Life’s A Gamble

 Posted by at 12:04 am  Nick's Blog
May 122015

When we open our eyes every morning, none of us know if we’ll be around to go back to bed that night. Anything can happen, from a tiny piece of plaque breaking loose inside an artery and going to the heart, to a tree falling on our house, some fool texting or running a red light and hitting us, or a tire blowing out. Those things happen every day.

Lately RV tire blowouts seem to be on the upswing. A little over a week ago our friends Greg and Jan White had a front tire blowout that did over $12,000 worth of damage to their motorhome. Fortunately, Greg is an excellent driver and managed to keep it under control and nobody was injured. You can see pictures of some of the damage at this link.


Chris Yust of C&C Insurance told me that besides Greg and Jan, two other customers have had tire-related accident in the last week. And then there’s this video from the Louisiana State Police showing a diesel pusher going off the road on Interstate 10 in Ascension Parish and crashing.

So what can you do to avoid an accident like this? Obviously, preventive maintenance goes a long way. Check your tires before very trip. Don’t just walk around and glance at them, and do not depend on a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) alone. While a good TPMS like the TireTraker is invaluable, and I would not travel without mine, you still need to get down and actually inspect your tires. Look for uneven wear, run your hands over the surface to feel for anything that might be stuck in a tire. It only takes a couple of minutes, but it can save your life or save you from major damage to your RV.


Somebody told me we wasted money last week when we replaced all six of our four year old Goodyear tires when we discovered that two of them were separating. Yes, we could have just replaced the two bad tires, and maybe we’d have been fine. But when one third of a set of tires purchased at the same time fail, I think the odds are pretty good that you’ll see more problems. Is it really worth the risk? How much is your life worth?

And yet, you can be the safest driver in the world, you can spend hours inspecting your equipment before you ever turn the key to begin a trip, you can have every kind of safety monitor, fire extinguisher, and other accessory in the world, and life is still a crapshoot. It was a piece of road debris kicked up by a passing eighteen wheeler that caused Greg’s tire to blow.

So should you stop traveling, stay off the road, even stay in bed where it’s safe and sound? What fun would that be? As Jimmy Buffett says in one of his songs, I’d rather die while I’m living than live like I’m dead. Besides, if you stay in bed, who knows? That tree I talked about could come crashing through the roof!

Thought For The Day – A man on foot, on horseback or on a bicycle will see more, feel more, enjoy more in one mile than the motorized tourists can in a hundred miles. – Edward Abbey

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Nick Russell

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  12 Responses to “Life’s A Gamble”

  1. Thank You Nick for that reminder. We all need to hear it again.

    (And thank you , too, for answering my question about the switching over of the residential refrigerator. I appreciate your advice!)

  2. I think you did good changing your tire. I was an aircraft mecanic in the Canadian Air Force and what you did is called preventive maintenance. Not only will it save save you money in the long run. Il will keep you and your loved one around longer for a relative cheap cost. Don’t you think?
    Life is Good. 🙂

  3. Just minutes after reading your blog about tire blowouts, this popped up on my Facebook page, being shared by Alliance Coach in Ocala Florida. Very good story, and thanks for reminding us of how serious this can be. We put a true steer bar on our 09 Monaco Diplomat when we purchased it, as we told it would assist in any front tire blowouts. Would love to hear your opinion on that device some time. Here is the link to the news story out of Lake City, Fl:

  4. You said it very well.You need to get out there and live life. Accidents and mechanical failures happen. But we wouldn’t give up this wonderful life style because of a few bumps in the road. Besides a stick and brick house can burn down, be flooded, destroyed in a hurricane or tornado, etc. Life happens. So put your troubles behind you and get out there and ENJOY EACH DAY !!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Up to this point, I’ve only checked to see that my tires weren’t flat!!! I guess I should get better acquainted with them. In all the stories I’ve heard, Goodyear tires were involved … makes me thankful I have Michelins … not that that will keep me from having a blowout due to road debris!!

  6. Nick,
    My parents were fulltimers and they had a Anti-sway bar (Roadmaster) installed on the front of their coach. Two weeks later they had a blowout on their front right tire; doing extensive damage, but my Dad said the coach tracked straight and he was very thankful he had the Anti-sway bar installed. He said it wasn’t cheap but it was worth every penny. Both my parents are traveling down Heaven’s highways now and like you, I missed being able to call my Mom on Mother’s Day. Keep up the good work. Joe

  7. Wow! That must have been scary. I wonder if Mr. White went thru one of those rv driving seminars at one of your past rallies put on by, who was it Chris Yust? I wonder if it helped him control the rig?

  8. Did you get the dates off those old Goodys? You had them 4 years, but how much older were they? Just askin’

  9. I wonder how the proliferation of potholes is affecting tire life.
    A pothole on I-10 west of Van Horn TX broke my Fifth Wheel frame, shutdown the truck CD Player, disabled the Truck Transmission (temporarily). Was in a construction zone single lane so I couldn’t move and no traffic ahead of me to “warn” me…
    In Dallas 2 months ago a TV news story was about so many Pothole damage claims possibly considered as “collisions” would affect your Auto Insurance.

    I would support increased fuel taxes if it kept roads in better shape.

  10. I have been very lucky with replacing my RV tires. My son was an ET in the Navy and then got a job as an industrial electrician at a Michelin Tire plant. I knew I was going to need new tires soon, so I asked him to see what kind of price he could get me. He made a call and they had 6 recently discontinued tires at a big warehouse in the midwest. I had to pay shipping and the 6 tires were slightly over $300 total. I knew the boy would turn out OK even if he had been a sailor!

  11. Traveling to Yuma right after Christmas going 55 mph on a two lane road, our left front tire exploded. Thanks to the True Center Steering system I installed, the coach traveled straight and true. The tire came right off the rim, but we had no difficulty finding a safe place to pull off the road safely and wait for assistance from Coah Net. As a side, I had all the tires inspected two weeks prior to the blow out when we had the tires rotated.

  12. Thank you for the reminder. I spoke with you back in 2013 AFTER WE HAD 2 blow-outs on our 5th wheel. You didn’t have much to say in the way of advice but that’s okay…..WE had ALOT to deal with ourselves and it was a learning experience! We had just finished changing one tire when an hour later the second blew!!! AND we had also been on our way back from Indiana to AZ after having all the welds on the front of our brand NEW 2013 5th wheel rewelded by the manuf.!!!! On June 1 this year we will have lived in our 5th wheel 2 years. We are fulltimers and working in the oilfields for 14 months and are hoping to be here until July 2016…..but fulltimer’s plans are JELLO!!! Not only did the tires blow but it bent the fender, a rim and both axles. After fighting for the axles…they were replaced….but we are paying for the fender and rim…eventually….not in a hurry. Then we got 4 new tires. Since THAT time, we had a grey tank replaced, 3 broken cables, a leak in our basement from a bad seal, a leak from a broken water T joint, and OTHER minor repairs in our 2 years of owning a brand new 2013 5th wheel. At first we felt like giving up, but we are holding on to the time we will be traveling again after working here in the oilfields of TX. We love this lifestyle and plan on doing it until we can’t due to money or health. So yes the sun will come up tomorrow and you never know what the day will bring… JUST DO IT! We tell those who want to be fulltimers you must be adventurous, prepared and willing to do whatever to live this lifestyle. Same as working in the oilfields…..if you are not adventurous, a pioneer at heart, then stay away! Thanks for the reminder!

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