After the slow progress through Chicago, we finally got moving again only to have trouble with a tire. Apparently, the heavy mud flap came partially unscrewed and started rubbing on the inside tire. This caused enough heat for the tread to let go of the rest of the tire! Here’s a picture:
We were right by the Cherry Vale mall in Cherry Valley, IL and stopped in to the Sears store for some help. And were they ever helpful! The guy who talked to me first was at the end of his shift, but he came out and took a look anyway. They didn’t have a tire that would replace the bad one, but he said to pull it around so they could put the spare on for me. A technician named Chris cheerfully came out with a huge jack and proceeded to swap out the tire. He really knew what he was doing, and checked out the spare, tightened and torqued the bolts properly and cleaned off a few scuff marks that he left on the side of the rig. When I asked what I owed, they said it was free!
All of this put us way behind, and so we didn’t roll into the Mall of America until after 1:30 in the morning. Then the very professional mall cop informed us that there’s no overnight parking. I tried to convince him that we weren’t going to be overnight since it’s already morning, but as you can imagine, that didn’t fly. He suggested a nearby Wal-Mart instead. I had trouble finding the Wal-Mart, but there was a big REI store with a good parking lot, so we slept there.
Even with a few setbacks, we are in high spirits, and having a fun adventure. On an up-note, we got gas last night and calculated about 9.5 miles per gallon, which is better that the 8.5 that we planned on.