Tire change easier said than done

Vacations are supposed to be a time of rest, reflection and relaxation. More often when I’m involved they’re a time of dejection, drama and depression.

Such was the case this past week when we took a trip to Red River in the northern mountains of New Mexico.

My first clue should have been the weather forecast. After a spring and summer of high temperatures and drought on the Eastern Plains, the weatherman predicted highs in the 70s and rain while I was gone. He also predicted lows in the high 30s and rain in Red River.

After driving through several good showers on the way, as the first good fishing hole in Cimarron Canyon appeared around the curve the clouds parted. I pulled out in one spot and then decided to pull across the road to a wider spot before stringing up a fishing rod. As I pulled across the highway I noted that distinctive “wump, wump” of a flat tire.

My dad was always a stickler for having a good set of rubber on the ground and at least one, sometimes two or more spares ready to go. I did not inherit that trait from him. Instead I inherited the traits of my dad’s brother, who was rumored to mount my dad’s cast off tires and run them bald with never a problem. Some days that catches up to you.

OK, I was a bit concerned since I knew I had been riding around on bald rear tires with no air in my spare. I had, however, charged up the emergency air pump though so I figured I would pump up the flat and limp into Eagle Nest. Nope, the tire had separated and come apart.

I figured I would just pump up the spare and things would be good. That required unloading everything from the trunk onto the shoulder pullout. As soon as everything was outside the car it began to rain.

Of course this was the first time I had ever had the jack out of its compartment in the trunk on this particular vehicle. Car designers amuse themselves these days by making sure that no two jacks work in the same way or lift in the same spot. The lift point was extremely convenient, so convenient I just knew that couldn’t really be it so I rolled around in the mud checking to make sure. The mechanics of twisting the jack to make it lift weren’t as good but it was going up.

I worked like Mario Andretti’s pit crew getting the bad tire off and the spare pumped up and mounted. I did it in impressive time for a bald fat man in the rain but I still got soaked along with the contents of the trunk.

Fishing was off for the afternoon. The next morning the rain continued and fishing was off for the second day of relaxation. Instead I decided we would go into Taos and barter for a set of tires.

Buying new tires on a road trip is one way of “spending” your vacation but as I reflect, it is neither, restful, nor relaxing.

Karl Terry writes for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at: karlterry@yucca.net