We decided to make our first day (yesterday) of the Northeastern Loop a short one, so we could meet a former co-worker for lunch just north of Dallas. I made reservations at an RV Park near there, just in case we needed to adjust our plans.
In the morning, seeing our last-minute things gathered in the living room, Scooter reevaluated his priorities. He abandoned his usual post by the breakfast table to lie in his bed and make sure he wouldn't be left behind.
After breakfast we finished moving our stuff into the motorhome, and Scooter got out of his bed to supervise. We left a little later than we wanted to, because we kept remembering "one more thing" that needed to come with us, but finally we got under way.
As we approached Weatherford the road got bumpy. It started to be annoying, so I switched lanes, hoping for a smoother surface, but the rhythmic bumpiness continued. That's when I started to suspect the bumping was from the motorhome, not the road, so I took the first exit into Weatherford and found a place to stop and check the tires, focusing on the ones we hadn't replaced yet (there are only two tires now that were on the motorhome when we got it).
Everything looked fine, but I knew something was wrong, so I kept looking and eventually noticed that the inside right rear tire was missing some tread on the edge. That's the tire that was replaced outside Van Horn, Texas. About 500 or 600 miles ago. A brand new tire.
A guy from the farm equipment sales place across the street came over to see if he could help. I showed him the tire, and we could see more damage than just the missing tread. He said we'd be fine to drive it about five miles down the road to the tire shop that he said would treat us right. So that's what we did. I took a picture of the tire when we got there, and it looked even worse than before. The separation was almost halfway around.
I asked the guy at the tire shop (they really did treat us right--Texas Tire Sales in Weatherford) if the damage was from a road hazard, or if it was a problem with the tire itself. He said it was the tire and offered to plug it for us if we wanted him to (too funny). We declined, then I checked the brand name (Cooper) and told him not to give us one of those.
For good measure, we also had them flip the tires around on the tow dolly, because it wears the outside tread really quickly. We're on the second set of tires (we got the new ones in Montana the first part of August), and there's a strip that's already going bald. So now we'll get double the life out of those tires.
The stop for tires shot down our lunch plans, so my co-worker came by the RV Park in the evening and we visited for a while over a cup of the really good tea I discovered a few months ago (perfect with some French Vanilla creamer in it).
We each had a little stumble when she first got here, because we'd only met in person once or twice, and memory combined with changes in hair styles will do a number on you and make you not quite sure that's the person you're expecting. But she was her and I was me, and we were fine after that.
She told us about a more scenic route we could take through the Ozarks, rather than the route I had planned through Joplin, Missouri, so we'll be going that way today.
And while I'm on the topic of travel advice (I'm always open for suggestions--just leave a comment or email me), my brother's wife, who has lived in New England for most of her life, had lots of suggestions of which day-trips we can take while we stay with them in Massachusetts. She's got a much better feel than we do for how long it takes to drive to the different places we want to see. (And the Shot Heard 'Round the World was in Concord, Massachusetts, not Concord, New Hampshire. We'll probably go there.)
I'm trying to nail down a schedule, so we can make plans to meet people. It's hard, though, when we don't know what will come up and take us by surprise (That's the problem with surprises--they don't give any advance notice). Here's where we think we'll stay the next few nights:
Thursday, 9/13: Fort Smith / Van Buren, Arkansas
Friday, 9/14: Branson, Missouri
Saturday and Sunday, 9/15 - 9/16: St. Louis, Missouri
We hope to see you there, or down the road...