Sunday, July 6, 2008
Day 10 - ON THE ROAD
We set off at 9am after putting the posters that Venice, CA artist Robbie Conal, gave to us.
On the road for nearly 2 hours, the air pressure alarm goes off (the bus runs on air brakes and thus needs at least 90 psi to brake). However, the gauge tells us that the air pressure was at 120+. We pull into a rest stop and call the mechanic from the night before. He tells us that we should be fine and something must be wrong with the gauge.
We get back on the highway, only to discover that we had been going on the wrong freeway for the past hour: we were on 75-S instead of 85-S. We pull out our road atlas and find a smaller highway that will connect us to 85-S.
We drove with the alarm going off for another 2 hours. Now the air pressure has fallen and we are driving without brakes. We start calling mechanics to see if one is near where we are or if they could meet us where we are. We find one in Columbus, GA. We safely stop at a gas station where he meets us and fixes the governor of our air brake system.
We're on the road again to Mobile, Alabama.
20 miles north of Mobile, Alabama on I-65S (a 2-lane, 70 mph highway) we are on a suspended road over a swamp that will take us into Mobile. Right before we go over the bridge into Mobile...we feel a jolt and then looked out the right windows of the bus to see our tire bouncing past us. We come to a quick, smooth stop to avoid sparking of the rims. But there is no shoulder on the highway; we are in the right lane without our hazard lights working. We quickly run out to see what happened. We lost a tire and the rim, but the wheel is still intact. Cars are speeding by and an 18-wheel tractor-trailer almost hits us. He stops in time, leaving his truck behind the bus to divert traffic.
Calls are made to AAA for towing, and to 911 for highway assistance.
3 hours later, no towing service is available to tow our bus. The Alabama State Troopers have stopped traffic (on the tail end of July 4th weekend), creating a 5 mile back-up. The troopers finally call in a favor and a semi-truck is borrowed to tow us.
The bus is towed to Wingfoot in Mobile. We spend the night at a Super 8 motel down the street.