The Rialta wobbled as I gripped the steering wheel. We were speeding down the highway at 70 miles per hour and I could barely stay in my lane.
Daniel looked at me with concern. “Wow it’s really windy outside,” I commented.
“I don’t think that’s the wind,” he said. “I’m worried that something may be wrong with the car.”
A Scary Drive to La Crosse
Daniel and I were driving along Minnesota Highway 61 which follows the Mississippi River. It’s a scenic road but also a curvy one.
Each time we approached a bend in the road I gritted my teeth. It was getting increasingly harder to make these curves safely. Any time I turned the wheel, the car wiggled all over the place.
I slowed my speed and debated whether or not to pull over. The wiggling improved at the slower speed so I continued on.
The Flat Tire
Half an hour later we arrived in La Crosse Wisconsin, home of the World’s Largest Six Pack. We parked down the street from the roadside attraction and got out to snap some photos.
A few minutes later, I Iooked over to see Daniel kneeling on the ground next to our vehicle. I followed his gaze and noticed with alarm that our back left tire was flat. It wasn’t completely flat, but it was getting pretty darn close.
Well, that explained a few things. And I’d been driving on that tire for at least half an hour! That couldn’t be good.
Daniel suggested that he probably should change the tire. We had a fully functional spare with us after all.
Before starting on our road trip, I signed up the Rialta for roadside assistance with Good Sam Club. We got some introductory deal and now had a Platinum Membership. Whatever that means.
I pointed out that we may as well get our money’s worth from Good Sam’s Club. I had zero interest in changing the tire and I didn’t expect him to do it. Besides, we were parked on the side of a major highway. Traffic kept whizzing by at 50 miles per hour. It didn’t seem like a very safe place to change a tire.
The Waiting Game
So I called Good Sam’s Club at 4:45 pm. And waited.
About an hour later, they called to let me know they were having problems locating a local service provider.
Eventually we were handed off to some middleman company. They would dispatch someone who would be here in 90 minutes.
Two hours went by. I called back. There was some problem with their email system. The provider would be here in 30 minutes.
Thirty minutes went by and no one had arrived. By this time it was dark. We had been waiting by the side of the road for over six hours.
Tire Change in the Dark
I was on the phone with Good Sam’s Club when a Pomp’s Tire Service Truck arrived. The driver was expecting to find a semi truck instead of a small motorhome. Needless to say, he was a little confused.
Once we sorted out the confusion, however, he was very helpful. We had our tire changed about 20 minutes later and checked into a hotel down the street.
The tire had a hole in the sidewall and couldn’t be salvaged. So we’d have to replace it.
But that was a problem for another day.
A Visit to the Town of Red Wing
Earlier in the day, we drove through the town of Red Wing on our way to La Crosse. It’s a cute little city and, as you may have guessed, where the Red Wing Shoe Company is located. We stopped by for a few minutes to check out the town.
Apparently we missed seeing the world’s largest boot inside the Red Wing Shoe Company store.
Ah well, next time.
Where are we now?
Date: August 21, 2020
Great American Road Trip Status: Day 47
Starting Location: Woodbury, MN
Ending Location: La Crosse, WI
Miles Traveled: 133.2
Total Trip Mileage: 4315.3
For more details on our Great America (Socially Distanced) Road Trip, see my previous posts:
- Day 46: A Visit to the Twin Cities: HmongTown, George Floyd Square, Lake Minnetonka and lots of Sculptures
- Days 42-46: Rest, Research and Repairs
- Day 41: A Jaunt along the Superior Hiking Trail
- Days 36-42: Duluth Interlude
- Day 35: Spam, Glorious Spam! A Visit to the SPAM Museum