One of the most important things I’ve learned about camping is this…check, check, and double-check everything. When I had that blowout a couple years ago, I learned to check the air pressure every single time I tow…whether it’s to the end of the driveway or across the state. I learned this from Stephanie and Jeremy Puglisi of RV Family Travel Atlas and Janine Pettit of Girl Camper Podcast. Now I check my tires religiously.
Day before yesterday, we stopped in a rest area and when I got back in the truck, I walked around…checking to make sure everything looked good. We were fifty miles from the campground. That stretch of I-70 was particularly rough…to the point we had to slow way down. We got to the campground and did a lot of routine maintenance things. I dumped the tanks and cleaned them out. I picked up inside the camper and got set up for the evening, and cooked supper. After the dishes were done and put away, we got those showers we were so anxiously awaiting and crashed. We were both exhausted and slept like logs.
Yesterday morning, I was unhooking things and Mr. FixIt was checking the air pressure in the tires. When he got to the driver’s side rear tire he said, “Whoa, babe…come look at this. This isn’t good.” The rubber cover was missing off the hub and you could see down into the bearing housing. I knew when I got close and looked at the grease that we did indeed have a problem. The grease was packed with flecks of shiny metal…the bearings had been disintegrated. Luckily there was a Camping World four miles back so we very slowly, very carefully took the camper over.
After tearing it apart and checking into the other wheels, they believe the last person who repacked my bearings (which I just had done this spring) had tightened the nut down too hard which doesn’t allow for the expansion of the bearings when they get hot. The end cap made of rubber blew off with the resulting pressure and shot all the hot grease out, leaving nothing to lubricate the bearings. Consequently, the casing got so hot it literally melted the bearing housing. The only thing that kept the wheel from flying off was a $2.00 cotter pin. Thank God it wasn’t worse…no one was injured. But the bad news is, it didn’t make any noise and we didn’t detect anything in the operation of the trailer in any way, so we drove on it at 60mph for 50 miles or so. That was hot enough to etch the spindle and the whole axle needs replaced. They are working hard to find me one…even if they have to send someone up to the Starcraft factory up in Elkhart.
But, here’s the thing…when I had the blowout two years ago, the repairman forgot to put the dust cover back over the hub. When I had the hubs repacked last time, the shop didn’t have one. I’ve thought of it off and on but never got around to it. And, since I wasn’t actually checking the temperature of the hubs, if that dust cover WOULD have been in place, I never would have seen there was a problem. This was, quite literally, a disaster waiting to happen and it’s a miracle no one was injured.
So, we have an unexpected adventure…exploring Richmond, Indiana and the Old National Road…home of some pretty great antique stores. We found a room for $60 and had dinner at Cracker Barrel. Yes, this is inconvenient. Yes, the repair is going to be expensive. But, we are safe…we are together…and God has us in the palms of his hands. Life is good! ❤️
“You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus. Our God and Father abounds in glory that just pours out into eternity. Yes.”
Philippians 4:19-20 MSG