Real life Rears its Ugly Head

It’s always tough for us when our April “vacation” ends, and this year was no different.  We tend to put off unpleasant things as best we can during this month because it is the most stress-free time we have all year.  Consequently those items start to build up, and towards the end of our time we often have to deal with them.  We decided to take our last free week and go to Idaho and see if we could get some things done.  Before we left we had one last night with Cori and Greg, and splurged on a dinner at Hell’s Backbone Grill.  We had passed the restaurant several times and even looked at the menu, but it was way too expensive for a casual lunch.  Cori was curious and did some research and found out the restaraunt has a very special story.

It was started by two women and founded on Buddhist principles, which is incredibly unusual for a restaurant in Utah, in a town of 400 people.  Despite it’s location it is highly acclaimed and has won numerous national awards.  More importantly, to us at least, the owners have been active in the fight to preserve the Grand-Staircase Escalante National Monument and since that matters to us, we wanted to support their business.  We made a reservation (can’t remember the last time I did that) and arrived to a packed house.  Coincidentally it was Easter evening, and they did have a few special menu items.

The cook book with a picture of the two owners in the corner. The older woman came to our table but unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to talk to her.


I liked their manifesto, especially not eating anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.


The forward was written by Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt who talked about how concerned the locals were that the park area would be ruined. Turns out that isn’t the case and I think it’s a good example of the government doing something right.


This page talks about how the women felt when they started the restaurant and how long it took them to be accepted. I will say if two liberal Buddhist women can be accepted in rural Utah then there is definitely hope for this country.


The main dining room. we were in a side area that was smaller.


The light covers were all old colanders which we all thought was pretty cool.

As neat as all of that was I will say the meal was a mixed bag.  Keep in mind it was $140 for the two of us, and I can count on one hand how often I have spent that much on a dinner in the last five years.  Oddly the entrees were the absolute best part of the meal (that’s usually where I am let down), but the appetizers were mediocre and the deserts were a 50/50 split.  Service was OK…took a long time to be seated and a longer time to get our initial drinks, but once we started rolling he did a really good job.  This restaurant falls in the category of “I am glad we went once, but I probably wouldn’t go back”, but it was a very nice way to end our time with Cori and Greg.

We were all excited about the deviled eggs, but they were pretty bland. The only thing I liked about them was the carrot chip sticking up. It was pretty and tasty and I may steal that the next time I make deviled eggs. It was $6 for 3 with an additional half for $1.  Because the eggs are organic they are very small and again I found them bland.


Cori and I got the filet and it was excellent. Local beef, cooked perfectly and VERY tender. The boys had meatloaf, again local grass fed beef, and loved it.


We decided to splurge and all order a separate desert so we could try them all. Lee loved the lava cake.


The lemon cupcake which I was really excited about was again very bland.


I didn’t care for the gingerbread cake at all although Cori liked it. I am not a huge fan of ginger.


Greg’s carrot cake was OK, but we all agreed Bill’s is way better.

It ended up being a late night, and we all took our time leaving in the morning because we were expecting a short day. Jack seemed excited to go and I was happy that we were going to have enough time to see a little bit of Idaho.  We had blown through the state several times but never really stopped and done anything there.  While researching I found a combination RV Center and RV park and thought maybe we could kill two birds with one stone and get a little bit of work done and sight see.

It was a nice day and a pretty drive as we slowly headed up towards Salt Lake City.  We even found a cool Flying J along our route that had a petting zoo with a camel.  That was a first!

Just not something you expect to see, but good for the owner for having something unique.

As usual, we pulled into the truck lanes and for once were the only vehicle there.  As Lee was pumping gas a gentleman walked over and started talking to him about our tires.  This particular truck stop had a tire repair shop attached, and since it was the Monday after Easter and early in the day I guess they had some extra time. We knew we had to get our trailer tires replaced before the end of the summer, but the repair tech said they could do it immediately if we were interested.  Needless to say this was highly unusual, but two thoughts went through my head.  First was is this some sort of scam, and second was maybe God was nudging us to not wait, and get it done now.  It would cost us nothing but a little bit of time to get a quote so we finished getting gas and pulled next to their bay.  While Lee talked with them about the cost, I took the puppy for a walk in the nearby field which was full of pretty flowers.

They came back with a quote of $1500, which was on par with what it would cost us later.  My only concern was they only had tires that were made in China, but they were able to show us a very recent born on date.  Again, we were back and forth with whether we should get it done, so we phoned our friend Bill to see what he thought.  After some quick research he said the tires seemed to be OK, and verified the cost wasn’t completely out of whack.  Mainly because I couldn’t bear the thought that we would pull out and then get a flat, I agreed it was a good idea and Lee and I went inside to have lunch while they changed the tires.

This Dairy Queen sign was awesome.


Did you know they have fried cheese curds at Dairy Queen? Wow were they good. I know not great as a diet food, but I only ate a few of them.


In case you think we didn’t really need the tires…

The repair unfortunately took longer than the hour that was quoted and while we were waiting I called the Passport America campground we were planning on staying to get their after hours check in policy.  Imagine my surprise when the answering machine message said the office was closed Monday for Easter holiday  and no walk-ins would be allowed.  WTH??!!??  Since we had stayed there twice before that was the last thing I expected and started looking for somewhere else to stay.   Lee wanted full hookups so we could flush and fill after being without hookups for so long and the limited choices in the Salt Lake area  were all really expensive.  Finally I found a campground with some openings and and paid over the phone to avoid any issues with late check-in.  While I was doing all of this, the tires were finished and the tech came and talked to us about the balancing crystals he had put in the tire.  Lee was worried about our tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), but the tech said they should work fine together.  Lee also watched him hand torque every single lug nut, because we have several friends who had new tires come off because they were not put on properly.

