‘The best laid plans….’
‘Into every life a little rain must fall’
All of these phrases come to mind when I think of this day…
We left Port Townsend around 9 a.m., planning on arriving at Astoria, Oregon early afternoon, with some time to begin to explore the area that day. The drive through the Olympic Peninsula was a typical drive through a rain forest. There was an occasional glimpse of the ocean, and a few small towns to drive through, but nothing really remarkable stopped us as we headed southward. We did open the window, and take a couple of pictures when we saw a helicopter disgorging its load:
It appeared to be military maneuvers.
Right on time, we went around a corner and came upon this sight:
The 10-mile bridge crossing the mouth of the Columbia River from Washinhgton State into Oregon. You can’t see it in this picture, but the south end has a steep rise into Astoria. Just as we began the climb, something that looked like a street sign, flew out from underneath the RV in front of us – no time to swerve out of its way. We heard a clunk, bang, thud and DH looked in the rearview mirror and announced ‘we have a flat.’
Well, there’s no stopping on a bridge, and we limped the next two miles to the nearest parking lot. People honked and waved and pointed, but what could we do? When we pulled into the parking lot (which happened to be outside a Department of Transport office), this is what our tire looked like:
And this is what the front of the trailer looked like:
Not too bad (for the trailer) considering, but there was a definite hole in the wrinkle. This was the last ‘thud’ that we had heard.
Nothing for it but to put the spare tire on the truck, find our way to a campground and look for a tire store. The folks at DOT were more than helpful, offering a phone number for Risk Management in case we would be lodging a claim with them, and sending a worker out to look for the culprit in all of this – as much to be able to prove the cause, as to remove a road hazard.
This is what caused the problem:
It’s a piece of sheet metal that appears to be from some kind of commercial/transport type of truck. No telling what truck, nor how long it had been on the bridge. But there it is.
Les Schwab Tire folks were very good to check out the rim, and assure us that it was still usable, and of course sell us new tires. We did a quick check underneath the vehicles, but didn’t see any further damage – and in the ensuing five days since this has happened, we haven’t noticed any mechanical problems.
The hole in the trailer is sealed – let the rains come! – and the insurance companies have been notified. So we’ve continued on our trip – more to come in the next posts. Peg