The Blowout of Destiny

Posted August 6, 2016 – Narrated by Carmen
To listen to the podcast, click the play button

The Blowout of Destiny on August 3rd – and it could have changed our lives forever, but miraculously, it only changed our tires.

And it sure didn’t make us want to do it again and again … but, I certainly can vouch that it was hot!

Over 100° for eight hours straight. Eight hours … and much of it with some up-hill action, sans A/C so the engine wouldn’t overheat.

X” marks the spot where we had the blowout

And, even though it was our first blowout, we felt, deep down, it was inevitable.

It had to happen sometime.

We had even prepared – studied-up about what to do and how to react when the moment arrived.

It wasn’t that our tires were old. Beauty’s trailer-daddy, Larry Cook set her up fine.

But, we’re Newbies, and having recently experienced two separate encounters (one each) with a couple of ill-fated curbs, the seeds were planted… the plot in motion.

So, after some professional advice from Vinnie at Vinnie’s Northbay Airstream Repair, we made plans to change and upgrade our tires in Sacramento a few weeks from now … then, Ka-BOOM!


Why such a powerful word to describe this blowout?

Was it our speed?

Only 25 miles per hour when the tire blew?

Had we been towing at 55 mph, we probably would have caused massive damage to the wheel wells and the mechanics of the Airstream.

As it happened, we only had minor cosmetic damage. (or so we thought until 2 months later and $2,000 in repairs)

Or could it be that when forced to pull off Hwy 395 on a narrow, blind curve in a desolate area of the forbidding Mojave desert – a miraculous asphalt driveway appeared before us like a fortress to protect us from the threat of passing traffic?

Also, after being told by AAA to expect a two-hour wait in over 100° heat…

… Jim took a cold shower in the Airstream with fresh water he’d put in that morning. Nothing like a cool head to avert regrettable errors of judgement.

Or, perhaps it is a sign of destiny that AAA arrived 1 ½ hours earlier than projected because the mechanic was “in the area” having just finished a towing job?

And, when the AAA truck didn’t have a tire inflation device onboard to pump up the spare, we were prepared with our own brand new Viar 400P-RV tire inflator.

Equipment matters.

Then, by some fluke (after being told we might have to wait more than an hour), a California Highway Patrol officer in a fully equipped and outfitted SUV arrived within minutes to close the road about ¼ mile downhill, so we could back out safely without getting creamed.

More rational minds might say it was simply luck when with only another 23 miles to the nearest tire shop and no second spare, we were able to make it to J.R Tire Shop without another blowout.

Then, within eye-shot of J.R’s is a terrific RV park…

…  and we were able to get a space there for the night even though all the city’s campgrounds, RV Parks, motels, hotels, condos … are booked solid because, unbeknownst to us, we’d arrived during the biggest Mammoth Lakes event of the year!

Luck or Destiny? You decide. I have my own ideas.

With Mammoth Lakes packed to the edges with tourism, what are the odds that Jim’s distinguished charms alone could secure us two more days the next morning, and then that afternoon another week extension?

With that time-frame we should be able to wait for four new custom 16″ 16X6 6-5.5 wheels and four new Michelin Agilis CrossClimate LT225/75R16 E tires to arrive AND… we get to attend the 21st Annual Mammoth Festival of Beers and Bluesapalooza to boot.

Perhaps it was both – luck and destiny, as well as the Living In Beauty travel philosophy:

“Plan for the worst because it will probably happen
     and don’t plan for the best, because it will happen.”

Now, off to the Brew Fest today and tomorrow.

More to come from Mammoth Lakes!

If you want to see our exact route, click here.

*photos in this post (unless otherwise noted) were taken and copyrighted by Living In Beauty.

