When Putting Air in your Tires Becomes a Herculean Feat

Putting air in your tires. An everyday occurrence. Or actually, in my life, a rare occurrence because I almost never needed to do it. Or if I did, I lived in blissful (dangerous) ignorance.

That was BTT. Before the Trailer.

Now with less than two weeks of driving on her, baby needed air. And I didn’t even know it. A guy at the gas station came over and said one tire in particular looked low to him. He must have super powers because I couldn’t discern a difference. He then punched my tires (what did they do to him?) and nodded with confidence, yup, they needed air.

A Brother’s Love

My brother gave me a gizmo that will jump your battery and (in theory) put air your tires. Awesome gizmo. Doesn’t come with instructions–they must think it’s all too obvious. For context though, toothpaste has instructions.

So since I have four tires on Big Bessie (my SUV) plus four tires on the trailer and the gas station is hard to navigate I thought, let’s break out the gizmo.

I confidently attached the hose to the tire thingy, turned on the gizmo, and air came OUT of the tire. Um, not what I was aiming for. Flipped the switch the other way. More air escaped. Alright, no more squatting, it’s time to plop my bum right on the disgusting concrete – clean pants be damned – and get to work. Nothing.

Damsel in Distress

So I did the most logical thing: scouted the gas station for a man who looked like he knew something about cars. Found him, he praised my brother for the gizmo, and set to work. He, too, was befuddled. Tried again. Nada. We worked out a logistical plan for me to access the gas station air pump and he bid me farewell.

For the Love of All that’s Holy

It took 45 minutes to fill my tires with air. F.O.R.T.Y.-F.I.V.E. minutes.

See, I had to approach the air pump from two directions because the cord wasn’t long enough to reach the SUV and trailer in one visit. And I couldn’t just pull forward, nope – convenience store or road in the way. Notice I say they were “in the way”  – because it was all about me at this point.

Four dollars in quarters – which I had to get from the laundry coffers; going around the block to approach the pump from the north and then the south; pulling that hose over and under because come hell or high water I was filling my tires.

I wondered why I bothered to shower that morning.

Phone Home

Now I have a call in to the tire guy from back home. Is two weeks reasonable for needing to put air in the tires? How frequently should I rotate them? I’m changing my oil more often, do the same with the tires? Where does he suggest I go for service?


Hitting the road takes a lot more than an adventurous spirit and some cash! Holy logistics, Batman!

What logistical lessons have you learned about travel?




7 Responses

I haven’t learned any big lessons yet, but I’m taking the kids for a week with an RV… I’m pretty sure there are lessons on my horizon. Like have my dad check the tire pressure before I leave. 🙂 Thanks… I think I should be taking notes.

You go, girl!!! Just think of all the life skills you’re gaining. I’m sure it’ll be a snap next time 😉


Your post made me smile, because I shared a house when I first left university with a woman who could put air into tyres but couldn’t let out any excess. I could let out air no problem, but like you, couldn’t pump them up. We used to go to the service station weekly to manage the task between us – we made a great team!

We’re just about to start our 2012 US Road Trip and its great fun to anticipate our travels via your blog. Thanks for sharing!

now that’s teamwork! please let me know when you hit the road – i’d love to follow your journey.

Glad you are having fun and learning so much about all kinds of things. You totally made me giggle in your post. (funny visual of you pumping up those tires)

[…] Forty-three cars drive 1.5 miles for 200 laps. The majority of the time they’re going 200 mph, then slow down to zero at the pit stop for 10 tire changes and re-fuels per race and rev back up again. The pit stop: 12.5 seconds. My average pit stop: 15 minutes. Unless of course, I have to put air in my tires. […]


Your Momma was smart when she wrote me about your blog. I enjoy reading your humorous stuff on travel and travail. Keep it up Paula, cause I like it It’s educational as well. Jack

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