Sunday, July 1, 2012

Is That a Flat Tire? And Lava Tubes

Our plan for Friday morning was to drive about 88 miles from Burney Falls to the Lava Beds National Monument.  Craig has a navigation program on his Android phone, and we have tested it out a number of times in our home territory.  Unfortunately, when Verizon service goes away, the navigation software can't get its instructions.

However, being a well prepared traveler, I had printed out the MapQuest directions for our first six stops on this trip. But because I confused one line of the directions, we thought we had overshot our destination when we were really 20 miles short of it.

We got to a point where we  weren't sure about making a turn.  Fortunately we could see a little town in a "wide place in the road" just ahead. 

We passed the turn and stopped for directions.  Unlike the average city gas station attendant, the man working there was quite helpful, and told us we should have turned "back there."

No problem.  It was a very "wide place in the road" with good visibility, and almost no traffic. Craig did a nice wide U turn.  

At the end of the turn we heard and felt a Thump, Thump, Thump!  The car was doing an oscillation in the rear camera monitor, probably in the front end.  We stopped right away and got out to check the tires expecting to find a flat.  Strangely, everything was fine.  Craig got back in and pulled forward slowly.  I watched the wheels, and nothing seemed amiss.  I did have to run alongside the Alfa for a ways, but finally he stopped and I got aboard.  We don't understand what happened or what the noise was.  We went on our way and all is well.  It had something to do with making the U turn.  

Any ideas?

We arrived at the Lava Beds just before noon, had a little lunch, and then went off to see some Lava Tubes.

I found that I am getting a bit claustrophobic in my old age.  I wasn't really comfortable going down into holes in the ground!

I was better about the larger tubes. We had to wear hard hats and use flashlights.  There were no guides.

It was interesting, and I do like caves in general.  There was something about some of these that made me uncomfortable.  Maybe it is because I have experienced one of California's bigger earthquakes,  (1989 Loma Prieta) when we were very close to the epicenter.  Maybe it was because I carry a packet of grief in my heart for the eleven year old grandson of a friend of mine, who died in the collapse of a sand cave he and his friends were digging in the side of a cliff.

For whatever reason, I just prefer to be top side for as long as possible!


  1. My only idea is that it is certainly a novel way to get your 10,000 steps in...running alongside the moving Alpha! Ha Ha!! :)

  2. Could you have run over something? I can certainly understand your concerns about going underground! I have asked several times on cavern tours whether they've ever had an earthquake and they always say no! Of course! Dumb question, Sparky!

  3. We don't do a lot of caves. I don't usually have too much of a problem with them but just don't want to spend much time underground. Love Judy's comment about the steps.

  4. A recent neighbor in this RV park in Custer, SD was just telling us about those Lava Tubes! Not for me thank you very much!!! I don't even enjoy a short trip to our basement at home!

    Maybe your tires were sliding on some loose gravel as you were turning?

  5. Hope the tires are still ok..perhaps they were rubbing on the bumper of the MH with the tight U turn?

    Those caves actually look interesting, but I'm with you..what if there is an earthquake? Yikes!

  6. I don't like caves, no way, no how! Interesting geological feature but I'll just enjoy the pictures. Glad you tire was okay. I agree with meowmomma, probably tires slipping on loose gravel.

  7. I love caves. The only ones I'd worry about in an earthquake are lava tubes as they're close to the surface and pretty unstable.

    When we go to limestone caverns, I don't have a problem at all. Earthquakes don't usually affect limestone caves as much.

    I've been in lots of caves, and have actually been to Lava Beds National Monument many times. (I lived in Klamath Falls, Oregon for ten months and we loved going to Lava Beds in the summer...much cooler in the caves, especially the ice caves.)


  8. Oops.. is the correct blog address.

  9. Pulled a tight turn in a sandy area one time & noticed our Santa Fe at the time did kind of a 'wheel hop' in the softer sand. Was concerned I had maybe bent the rim or something but everything was OK. Had couple lava lamps once but never been in a lava tube:))

  10. I'll bet the problem was because of the hard turn Craig made to do the u-turn and the toad's tires didn't turn the direction they should have.

    One time we had something similar happen. It was because I forgot to make sure the toad front tires were pointed the direction of the MH. (learned from that lesson).

    When we started to pull away, the toad bounced around as the MH jerked it along. The tires were not pointed forward and could not roll.

    I'm wondering if when he made the turn, the tires didn't come around to the direction the MH was turning and kind of bumped along?

    We didn't do any damage to our tires because we were in loose sand. Hopefully you didn't either.

    You wouldn't think u turn would cause this, but it's definitely something to think about. I'll be aware of the possibility now.


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