14 thoughts on “The Blowout of Destiny

  1. Good grief, Jim and Carmen, I feel bad that happened! I hate to say it, but, these happenings can only be described as “character building experiences”. We’ve had many of them over the years.
    This will be something more for us too talk about this fall.
    Larry and Jacquie

  2. Glad that you guys are ok. That sounds so scary but you handled it well! Miss you but it is fun to follow your adventures! I

  3. Clearly you were meant to go to the Bluesapalooza in Mammoth! Too fun. What a marvelous series of events precipitated by one bad one. That said, so glad you are safe and damage minimal and that you are now set with the tires you knew you needed. 🎭

  4. OH MY GOSH! WHAT AN AWESOME STORY! YOU GUYZZZZZ!!! CRA-ZEEEE! Definitely a bodice seam buster! No NEED to ask me WHY I LOVE YOU SOOOOO! I can’t seem to wipe this really silly grin off my face! LOVIN’ the VISUALS posted …and in my mind! YOU TWO are still just TWO CRAZY KIDS and make me want to go mooning over the Coronado Bay Bridge! BLESS YOU! AND HAVE FUN! YOU have changed MY LIFE forever!

  5. So sorry you had to go through such a rough patch. My hats off to you for handling it so well. Maybe I should get one of those air compressors! Actually I’m interested in avoiding a similar circumstance.
    A couple questions: Had you been monitoring your TP? Did the curb encounters leave any evidence?
    A 25 mph blowout seems very unusual.
    I’m hoping to not have to replace my wheels so this is a topic of great interest to me.
    Enjoy the weather.

    1. Bill,

      No we have not been monitoring our tire pressure, but I do check it every time I move the trailer. I had checked it only 7 hours earlier in the day on the day the blowout happened.

      Hitting 2 curbs happened at very slow speeds in shopping complex parking lots over several months. Very slow, like 3 to 4 miles an hour. There was no indication or signs of any damage, but a lot of cussing at ourselves.

      The blowout at 25 miles an hour happened going up a steep incline when the temperature outside was above 100 degrees.

      Vinnie at Vinnie’s Northbay Airstream Repair suggested specific wheels and tires, so that is what we have ordered and are waiting for delivery in Mammoth Lakes. The links to the actual 16″ wheels and Michelin tires is on the original blog post

  6. Don’t forget to install a TPMS on your New tires. I use the Tiretraker system on my Airstream Michelins. You could also go with a Dill system inside the tire.

  7. Enjoyed chatting with you this afternoon that was really good information you shared with me, I appreciate it very much.I really like your web site lots of reading to catch up on. Maybe I will see you around the campground tomorrow. Enjoy your stay in SC

    1. Bill, it was good to chat with you today. Glad the post on our blowout gave you some good information. I am sure we will see you around the campground for the next few days while we are here.

  8. Sorry you had a problem. As I have covered in the Airstream Forum there are two primary reasons for tire failure and two different ways to know you might soon suffer a failure.

    The condition of your tire is not a Run Low Flex Failure or more commonly called a “Blowout” which can be discovered before failure if you run a TPMS. What you suffered was a Tread/Belt Separation. This condition can many times be discovered BEFORE the tire comes apart if proper inspection techniques are practiced. I have covered this in my blog that even has a video.

  9. Hello Jim

    Quite an experience. I recently went from Costa Mesa CA to Olympia WA and back and lost pressure in one tire. Took it to a Goodyear shop and they tested it, remounted it, replaced the stem, etc and could not find a leak. Then it got me home and lost pressure again. I pumped it up and it has stayed pumped. But the tires just seem too smal and not stiff enough so going for replacement. I watched a video from Vinnie and have decided to upgrade my wheels and tires on my 2015 Interstate Signature 25FB.

    When I looked up the tire you referenced in your post I did not see LT222. Should that be LT225?



    1. Greg, glad to hear you have decided to upgrade your tires. We have been very pleased with ours. You are correct, we had a typo error and the tires we got are the LT225. We have corrected it in the blog post. Thanks for catching that for us! Hope to see you on the road sometime!

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