I wanted to get out of Grande Prairie somewhere between 9 and 10 yesterday. I was in the office shortly after 6am to ensure that I could. Well, it was nearly 11:30 when I finally took off, truck full of used hardware.
The weather conditions were excellent. It was cold, -22C but the roads were completely dry.
I was making good time when I decided to stop just West of Whitecourt, Alberta at a Husky for gas. I was there for 15 minutes or so. I answered some emails (work related), filled up with gas and bought a couple of food items.
Back on the road and about 2 hours to Edmonton.
As I am passing through Whitecourt, the truck in front of me swerved. I saw what he was trying to avoid although I am not sure what it was. There was junk on the road, wood, metal, who knows what else. I was unable to swerve around it myself as there was a truck beside me. I did my best not to run over it and I thought that I had missed it.
Several kilometers on, I noticed my back end start to shake a little. I put both hands on the wheel and checked my TPM system in the truck (tire pressure monitoring). The left-rear tire was down to 20kps. Not good. All of the sudden, a loud boom and the back end went out wildly. I was in the passing lane driving at about 110kph – the speed limit happens to be 110. I checked to ensure that the right lane was clear and moved over to the right shoulder to stop as quickly as I could. I would guess it took me about 300m to come to a complete stop – hazard lights on.
I put on my jacket, outside temperature was about -20C with fairly strong winds.
The tire is shredded. The middle of the tire is still around the rim, a strip about 6″ wide is all that is left other than some hardened rubber that is still attached to the rim. Great.
Believe it or not, I have never changed a tire in my life. I have always has CAA, OnStar or some other roadside assistance program. Luckily, just about two weeks ago, I started up with AMA, Alberta Motor Association, part of CAA.
I give them a call and am fairly quickly put through to an agent. I explain the situation and am told that I will get a call back shortly. I receive the call back from someone in Edmonton who has contacted their contractor in Whitecourt and he will be arriving within 60-90 minutes. I get a call from him about 40 minutes later wondering where I am.
When I called, I didn’t realize that I was so far out of Whitecourt, about 25km when I figured it was 5 or so. Anyway, he finds me and starts the task in bone chilling conditions of getting my spare on the vehicle.
Two bits of good news. The spare is a full sized tire that appears to have never been used and it has air in it. He suggests that I should stop in the next town to have the lug nuts torqued properly for my trip back to Calgary.
It is about another 20 minutes or so to the next town – not sure on the name of it. I find a tire shop and they, like most Albertans that I have encountered, are more than willing to help. They torque the nuts tight, fill the tires to the proper air pressure and also, at my asking, check to see if they have any winter tires that will fit in stock. Nope, they don’t but they could have them in the morning.
I ask if it is safe to drive on the spare to Calgary and am ensured that yes, it is. So, as opposed to spending a night, somewhere West of Edmonton, I decide to carry on.
Road conditions are pretty good for the rest of the trip. I stop in Leduc, Alberta for dinner – McDonalds, I must have been desperate, or hungry, or both. The McCafe that I tried was pretty good – vanilla latte.
There was a bit of snow just north of Calgary and I don’t think that I have wanted a road trip to end so badly as this one. Actually, I guess my trip to Alberta was worse, well, not worse, longer – I wanted that one to end as well. I got back to my place shortly after 9pm. In total, almost 10 hours of driving. Not a lot of fun.
Thankfully, I guess, I do not have to make that trip again. I wanted to drive it since I do like driving. It was an adventure indeed.
At least it ended well. Safe travels to my readers.