Tired and Flat

June 17th

The US83 South - the so-called Road to Nowhere - in the first hour, two cars passed us in the opposite direction. 60 miles, and two cars? 

The soil around this area was beautiful. Sounds like a strange thing to remark on, but it's true - vermillion red, luminous like dry rust, or ginger. Contrasted with bruised blue clouds that remained bloated and contorted. We continued South, heading for the Texan hill country, and some peaceful weather conditions!

We left Abilene after lunch, and rejoined the highway 285, crossing with our route out through Aspermont and Old Glory. We had completed a circle! I still wanted to see the Gulf cost though, so we pointed our noses directly South.

"What's that noise?" I asked.

"What noise?" 

"That noise..."

"Yeah, is it the road?"

BANG!!

"Shit."

"Yep. Shit."

These vehicles do not behave well with all tyres inflated, and when you lose one they are utter pigs. Unfortunately the road was relatively busy by now too, and you only stop on the hard shoulder here (after seeing how trucks drive) if you are suicidal. We staggered along for another 400 yards until I saw a drive, a track, to a ranch.

We pulled in and simply stopped in the middle of the gravel drive! Bravely, I sent Sarah off to check that we were okay with the owners at the ranch house, 200 yards back, while I got on the phone to the Roadside Assistance.

Incidentally, that first phone call was amusing. I didn't know where I was, and the woman on the other end asked me if I was going to drive to Dallas to have the tyre (tire) fixed! 

Nevertheless, we got put on to Ford Rescue (transferred from Camping World), and the woman there tracked us down based upon my description, and promised to have a someone out to fix the flat (inner right rear - double wheeled axle) within the hour. Meanwhile Sarah returned from the house, followed by a large dog! Nobody appeared to be home --

Within half an hour, a car turned into the drive (a VW no less, very sophisticated out here :) ).

"Err, hello?" I offered,

"Hi there."

"Sorry - we're blocking your drive,"

"I see that,"

"And we have a puncture,"

"I see that too," he smiled, a young guy, smartly dressed. No shotgun visible. "Don't worry about it! I live here, and you're very welcome! Do you have someone coming to help? Otherwise..."

"It's fine thanks, appreciate the offer."

He smiled again, and went up to the house. Presumably he put the large dog away, and then drove past us again, back out and away. However he hadn't finished yet. He returned, with another member of the Jacoby clan, no more than an hour later - and handed out steak, and t-shirts and hats! How lovely and amazing is that? They explained that they owned the black cattle in the fields, and a restaurant in the nearby town.

So, so nice. The

Jacoby folk

are opening a restaurant in Austin soon, as well as the one they have in the town of Melvin, if you happen to be out there. Lovely people, and we're very grateful too! We left them a photo outside their door (that was all we could come up with)...

And no, they didn't get an animated picture. I just wanted to point out Sarah's strange twitch> See what I have to put up with?

Just at the same moment (his car is arriving in the background!), the mechanic, Tyler, arrived with his family; and his son, a sweet 4 year old called Tate, took centre stage!

Tyler didn't take long to replace the shredded tyre with the spare, but he did have a bad message for us;

He couldn't believe that these tyres were on a rental vehicle! He said that at least three of the four rear tyres were not roadworthy. They MIGHT last 500 miles.

Can you imagine how we felt after hearing that, bearing in mind that just a few days ago we were on the Million Dollar Highway?

We are NOT amused.

Determined not to drive too far, and tired anyway, once fixed we headed a few miles down the road and stayed in a cheap RV place for the night (essentially a workers' trailer park). We tried a few phone calls to sort out a response with respect to the tyres.... and that brought us to the next day...