Burps, Bumps and a Blowout

After I left the Smith’s in Des Moines, Iowa, I drove until I reached a casino parking lot. I didn’t want to push it too hard since I didn’t yet know if the repairs Sky and I made were going to stick. I woke up the next morning feeling recharged and ready to make decent headway. I started Mander and geared up to make my way to Kansas City.

Before I start driving, I shut off the propane tank mounted under Mander. I hopped out to do just that, and noticed something that didn’t seem quite right. Exhaust was coming out from the front of Mander….yeah definitely not right.


Oh boy. I had barely started my day and I was already stepping into my coveralls.Β  I crawled under there to assess the situation. There was no way any of those nuts were going to spin off, so I did my best to shove the parts back together. I knew it wasn’t going to stay but I had no alternative than to Mander on. I said eff it, peeled off my coveralls, put my butt in that driver’s seat and hit the highway.

Then it happened. My first blip of hysteria. I was cruising along at the slow and steady pace of 55 mph and out of nowhere, laughter started to bubble up. The laughter then made a seamless transition into crying. I sobbed for mere moments and everything ended just as fast as it started. I was simply a bystander in my body’s emotional burp. It was a good thing I had this unexpected cathartic moment because I was about to hit another bump in the road.

I smelled burning rubber. Don’t ask me how I could smell burning rubber over the burning oil and exhaust that was in the cab, but I could. The simple answer is that I have a super smeller. Nothing felt obviously wrong with Mander, but I was worried enough to get off the highway and check. I exited and drove to the closest town to inspect things. I climbed out of Mander and started poking around. I checked the tires and sure enough, one of my dually tires had basically fallen apart.


I was in a mostly deserted, small town with a flat tire but I felt surprisingly ok about it. I had Good Sam roadside assistance! In fact, I felt a bit good about getting to use it. I called them up and they dispatched someone in the area to come change my tire. I am a independent, DIY type girl but I also have no problem stepping aside from time to time. Mander’s tires are wicked heavy and changing an inside dually is not a fun task. I was more than happy to let someone else do the job.

Β Once the spare was on, I made some lunch, put everything back in my trunk and loaded my scooter up. A kind soul on Instagram, John, knew I was headed his direction and told me I was welcome to use his place and tools as a refuge if need be. I reached out to him to see if I could have a new tire shipped to his address. I couldn’t very well drive around without a spare.

I had previously ordered my front tires off of Amazon Prime and told John I could have a new one in no time. He agreed, so I got online to order one….but they didn’t have any. Like at all. Ever again. I searched and searched and I could only find a couple remaining places that are distributing my weird sized tires. The fastest shipping would take a week. I let John know the situation and he thought it would be wise to check around Kansas City for a new tire. It was sunday and nothing was going to ship out that day anyway. Although I was skeptical I would find any borderline obsolete tires in a shop, I thought his plan made good sound sense. He invited me to stay in his driveway while I figured it out and I had just enough time in the day to make it there before dark.

The decision was made. I pointed Mander in the direction of another loving stranger’s house. I just had to get there without blowing another tire, which now seemed like all too real of a possibility. At least I had the exhaust fumes to mildly sedate me during the worrisome drive!



10 Comments on “Burps, Bumps and a Blowout

  1. I began following your story on Instagram. Reading your blog makes it all real. Great job. I don’t know many people that has your courage or determination.

  2. I love reading about your journey though I’m terrible at chiming in. But I am always thinking of you and your whereabouts and sending sooo many good vibes your way today and every day πŸ™‚

    My only question, well not really I have many but… how are the cats? Is Miss Moochi loving the vagabond life?

    • Hey Michelle! Thanks for reading, sending good vibes and commenting! πŸ™‚ The kitties are adjusting pretty well! Moonch goes out on her leash and harness almost daily. I should probably do a post solely on the cats!

  3. I have read all your posts I can find,they are great. I really admire your determination and how you are trying to live your dream. we have a 14 year old Autotrail which we love exploring the highlands of scotland in. Every time I am struggling to fix a problem I just think of the massive problems you have overcome to get and keep Mander running. I wish you lots of fun and adventures for 2018 and keep those wheels turning.

    • Hey Tim! Thank you so much for this comment! It really touches me to know that I’m helping in any small way to keep someone plugging along! We are all in this together, after all. πŸ˜—

  4. Pingback: Tire Town, USA, Population: My Tires – a girl and her commander

  5. I just watched you on youtube and that led me here. I enjoy stories such as yours and travel vicariously that way. Due to health and age I can no longer travel. Some days I can’t get into my wheelchair from bed. I have been paralyzed since 1973 but used to travel in a car and for awhike in an extended van. I miss those days. Enjoy what you have and love dear Lady it is worth the trouble and adventure! I will start to follow your story!
    God bless!

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