Canada Travel Day: Flat Tire, Bear Jam, Weirdest RV Parking Lot

Yesterday probably wasn’t the most eventful travel day we’ve had, but it ranks up there.

Flat Tire

Editor’s Note #1: I’m writing a blog post about a freaking boring flat tire because I have to admit: I’ve never changed one. My mom, I’m sure, had never changed one herself, and I was silly enough not to have asked anyone else to teach me. Turns out, especially on a two-axle trailer, it’s not so bad!

Editor’s Note #2: Tracy hasn’t read this so I could have half the facts wrong. Consider this a layman’s story.

I thought this was our first flat tire on the Airstream, but Tracy reminds me that we had a flat tire previously, maybe in Florida? This exact tire, in fact, which we then got fixed. But this flat is special because it occurred while we were driving down a big highway, the Trans Canada Highway, in fact.

We were really lucky that it happened right as Tracy was pulling into a Jasper Parks rec area on the side of the road to purchase park passes for us. As soon as he put on the brakes, the trailer’s tire-pressure monitor he has stuck on the dash started going off like bonkers.

So, he pulled all the way over and we confirmed by sight: FLAT.

I set up leveling blocks under the good tire and Tracy pulled up on them in order to lift the flat tire off the ground. Voila, no jack needed.

Tracy grabbed the spare from under the front of the trailer.

His pressure gauge said it needed air, so he used the hydraulic pump we’ve been carrying around for two years and plugged it into the lithium batteries the solar guy installed under the sofa via connectors on the hitch tongue. Very handy. Even some random dude walking by complimented us on being prepared.

Next: removal of the old tire, which ain’t easy with it spinning there above the ground (we forgot to loosen one of the lug nuts before we lifted it), so we shoved another leveling doodad underneath the flat one to give it something to push against.

Tracy got the flat off and the spare on easily, but then realized we couldn’t attach the pressure monitor valve thing that the monitor in the cab connects to via bluetooth because it needs a special, long, metal stem, which the spare doesn’t have. Damn, would have been handy to monitor that spare tire as we started down the road.

No need though: it’s holding air well, and we’re good to go. After Jasper, we’re staying near Edmonton for a few days, and then we can assess if we can fix the flat tire (again) or need to buy another. Voila (I hope).

IceFields Parkway

The drive after was lovely: the IceFields Parkway was built by the government to show off the gorgeous glacier-created land between Jasper and Banff. Really dramatic mountains, all with snow and bright green glacier-fed lakes all around.

We saw signs everywhere to watch for animals on the road: elk, sheep, bears, and even caribou, which would have been totally sweet.

All was saw was this lame bear. Kidding! This bear was HUGE and took its time wandering down the side of the road. No zoom in this shot. I had the window down but had my finger on the button to lift it at any sign that bear cared about me (Banjo slept). Cars and RVs were backed up for a long while, taking pictures and leaving the bear alone. (Thanks, Mark, for the Bear Jam joke!)

Camping in an RV Parking Lot

Our destination was the IceFields visitor center parking lot because it has a dedicated RV lot where you can pay to stay. The scenery (ignoring the RVs) is amazing: one glacier in front, many mountains all around.

We parked the trailer in one spot and the truck beside it, but when we came back from hiking, a careless (or cruel) person had parked their camper in our truck spot, with inches to spare between our trailer and their RV.

Seriously, I couldn’t believe we had room to open our door just to get in.

And don’t get me started on off-leash dogs in the lot: five different German Shepherds and a small poodle, at one point. Oh, you know that makes my blood boil, but partly because I deserve the situation: I used to let my Jackie Boy off leash all the time without any thought to how that might affect other dogs. So I try not to rant. (Kidding! I rant all the time.)

My next post will be all good things about hiking the IceFields.

This photo is my promise.

5 thoughts to “Canada Travel Day: Flat Tire, Bear Jam, Weirdest RV Parking Lot”

  1. This is a great post because you were able to work things out. Im very impressed with the orange leveling lifts(or whatever they are called). Ive never seen that before. The glaciers are spectacular!

    1. Those orange leveling blocks can be a pain: depending on the surface, once the tire hits the edge, they’ll slide, and I have to put my toe on them then pull back before the tires runs over me! We have a wedge-shaped set too that we used the wrong way at first and broke. Leveling isn’t easy.

  2. We had one of those ramp things for changing a tire on the horse float but never had cause to use it. Nice to see it would have worked!

    1. Ours are really for leveling the Airstream (not so important for a horse trailer) but I’m glad they work like this, too!