Hankinson to Minot

Well, I made it to Minot only three hours later than expected. Too late for dinner. 🙁 The only thing that makes me feel better about today is that the tire that blew is NOT one of the original tires, but rather the one that was put on in Brandon. And the one that blew in Oklahoma also wasn’t one of the originals. Moral of the story: buy Michelins.

It was a good morning in Hankinson, a little cold because of the wind, but the sun was warm. It took about two and a half hours to get all my chores done, with the longest one being trying to get Google to load a satellite image of the Minot Walmart (which did not happen). It was exactly 10:00 when I pulled onto I-29, with my ETA being 15:45.

The wind was horrible, but otherwise the driving was easy. When I pulled into the Oriska rest stop at noon, I was unusually smart and had lunch!

I then decided to try the diagonal route on US-52 from Jamestown rather that 90 degree angling it through Bismarck like I did in the opposite direction last year, just to avoid driving through Bismarck. I’ll take US-52 from now on; it was an easier drive.

The gas at the casino was surprisingly expensive (still cheaper than the environs), so I hadn’t left with a full tank. I had a quarter left when I hit US-52, with the next gas station being just 50KM away. I can usually do 125 to 175KM on a quarter tank. I was on fumes when I got to the gas station!!!!!!!

Getting out of the gas station was surprisingly tricky because I needed to make two sharp turns, one right, one left. I was certain that was going to end in disaster with the toad hitting something, so I walked the area and discovered that I could just pull ahead into the neighbouring bank’s parking lot and make my right turn from there. Well, that wasn’t going to work either; too much traffic. I decided to turn left since I would have had to turn left at some point to rejoin US-52. That took me through downtown. The GPS told me to turn right to rejoin US-52. Uh, not going to happen, there were low lying branches in the middle of the road! Next right turn option had construction. Thankfully, the absolute last option worked out and I was able to rejoin US-52. Have I mentioned recently how much I loathe getting gas?

The wind died down after and I was making good time to Minot when the blowout happened. I am convinced that the rumble strip caused the tire to fail. Don’t look at me like that! I have had a rumble strip shred a tire before, and a much newer one than this. If you hit it at just the right angle with a hot tire, BOOM. And I had gone into the rumble strip to avoid a hole. 🙁

There are only two things for which I can be grateful. Number one, I was on a very narrow road with almost no shoulder and this happened right at the entrance to a nice big scenic turnout. Two, I had cell service, albeit barely.

My GPS wasn’t too helpful this time, so I got online (in text mode only, and even that was sloooooow) and Googled ‘mobile tire repair minot.’ I called the first number and not only did they not do mobile service, they didn’t know who did. The next number also didn’t do mobile service, but gave me the number of those who do.

It took about an hour for the repair guy to get to me. Besides having a hard time getting the old tire off the rim, the job seemed fairly easy. I am not going to name the company until the payment issue is resolved. I was quoted $300 over the phone and when I got the bill it was $400, the difference being a service call fee on top of the mileage fee. The driver said he would have the manager call me before putting the charge through. So I don’t want to say anything about the company before I know if I should advise the world that they took advantage of my plight or if they did right by me.

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The turnout was scenic, so you might wonder why I didn’t just spend the night there. Well, I didn’t have a good feeling about the place. This hasn’t happened many times in my five years on the road, but I got a very strong “you don’t want to be here after dark” vibe. So I hooked the truck back up while the guy was packing his tools and preparing the invoice and then drove the final 40 minutes into Minot.

The Walmart is as it was last time, crowded and busy. I am going to try to get myself turned around into an easier departure location if the cars thin out.

I had planned to stock up on some dry goods here and then do a good grocery in Estevan, but those plans and those to cross the border with a full tank of gas in the truck went out the window with my $400. 🙁 I had a little breathing room and it’s all gone again. What is the universe trying to tell me?

What makes me most mad about today is that I absolutely needed to be relaxed tonight since the border crossing is tomorrow morning. That’s enough to fret about. 🙁

I don’t know how I am going to reconcile this conflict of mine, my love for taking my home with me everywhere and my absolute hatred of actually driving it anywhere. 🙁