Today was another one of those days when my guardian angels had to work overtime. I think they deserve to get at least double time-and-a-half. :>) Before leaving Needles, I stopped at a Shell station to feed Daisy (at $3.49 per gallon!). A serviceman spotted a bad problem with the outside dual tire on the right. It had two gaping rips in the sidewall and he could see it flexing with each rotation of the tire. It was ripped right down to the inner fabric -- a dangerous state of affairs!
The rips must have been under the fender skirt where I couldn't see them when I checked the tires before leaving the RV park. God evidently made the serviceman more observant to make up for my lack of thoroughness. I should have looked under the fenders, too. However, I wouldn't have been able to see where the duals had rubbed each other. I'm very thankful that the problems were discovered in time to prevent a disaster.
When he took that tire off, he could see that it and the inner tire were worn on the sidewalls and had bubbles. This was caused by friction as the tires rubbed against each other after the inner dual had gone flat. The left front tire also was damaged. I will avoid US 395 from now on. That is one of the worst highways I have ever traveled! There were many large potholes and sometimes it was impossible to avoid them. I'm sure that they are what caused the damage to the three tires, including the valve stem failure on the inner dual.
According to the tire tech, none of the tires had been balanced when they were installed. After all was said and done, I decided that the safest and wisest action was to buy six new tires, so they would all match, and to use the one good front tire as my spare. They are Maxxis steel-belted commercial truck tires. He gave me a discounted price and did not charge for labor to install them. I had to pay for the balancing and disposal fees, though. That was $1,430.35 that I hadn't planned to spend on this trip.
Wait, there's more. I had driven quite a way on I-40 when I stopped for a little break. I did a walk-around just to see how things were going. Imagine my chagrin when I discovered that some of the lug nuts on the right rear tire had come off and that the hubcap was loose. I tried to tighten the lug nuts but couldn't. Then I called the tire tech and he told me to go to a tire store to have them replaced and to send him the bill so he could reimburse me. I stopped at a tire store in Williams, Arizona, but they were unable to put on more lug nuts or even to tighten the existing ones. To avoid the danger of damage to the valve stem extensions and loss of air, he removed the hub cap and the extensions. Now I have to find a place to complete the job tomorrow.
By the time I finally got to the Meteor Crater RV Park between Flagstaff and Winslow, it was after dark. Oh, well, tomorrow will be a better day.