Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

I-25 eats tires

Of course, that “little” road trip might have had something to do with it, too

As regular readers of this blog already know, Pat and I are taking care of a car for my brother Jerry, of Muddled Ramblings. We’re to keep the car sheltered from the elements in our garage, and to take it out “once every couple of weeks” to keep it from deteriorating.

Today, Pat and I planned to go to Elephant Butte to sail with Zorro, while Tadpole wanted to stay in Albuquerque and go to the big 4th of July fireworks extravaganza with some of his friends. Let’s see … two people, not three, going 150 miles to the lake, with no need to tow anything around: Take the truck that gets 15 MPG, or the car that gets 40? So we piled our sailing kit bags and a very small ice chest (the merely small one wouldn’t fit in the trunk) of beverages into the Miata and took off.

Then, around mile marker 178 (yes, that’s just four miles from Tadpole’s adventure last week), we heard a strange noise coming from the right rear wheel well. An inspection of the tire revealed that the tread was beginning to peel off – not that there was all that much tread on the tire anyway, since, before leaving the car with us, Jerry had taken it on an 18,751.8-mile road trip and then another mini-road-trip of more than 5,000 miles.

So we set about changing the tire, and then we discovered that while we had a spare tire and a jack and jack handle, and even the special key to turn the security lug nut, we didn’t have a lug wrench. We called AAA, and we were informed that a service driver should show up within an hour.

While we were waiting, we watched as thunderstorms began to move in from the north. At some point, also, a walking-stick insect somehow managed to get on the brim of Pat’s hat. This is a critter that looks so much like a part of the plant that it lives on, that predators can’t see it. We put it onto a nearby paloverde bush, and you can see that it is very difficult to see. In a normal year, it would be even harder to see; the paloverde is much greener than usual this year because of the higher-than-average rainfall.

Eventually, the service driver arrived, and we got the spare tire put on. Because this was a limited-service spare, we couldn’t go faster than 45 mph, so we decided to take the scenic road up through Belen and Los Lunas back to Albuquerque, rather than risk being rear-ended on the freeway by someone who might be poco borracho and not see the Miata in time to stop from running over us.

Because of the impending rain, which shortly became a reality, we didn’t have the top down, but it was still a pleasantly scenic journey, meandering through the bosque, the cool and shady cottonwood forest that runs along a river in a desert. Los Lunas had small-town-USA Independence Day festivities going, with carnival rides and music playing, and lots of people gathering to get a good look at the fireworks, which apparently were going to be set off at the county fairgrounds. I got the impression that there had probably been a parade earlier, and, of course, there were flags flying everywhere. The rain wasn’t dampening anybody’s spirits.

It looks likely that we’re going to be driving the Miata more often than “once every coupe of weeks,” since we no longer have El Caballero and we won’t have a replacement for it until after we get an insurance check. But perhaps a suitable rental fee for the Miata would be for us to buy Jerry a new set of tires. Yet to be seen is just how much those fancy high-performance tires actually cost. We’ll also be getting him a lug wrench – one of those nifty folding compact jobbies that won’t take up a lot of room in a trunk where space is at a premium.

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Blogger Pat said...

At least, after the Miata slid sideways in the sand the first time the Bone wrecker guy tried to jack it up and the jack fell sideways and got stuck under the car, it was pretty simple for me to lift the car so he could extract the jack.

Fortunately, the wrecker guy arrived before the thunderstorm and we avoided most of the excitement; he'd driven through a storm with quarter-sized hail and travelers taking shelter under the underpasses that we never experienced.

Unfortunately or otherwise, we missed an afternoon of "interesting" sailing with "Zorro" -- mostly good wind, but then a mix of no wind and lots of wind. Fortunately, Zorro made it back to the marina before a really big blast came through.

Thu Jul 05, 02:27:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Pat said...

Ordered 195/50 R15 82V BF Goodrich G-Force Sport tires; 340 tread wear index, AA traction, A temperature, V speed rating. Should be in sometime next week.

Some disclaimer for actions since Tad managed to clobber me in the head with Babe's tailgate.

Semi-vehicle-less since Service Engine Soon light came on this morning on the Expedition and the Babe's service appointment isn't until 7:20 Monday.

Thu Jul 05, 05:40:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Lydia Manx said...

Okay so that is Jerry's Christmas gift huh? More tread.

Glad you had a great trip. Those walking stick bugs are NOT popular in my area since they strip plants overnight to stubble. Not a pretty accent to the yard.

Sounds like you had a great 4th.

Fri Jul 06, 11:18:00 AM MDT  

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