And the left rear tire falls off. It falls off. It falls. the fuck. off.

Not kidding. (And also not willing to claim that line as my own. It belongs to comedian Ron White, and I thought of it immediately). Here ya go:

The drama started yesterday, about 3 hours into what was supposed to be an 8-hour driving day, taking us south from Portland, over the mountain passes, and into northern California for the night.

We were here, southbound on I-5, just north of Roseburg.

Tim was driving, and here’s something you need to know: The man thinks out loud when he drives. He says things like, “Huh,” and “Seriously, lady?” and “That’s interesting,” without ever specifying exactly what, in the 180-degree view in front of us, he’s actually talking about. Since we are not often looking at the same things, I’ve given up trying to guess, and mostly I ignore him. But when the guy at the wheel says, “Uh, I think a tire just fell off,” that’s an attention grabber.

Neither one of us felt it. I mean, we’ve got nine others, right? But Tim sensed a disturbance in the force, and noticed two things simultaneously:

  • Hey, there’s a tire rolling down the highway behind us, and
  • Oh, shit. We’re missing one.

Thankfully, we were already in the left lane, and that left rear tire came to rest along the median, rather than careening across traffic and causing further mayhem. We pulled to the shoulder about 1/4 mile beyond it, and while Tim was on the phone with Good Sam Roadside Assistance (a call that took nearly an hour), an Oregon State Trooper pulled up behind us and made sure we were OK. Senior Trooper Gorman also went back to the tire, and rolled it over to the right side of the highway for easier pickup by the emergency assistance dude — who finally arrived at 3:00. We’d pulled over at 11:30.


I was bored. Really bored. So I created this series:IMG_4561 IMG_4562 IMG_4563

And there it lies.
And there it lies.

The emergency dude, Joel, worked for half an hour, in the rain, in the strip of shoulder between our rig and interstate traffic, and then had to leave to find… uhh… let’s just go with lug-related parts. He was gone for two hours. Lola was not the only one who looked like this:

Could’ve been worse. Could’ve been kids in the back seat.
I scrawled BRING WINE, in the rear truck window, facing traffic. I know what to do in an emergency, people.
I scrawled BRING WINE in the foggy truck window, facing traffic.
I know what to do in an emergency, people.

While we awaited Joel’s return, not one, but two Kind Old Men pulled over to offer assistance, and sympathy too, I’d guess. One was pulling an RV, so he definitely felt our pain.

Old Man 1, in yellow jacket
Old Man 1, in yellow jacket
Old Man 2, on left. Both gentlemen gave Tim that hearty handshake-back slap thing that men do, before heading off.
Old Man 2, on left.
Both gentlemen gave Tim that hearty handshake-back slap thing that men do, before heading off into the night.

Joel returned at 5:30, by which time it was dark, and put in two more hours of work to affix the spare, and charge our truck battery, which had died at oh, maybe the 4-hour mark. Good times, y’all. Good. Fucking. Times. For which we are now out half a house payment, but hey, I got a blog post out of our seven-hour sit-down on the shoulder of I-5 in Oregon.

So now we’re parked at a fairgrounds complex, and the good news is that Tim was able to find a compatible wheel at a nearby dealer this morning, so we won’t have to cool our jets here through the weekend, as we’d feared. Yes, we could have continued driving on the spare, but then we wouldn’t have had a spare, and we’ve got mountains and desert to cross before we get back to San Antonio. Safety first.

Guess we’ll have to save exploring the Umpqua Valley — which is known for wine and ice cream, and is hella fun to say out loud — for another visit.

Also, as my clever and hilarious friend, Mark, pointed out, Umpqua answers the question, “What sound does Emily and Tim’s RV make with a missing wheel?”