David and Margie Hawkins
Joe and Ruth Kliment
Paul and Margaret Higbee, whose picture I can't find for some reason.
Thanks to all.
The auto center opened at 7, so I was up at 5:30 to get breakfast and be at Wal-Mart’s tire center when they unlocked the doors. I was moving north. It was 41-degrees and time to put the flannel shirt back on.
I had never before had a vehicle where the wheel didn’t just fall off when the lug nuts were removed. The repairman explained it is now becoming a common problem, especially with dissimilar metals, like aluminum wheels on steel hubs. The problem is worst on vehicles where salt is present, either from living along the coast or where salt is used for snow and ice removal. He told me I had really bent the wheel while hammering on it, but the tubeless tire had sealed. He recommended two solutions: remove all the wheels and apply liberal amounts of waterproof grease (lithium) to both the hub, studs, and wheel where they meet, and second, buy the largest, meanest rubber mallet I can find and leave it in the vehicle with the tire-changing tools. One can never stop learning. Also, the interior of the tire had delaminated in the time it took to get off the highway, so it couldn’t be repaired. The size of the chunk of steel in the tread would probably have ruled out a repair anyhow. Replacing the tire was an additional $195 expense I could have done without, but it is just one of those risks on a long trip.
By the time I hit the Oklahoma state line, I ran into the next storm system and had torrential rain the rest of the way home. The trip through Oklahoma City on I-40 was the worst. The multi-lane roadway has no reflective lane markings, and the heavy rain turned the roadway into a black mirror that made it impossible to know what lane one was in. It twists and turns and dips its way through the city with water pooling and creating hydroplaning hazards. The risks combined to produce one multi-vehicle crash on my route through the city. I finally crossed the threshold at 11 pm. The road trip totaled 3,743.1 miles.
Tamia Nelson, of paddling.net, once wrote that in the process of shuttling and reaching paddling locations, one could count on having to drive ten miles for every mile paddled on the water. I thought that was horrible. On this trip, however, even with a 115 mile paddling trip, I still drove 33 miles for every mile paddled. Wow!
To all the friends that helped along the way, and all those who shared the experience, my sincerest appreciation for sharing the adventure. Thank you, and I hope we can do it again.