Crystals used to balance the tire were pretty cool. We had never seen these.


Two types of valve cores. The top one is a standard valve core, and the bottom one has an extra piece to prevent the crystals from clogging the airway.

We started down the highway, and less than 12 miles later Lee got an emergency warning on our TPMS.  He immediately pulled off the freeway and got out to take a look.  One of our trailer tires was completely flat, and we were stuck on the side of the highway.  Lee called on the phone and the tech said they would drive out and help.  It took about a half an hour to get to us and the tech stated there was something wrong with the valve or core. The tire would need to be taken off, taken back to the shop, and looked at, but they needed to go back to the truck stop to get the right jack to lift the heavy fifth wheel.  We were both pretty upset, but what could we do, so we sat there until they came back to us.  Unfortunately it started pouring down raining and lightning and we knew they wouldn’t be coming back until the storm passed.  If you have ever sat on the side of a busy highway, you know it is pretty unpleasant and the rain and lightning just made it worse.  Jack was freaking out a little bit by the unusual occurrence, so I put him on my lap and petted him so he would stay calm.

The readout on our TPMS


Initial visit


Started raining


Still raining but no lightning when they came back.

The only good thing was when they came back they brought everything they needed to fix it so they wouldn’t have to take the tire with them, and we were on the road again within 45 minutes.  They stated that some of the pellets got caught in the core, but he had changed the cores on ALL the tires there on the side of the road, and everything should be fine now.  Since it was getting late we didn’t argue, but headed towards our RV Park. The “Lakeside Campground” which wasn’t actually on the lake, had nice pull through sites and better still a terrific dog park.  Jack was cooped up all day and definitely needed to run around a little.

The neatest things about the campground was it was right next to a storage place that had tons of cool vintage signs

Really great dog park


Easy sites to get in and out of

I thought the lake would be through these trees but it was actually across the street.

Despite the mis-marketing it was a nice quiet campground and after the long day we got a good night’s rest.  Lee was able to flush the tanks and we felt good about continuing our journey.  Unfortunately, this was not to be as we woke up to yet another flat tire.  This was a different one on the trailer and we were both furious by this time.  I called the gas station owner and left a message and Lee borrowed a compressor from the campground to inflate the tire.  They finally called us back and said the tires could be fixed at any tire repair place and they would pay for the repair.  Lee felt OK about driving to the nearest Les Schwab and it was after 11am when we finally pulled out of the campground.  Thankfully we made it to a Les Schwab about 6 miles away and they seemed to know exactly how to fix the problem.  They said all the tire valves needed to be replaced and they were happy to do it.   It was quick and efficient and they didn’t even charge anything for the work.  We were both super relieved that the problem seemed to be solved and drove over to a nearby Chuckarama buffet to celebrate.

The flat Lee woke up to

Nice, clean buffet

The rolls are baked fresh every day and were super yummy


One odd thing was it was Tuesday  or “Oriental night.” Watching the video in the lobby talk about how much they loved the “oriental” food was a bit bizarre. They really should update the name and the video.

After lunch, I took a turn driving.  It had been another long day and we hadn’t even got to Idaho yet.  We had gotten smacked pretty hard with real life and both of us felt the vacation was over.

Pooped out!

One more thing  I would like to add… please be careful when you get new tires.  A shocking amount of people I know have had issues with brand new tires that range from flats to tires flying off of trucks or RVs.  If you have TPMS, I personally would never let them use those beads, because they can get stuck in the valves.  I would also watch them tighten every single lug nut and even double check them yourself.  Also, be sure whoever works on them has experience with RV tires.  They are not the same as semi-trucks or cars especially if you have a tire pressure monitoring system.


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11 thoughts on “Real life Rears its Ugly Head

  1. We feel your pain!!! Sorry you had tire issues but very happy that no people or vehicles were hurt!!!! Hope real life treats you a bit better going forward:o)

  2. Happy it all worked out well for you. We had a similar experience at a Flying J in Beaver, UT. There was a tire store next to the gas station. The first time as we were filling up a tire guy came over and looked at our tires and told me we had problems with the front tires “cupping”. I told him I thought the tires were good and we went on our way. The following year we had all six tires replaced because of cracking. Again we stopped in Beaver to camp overnight and refuel at the same station. Again a tire guy comes over and tells me I need tires, less than ten days since I had them replaced. I reported them to Pilot Flying J and they told me they weren’t affiliated with the tire store, but they have a long history of scamming customers and were taken to court. In Venice, FL we had Toyo’s put on and beads dropped in to balance. They worked well didn’t notice any difference from the Michelin’s. The beads didn’t bother our TPMS because we don’t have the inserts. Our TPMS screw on the top of the valve stem.

  3. I’m so sorry you had such a bad experience right after a wonderful holiday with everyone…Tires are so important when buying…we also had an issue but with alignment…at 4,500 miles our rear right tire was totally worn out due to the alignment…we drove for 5 hrs before Guy could stop and put on the spare. The closest place to get the alignment done was in Caper, Wy a 10hr trip…After hearing on the same day about our friends loosing their tire we knew we didn’t want to chance driving any further. We also went out and purchased a torque wrench so we could check the tires more often…
    I hope your summer is much better!

  4. Pingback: Eight Year – By The Numbers – Camper Chronicles

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