Yesterday, Karen and I went to Belmopan to shop for floor tile (among other things) for our new rental Cabana. Our rebuilt and revitalized 89 Chevy Van is usually the vehicle of choice for these trips... able to haul huge loads, able to leap tall buildings, and provide air conditioned and secure comfort... it's SUPER VAN. So two hours later we are merrily shopping in our version of Home Depot... Builder's Hardware.
|it's SUPER VAN.|
With assistance from an extremely helpful sales person, we settle on 800 square feet of tile, faucets, toilets, varnish, stain, etc... and later watch as the guys at the warehouse dock carefully load all the purchases in the Van. The heaviest item, of course, is the tile which consists of 38 boxes (each weighing around 60 pounds). These alone, somewhat exceed the load limit of the van. No sweat though... I stop at the nearby service station and add air to the tires. No tire air gauge available, so I "eyeball" the tires as I fill them.
Excellent... so we make one more shopping stop at BAH (Belize Aggregates and Hardware, the Mennonite version of Loew's) and then hit the Bullfrog Inn for lunch. Clearly the van is "loaded," and as we get underway after lunch, on the Hummingbird Highway hills, twists and turns, the Van feels and drives like an M1 Abrams Battle Tank. Reduced speed and extra caution on the speed bumps is the plan.
|M1 Abrams Battle Tank|
It's the usual beautiful drive on the Hummingbird... even more so because we are going considerably slower than usual and are seeing things we sometimes miss. I estimate we have made this trip close to one hundred times in ten years. We chat merrily about how much we saved by making this run to Belmopan for the tile.
|Scene Along The Hummingbird Highway|
Passing St Margaret's Village, on by "Over The Top" and by Middlesex, we navigate the remaining one lane bridges down in to the relative flatness of the Valley. Mile 6 is approaching, and we both look forward to a "pit stop" at the Esso Station.
Our contented reverie is suddenly interrupted by loud "BAM, BAM... splat, flap, flap" noises. As I pull over, my thoughts immediately go through broken axle, or strut or ? worse. Whatever it is, it didn't sound good! Nothing obvious hanging down underneath... but I certainly didn't remember a peeled, bald tire on the left rear. I bought all four tires at the same time a year ago.
We are on the road edge, but not far enough off the road to be comfortable and Karen wants me to back up to a small side road. After making a call to the house (we are about an hour away) I mobilize the troops... Hector and Jose will come to rescue us in the old Doge Van 3/4 ton pickup. I choose to creep along for a ways at 2 or 3 miles an hour... and suddenly realize we are at the ADS Tire and Service place. Amazing!
Most of you have probably surmised by now that the combination of excess weight and over-inflated tires caused the left rear to make contact with the body... neatly peeling the tread and wrapping it around the axle. It doesn't take long for a new tire to be mounted, and all to be properly inflated.
When Hector and Jose arrive, they laboriously transfer the 38 tiles boxes to the Dodge pickup. We make the one hour final portion of the trip in a small caravan without incident. Lesson learned... don't overload... and put that air gauge in the glove box. And remember that discussion Karen and I had about how much money we saved on this trip?
|The Culprit Tire... What's Left|