Monday, March 7


0 miles today.
Mallory, the ledgendary British climber was approached by a lady at a party, who begged, "Oh, Mr. Mallory, do tell me one of your adventures."

"Madam," he replied haughtily, "I don't have adventures, I plan too well."
Well, today I had an adventure. Just after noon I was on a remote road taking an elderly client on his weekly 4-hour excursion. In trying to cross a large pothole I went about 10 MPH, not wanting to get stuck. Stuck would have been better. The left front tire hit the far edge of the pothole hard enough to put a 1" by 3" dent in the rim, deflating the tire.

The flop, flop, flop told me to stop immediately. I hauled out the jack, and little emergency spare, got the old tire off; and as the spare went on an vigorous older man in a truck pulled up from the other direction. He might have made it by but he choose to come over and help. He noticed the spare was low in pressure, bad at the best of times, and a disaster on this remote old road. He offered his tire pump which promptly let the rest of the air out of the spare. It turns out the pump hose was damaged both near the clamp end and near the pump. (I've had the same problem with my bike pumps.)

Fortunately the man was a found-items artist and had a leatherman multitool. An air duct strap he'd found earlier sealed the pump end and an old mountain bike tube he used to support his bicycle in the back of his truck sealed the other end. He pumped as I held the seals tightly. We got about 30-40 PSI back into the spare. He even stayed behind me as I wye-turned and crept down the rutted old road 8 miles to the nearest service station. I'd thanked him before and once again as I put 60 PSI in the spare. He suggested that I find a reliable auto salvage yard and get a new rim and tire.

An hour later I have the old gentleman (my passenger, remember him?) back to his home, then reported to my spouse. The short answer I got was, "You broke it, you fix it!"

Valley Tire and Brake, our reliable source of wheel wisdom, could not fix such a large dent. When I announced the intention to go to a local salvage yard for a replacement, I trust VT&B to have stopped me if such a move would have been a mistake. Creans was nearby but closed. Pick and Pull, a regional auto salvage chain, had an outlet in north Windsor.

I walked in with the damaged tire/rim, told them I was absolutely new at doing this, and asked I what should do next. The two entrance clerks said the fee to search was $2.00, rims were out the door to the left, and I had to leave the old stuff outside. They had a friendly helpful manner. I had taken in my tire wrench thinking I'd need to take a wheel off of a car. It was much easier—there were several hundred tire/rim sets by the back door! (I expect there is quite a demand for them by newbies like me.)

I measured the wrench against the old rim. Back inside I found what they classed as a 14 (as opposed to 13, 15, or 16) was the closest fit. As a check, I noticed that 13s generally had 4 bolt-holes, and 15s had mostly 5 and 6 holes. The 14s almost all had 5 holes, what I needed.

I went back and asked the clerks if VT&B was likely to send me back if I purchased this particular 14. I learned help like this is somewhat of a no-no; sales here are as-is/no-returns. One clerk carefully turned away and the other looked left and right then tapped a tiny dent I hadn't seen. With a smiled thanks, I went back and got another set. The cashier checked the set and said, "$15.00."

Cool! I don't want to think what a dealer would ask. And the used tire was better than the old one on the car. As you are not supposed to work on cars in the lot (grin, nudge, nudge, wink, wink from a clerk, it is only a tire after all), and it was 10 minutes to closing, I drove a mile down the road, swapped the spare there for the "new" rim and tire, put the spare back under the trunk floor, and drove home.

I only told my other half it was fixed, and to check out my Blog posting for "the rest of the story.


At 3/07/2005 6:54 PM, Anonymous Better Half said...

My honey isn't kidding - I was seeing disaster in the budget when I learned the tire was ruined.

Fortunately I didn't marry a dummy!


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