of June 13th, 2013; Rob had loaded the last item into the trailer; our grooming tub and the door was shut.......ever sat on a suitcase to snap the locks shut....that was us...pushing on the door to get it locked! Okay, not really but it looked that way from all the stuff we had shoved in there!
Everyone climbed into the SUV, Kay was sharing the back seat with Sienna and the other poodles were snug in their kennels. Rob started the engine and slowly moved forward, our loaded to gills trailer moved in line behind us.......we were Off! Energy filled the air of the car, Kay was excited to finally experience first hand a real dog show. Rob and I were floating... to show at Premier! Dreams come true! Rob was showing Indigo for the first time.....their coming out soiree!
Miles ticked away and we settled into a rhythm in the car. Kay reading magazines and sharing tidbits on occasion; Rob and I chatting about our excitement and nerves. It's a seven hour journey from our home in Iowa to Kalamazoo, MI. The hardest part of the trip is the Chicago traffic and merging the two major interstates there. You can tell as you get near Chicago, traffic builds, lanes increase and the cars drive faster. This was our first experience maneuvering in busy traffic with our 28' trailer in tow. Everything seemed smooth, and then the road conditions changed! We went from smooth ride to a wash board! Car and trailer bouncing up and down! Rob slowed but it only made it worse.....cars flew by with their horns blaring! Rob speed up and it continued.......your teeth chattered and no one could talk without sounding like you were talking into a fan! There was 20 minutes of wash board road and I kept envisioning all that stuff crammed into the trailer.....bouncing everywhere. I could see my cabinet doors flying open and all my new corelle dishes shattered on the floor or my refrigerator doors popping open and all that food smeared everywhere! Nightmare!
Rob was thinking that we had a problem with the trailer and was anxious to pull off.....but where! There isn't any place on the shoulder with room for all 46+ feet of car and trailer. Besides you've seen the debris of rubber tread along the interstate.....NO WAY was my declaration! Keep going it's not the trailer or our car; I had observed, semi's were bouncing too. Rob reluctantly kept going....Kay sat nervously in the back seat, trying not to get sick......she'd been snacking for the last hour.
As we merged onto I-294 the rattling stopped! My eyeballs were still bouncing in my head but we could finally talk with out the vibration of our voices. Now it was time to find a place to pull off. All that jarring ..... time to walk and have a potty break for dogs and humans alike! The perfect spot gleamed before us......Bass Pro Shop! Huge parking lot, green space and bathrooms! Such a site we were.....gingerly getting out of the vehicle, our feet numb from the vibration of the past 20 minutes...........It's like walking on a pin cushion! Everyone, dogs too had to stretch and have a bite to eat. Refreshed.................
On the road again! Only 3+ hours to go........Kalamazoo or BUST! Kay was to be our, happy hour planner for the camping trip. She shared as we drove her menu and her anticipation of all she would see and experience there. Just as we crossed the Michigan border there was road construction, slowing our journey and the extending the arrival time.
"Anticipation is part of the journey', Kay was saying...................BANG! THUMP! THUMP! I quickly check my mirror................."Pull OVER NOW!" I scream to Rob. Kay is panicked as she can see in my side mirror as well. Our tire on the trailer had exploded!
Rob slowed and pulled off quickly. I jump out to survey the damage.....no way were we going anywhere! I looked around......of course we are in the middle of no where! Traffic whizzed by....Rob made his way to the back and looked bewildered at the tire. How did it peel off like that? Now what! Kay climbs out and says, 'I have AAA!' She should have been wearing Victoria Secret Angel wings and a halo at that moment!
She gets on her cell and calls the 800 HELP number. Explaining our blight.....what? they can't help! We need RV coverage, which she doesn't have! Ever resourceful sisters, she gets tow truck information and I call AAA and sign up for the RV coverage! Yes, we killed two birds with that stone!
While we are waiting, once again that light bulb goes off over my head in the cartoon bubble. We have a spare tire! It's under the cover on the back of the trailer.....we just need a jack to put it on. Problem.....it's buried under dog kennels in our car. As we debate what to do, the traffic continues to stream by.....no one stops. What happened to good Samaritans! I'm sure they saw that trailer flat and the wife said, 'Keep moving! GO..GO! Don't stop!'
Actually the tow truck arrived within 30 minutes, not to bad! They took one look and said, 'Well we have good news. We can get that flat changed in 10 minutes! Bad news is......ALL your tires are rotten!' WHAT! No WAY! 'yup', the man in suspenders states.....and he shows us all the cracks in the rubber. 'Those are the original tires.........lasted a long time too', he says with awe.....well that's a matter of opinion!
Now what! We only had one spare. While the one guy changes the tire the other tells us, 'Well these here tires are special order. Only a one place you might be able to get them and its the RV store 1 1/2 hour up the road.' Great! Kay goggles the address and phone number, while Rob pays the tow truck boys. Climbing into our wounded rig.....what do we do? It's hot and the rubber on the remaining tires is rotten. Russian Roulette ........ there weren't any options at this point. So I make the profound statement to "Drive S-L-O-W!" Rocket science right!
You could have heard a pin drop as we made our way; snail pace, down the interstate. At the first rest area we pulled off to cool down those dang tires. Walked around the trailer, Sherlock Holmes had nothing on our eyes of observation! Heads together.....'does that crack look bigger?' While we wait for the tires to cool, the dogs get a shade break and I call ahead to the RV store looking for tires. First place........no sorry we don't have that size in stock....special order only we can get them in a week! My mind screams....'NO!' next shop.....same reply.....special order and we can have them on Monday. "Wait! that works! I'll take them!" I excitedly tell the salesman. Now to break the news to Kay and Rob.
Rob had nothing on Desi with his response! "Monday! Monday! We still have to get to Kalamazoo!" In my best Lucy interpretation I spin my idea! "We'll drive really, really slow to Kalamazoo. Do Premier and when we leave on Monday, we will just swing by and have them put on the new tires!" Voile' Do you know that, 'You have lost your mind look!' That was the look I got from both Rob and Kay. Like that red head.....I WAS determined! I am going to Premier, and nothing was stopping me! Not those old rubber tires!
What should have taken 3 hours to drive took us 5. Every bump in the road you could hear us gasp in a breath.....then exhale when no tires blew! Pulling into the Kalamazoo Expo Center was like reaching heaven! We made it ................... ALIVE!
Pulling into our campsite, climbing from the car..... we all wanted get on our knees and kiss the ground! We made it! Kalamazoo..... or BUST....took on a whole new meaning!