Short version: We’re fine and back on the road.
Mel thought she had posted an update last night once we were back on the road. We had exhausted our laptop battery trying to find a replacement tire and the power adapter we have for the car wasn’t quite keeping it alive, so it must have died as she was posting. We apologize for keeping you all waiting so long.
Here’s the whole story. We were cruising up Hwy 78 about 3 miles from Hamilton, AL and I our tire completely blew out. It was totally shredded. I felt it immediately and pulled over within a couple seconds so the rim wasn’t damaged too badly. I pulled off the tire and spun the axle and it was still turning freely, so I breathed a little sigh of relief that the bearings and such seemed to be fine. Fantastic! we’ll just throw on the spare and pick up a new tire at the next big city. So I put the spare on and as I was letting the weight back down on the tire I heard a loud hisssssssssssssssssss. Guess that spare was a little older and worn than we thought.
So now we’re stuck in the middle of nowhere with two flats. I gave my brother Tim a call to tell him we were going to be pretty late and that we had to find a tire. He and his co-workers (thanks Dave and Tim!) dropped everything and became our recovery command center. They had several computers and phones dedicated to calling around and finding some tires for us. The tire size is usually a little hard to find and even harder to find on a four-bolt rim. We called several tire places in Hamilton and couldn’t find anything. I finally called a Tractor Supply Co. in Tupelo (about 50 min. away) and found some tires. I called Tim back one more time to make sure he hadn’t found anything before heading to Tupelo to get some tires before they closed. He said, “Well, there’s a Wal-mart about 2 miles away from you. We talked to a clueless Wal-mart employee who said they have some trailer tires about the size you need, but wasn’t sure if they’d fit. It’s worth a try.”
So with nothing to lose we headed over there. Sure enough, they had two tires the exact size we needed, but no rims, and no equipment capable of mounting a tire on a 8″ rim. So we bought the two tires ($12 each! can’t beat that). They told us that the Marion County Co-op dealt with tractor and trailer tires so they could mount them. We drove a couple miles more over there and walked in at 5:10. They closed at 5:00. They were like “You want these today?” I explained that I was stranded and desparate, so they begrudgingly mounted my tires to my old rims. It took all of 5 minutes and cost $12. Nice.
So we headed back, put the new tire on and mounted the spare and took off. Cost us about two hours, $40, and a bit of stress, but all in all, it wasn’t so terrible. The new tires that we have are better for highway use anyway, so I think we’re in better shape going forward. Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers!