Before every trip, I follow a checklist of procedures that need to be done and items to include, which are spread over a 4-day period. Critical items that must be done are checking and adjusting tire pressures, and checking the torque of the trailer wheel lug nuts to lessen the chance of a tire or wheel failure (See Outside Interests‘ “Tire Tips – Part 2″). I lug around a rather heavy air compressor to each tire that needs more air and then I apply a torque wrench to each lug nut in a star pattern* to the specified tightness of 110-120 ft-lbs two days before departure (See “Carry a Torque Wrench for RV Maintenance“).* See and hear Colonial Airstream’s Patrick Botticelli’s video, “Airstream Tire Safety,”* which includes information about tire inspection, tire pressures, lug nut torque, DOT (Department of Transportation) Code for manufacture date, and when to replace tires.
Last month, two days before our first trip of our fall-winter-spring camping season, I checked the tire pressures, placed PressurePro tire monitoring sensors on our ST tires* and checked lug nut torque. I am right handed, so I lugged the air compressor and checked the lug nuts mostly with my right arm. Our aged air compressor seemed to struggle at times with the job, so at the end of the day, I went to Home Depot and got a new compressor and then went to Costco and picked up a half-gallon of ice cream and a large apple pie, mostly with my right arm. That evening, I felt the arm ache, which interrupted my sleep. The day before departure, I continued with my checklist and the ache became pain and burning that persisted throughout the night. I awoke on departure day realizing that hitching up would result in further injury, so we reluctantly canceled our November trip to the desert.
Ten years ago, we first bought this Airstream Safari just before Thanksgiving when I was 69 years old (By the way, November is a great time to shop and haggle for a new Airstream). Next month will be the 10th year of our camping with this Airstream travel trailer, and I will be 70 in March. It seems this Airstream is holding up better than my body parts, as my Kaiser Urgent Care diagnosis of right arm tendonitis* confirmed. Fortunately, after a 2-week course of Motrin 800 mg q8 hrs and most importantly, rest,* I feel up to preparing for our return to the desert this month.
Whether this incident is a fluke, or a sign of things to come remains to be seen. We have reservations for camping sites through next April…
*This is a link to a YouTube video.