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STORIES FROM THE ROAD


August 17, 1999

CLOSE CALL

I hate "chip-sealing" more than thorns. Take that back. Maybe a close second to either "goathead" thorns or mesquite thorns. Chip sealing is when the road crews lay down a layer of tar on the old road surface and then apply a layer of stone which is not always packed down. This is a pain to ride over because of all of the loose stones which of course accumulate at the road's edges. Then there is always the constant dust.

After riding over seven miles of it, I was quite happy when I got back on some good old well-used pavement even though there were some cracks in it. I really don't mind pavement cracks as long as my tires don't get caught in them. About six miles east of the small town of Beggs, Oklahoma, my rear tube gave up the ghost because of a pinhole leak. I put in a new inner tube and had the wheel back on in about ten minutes.

I didn't get back on the road right then because I noticed something a lot worse up front. There was a big bulge and the inner tube was starting to stick out of the tire. It looked like the tread was somehow cut open. I took the front wheel off the bike to check it out. There was no way that I could make up some kind of boot and get back on it and ride on to Muskeegee.

The tire was too far gone. Anyway, I had at least 3000 miles on it. What got me to start shaking a bit inside was that I might have actually coasted down several hills earlier in the day at a good clip with the tear and bulge forming. Any second during those coasts the tube could have blown and there might have been a serious crash. I had to stop and say a quick prayer of "thank you" to ADONAI to keep me safe. Maybe my guardian angels were holding my bike up.

I put the wheel back onto the bike and lowered the tire pressure as low as I could and still allow me enough tire pressure to walk the bike along. I was still at least 22 miles out of Muskogee. I was supposed to attend a framing class at the community college in Muskogee with some of the board members of the local Habitat affiliate.

After about two miles of road walking, I was picked up by a local gentleman in a truck and taken to the next town of Bald Hill where I was told that there was a phone. At the store in Bald Hill, I was able to get in touch with my affiliate contact who came and picked me up with enough time to spare to get to the class on time. I was able to get a new front tire the next day.




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