En route from northeastern Louisiana to Chattanooga, Tennessee, to visit our daughter, Megan, a loud, fast beeping like the dreaded kitchen smoke alarm sounded in the truck. I glanced at our tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) and saw 25 flashing with the words “low pressure,” indicating only 25 psi in the driver-side rear trailer tire. Then the number 17 appeared with the words “fast leakage.”
I told Bob we needed to pull over. He carefully got us to the shoulder of Interstate 20, and we both got out to assess the situation and our options. Bob heard the sound of rushing air as he approached the tire but didn’t see any damage to the tire itself. It seemed the stem might be at fault.
We checked Google Maps and saw a truck stop about a mile away. We didn’t want to risk attempting to change the driver-side tire on the freeway. Plus, we were parked on a slant, which meant jacking up the driver side would be precarious. So, we nursed the trailer to the truck stop and were able to change the tire there.
We had purchased a 3-pound air compressor before leaving the Mesa, Arizona, area. That made it easy to inflate the spare tire to the proper pressure.
About an hour and a half after the low-pressure alarm, we were back on the road, thankful for our TPMS. Had it not alerted us, we wouldn’t have known about the tire until we made our next stop. And by then, it could have shredded and caused serious damage to our trailer. That’s why a TPMS is one of our must-have RV gadgets.
Something Doesn’t Look Right
The tire incident was our second delay of the day. The first happened east of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, when we prepared to leave the rest area where we had spent the night. I double-checked the TV antenna from the bedroom, something I’ve been doing since a roof incident last year, and it kept spinning. It should have reached a stop point.
I went outside to examine the antenna externally and noticed it appeared to be leaning outward. As I stepped farther back, the issue became apparent: The antenna had pulled up from our roof, probably the result of hitting low-hanging branches somewhere along our journey — yet again.
Bob gathered some tools, and we ascended the trailer ladder to repair the problem. (It’s a good thing I had cleaned the ladder after our Polly encounter in Texas.) We peeled off the previous layer of self-leveling caulk and removed the screws from the antenna unit. Then, Bob put a layer of caulk under the unit to seal it back down. I had to go inside the trailer and move the knob that controls the antenna’s direction to get it to align properly.
With the antenna unit back in place, Bob put in new screws to hold it tighter and resealed the top with a good wide layer of anti-leveling caulk. Then we had to kill some time to let it dry before relinquishing it to the wind.
This event confirmed the importance of doing a walkaround before leaving for anywhere. It also reminded us that it’s never a good idea to rush. Like the last roof mishap, this one occurred when we were trying to stay ahead of a rainstorm. Deja vu.
The French Influence
Prior to these two incidents, we enjoyed a visit to Paris — Texas, that is — complete with a stop at Texas’s Eiffel Tower. We also spent a week in a beautiful state park in northeastern Louisiana right along Bayou Macon, which, as it turns out, is an attractive black bear habitat. In fact, we encountered some signs that made us stand up and take notice. But we didn’t see any bears — or alligators, which are also known to be in the area.
While in the vicinity, we ventured into the town of Delhi to visit Louisiana’s oldest drugstore, which dates back to 1873 and still features a soda fountain. No trip there would be complete without a milkshake. The joint also serves po-boys, burgers, and other Southern specialties.
Gulliver Gets His ID
We successfully made it to Megan and Sydney’s, where our mail and Amazon packages awaited. Opening them was like Christmas morning. Our best gift? Gulliver got new license plates that make him official.
This is the travel blog of full-time RVers Bob and Lana Gates and our truck, Gulliver, and fifth wheel, Tagalong.