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STOP #229

Today was a longer than normal drive (260 miles). We stopped just outside of Cincinnati, OH to fill the tank up with gas before taking the I-275 loop around the downtown traffic.

By taking the southeastern side of the loop around the city we briefly passed through Kentucky before arriving in Indiana. That made it possible for us to check two more State Border Crossings off of our list (OH2KY & KY2IN).

Our destination today is Brown County State Park in Indiana, the largest and one of the most scenic state parks in their system. We have four days here and will be leaving just before the weekend crowds arrive to fill their 429 campsites.

A front view of our private (no neighbors) Campsite #94.

A rear view of our very deep campsite.

MONDAY - Today we did nothing but rest and relax in THE POD after three weeks of hectic activities and socializing. The only time we left the trailer today was to drive over to the bath house to take a nice long hot showers, it sure felt good!

Tomorrow we have some errands to take care of and then we'll get to explore this beautiful park and take some photos to share with you!

TUESDAY - Today started off just fine.

Tricia took her early morning walk where she captured this photo from one of the scenic overlooks along her route, but shortly after we ate our breakfast at the Bob Evans Restaurant things started to go downhill fast.

I dropped Tricia off at the laundromat and then left to go take care of my chores for the day. First on my list was to get our brand new trailer tire repaired. I didn't mention it in the last post, mostly because I had already posted it, that when we began to leave the rally site we found out we had a flat tire.

It went unnoticed because when you have tandem tires, that's two on each side, the good tire will take the weight off the bad tire so that it doesn't visually appear flat. Anyway, Tricia got to practice her tire changing skills once again!

The problem was the special metal bolt-in tire stem on that wheel was never tightened so it was leaking air. The repair is simple, but requires breaking the tire off the wheel so you can tighten it from the backside. I bought the tires from a Goodyear Tire Store in Ohio and since there isn't one nearby us now, I took it to a Discount Tire Store here in Indiana, fully expecting to pay for the repair.

Our spare tire after the repair to the valve stem.

The manager made quick work of fixing the problem and then wouldn't charge me for the repair. I tried handing him a $20 bill but he wouldn't take it. I asked him to order a pizza for lunch to treat his three man crew and use the $20 to pay for it, he reluctantly accepted it then.

This is where things went bad! He asked me if these were supposed to be new tires? I said YES, and he told me they were already six years old. I know all about the manufacture date that is stamped on every tire sold in the United States, but never once thought to check the dates on my BRAND NEW Goodyear ($270 each) tires. Sure enough they are all stamped 3615, which means they were made the 36th week of 2015 and have been sitting on a shelf for six years.

I thanked him for the information and asked what he thought I should do about it. He informed me that Discount Tires' policy is that when a tire reaches 4 years old that it is returned to the warehouse and then sold at wholesale prices as a "new used tire". I spent the rest of the day wondering what I was going to do to solve this issue. [PROBLEM #1]

Next on my TO DO LIST is to pick up our Amazon packages at the GNC Store that is located just around the corner from the Discount Tire Store. Our packages arrived here on Saturday and Monday. I have the six digit code numbers I need to pick up the parcels on my phone, I felt I arrived well prepared and ready for anything.

The time is 10:40AM and the sign on the door states they open 10:00AM until 8:00PM, but the door is locked, the lights are off and nobody is answering the phone? [PROBLEM #2]

My day has got to get better from here, right? WRONG! Next on my list is to go to Walmart and fill two of our 3-gallon water bottles. We recently purchased 4 new water bottles, these are taller and square, so they have a smaller footprint than the short round bottles we have been using. Something that is very helpful when trying to store them in a tight spot in a travel trailer.

I noticed on my way into the store they have a recycle bin specifically for the round Primo Water bottles. They give you a ticket for a discount on your next Primo Water purchase. I placed my 4 bottles through a hole in the top of the locked bin and guess what, no tickets! I went to stand in line at the Customer Service Counter and told them what I had done and they said it happens all the time, the machine is out of tickets. They asked me how many bottles I put in and gave me four tickets with nothing more than a bar code and the words Primo on them. I then went to the very back of the store where I found their water fill station not working. I went back to the front of the store to once again stand in line at the Customer Service Counter to make sure the tickets could be used at any Walmart Store and to let them know to put an Out Of Order sign on their Primo Water Fill Machine. [PROBLEM #3]

I drove to the other side of town to another Walmart to get water and found they were selling gasoline for $2.95 when everywhere else in town was $3.05 and higher. I was happy to finally check off one thing on my TO DO LIST without any issues.

I then took my two square bottles into Walmart and found their water station in working order. At the check out register I told the cashier I had two 3-gallon refills and handed her what I thought were 4 discount tickets towards my Primo Water purchase.

I'm always trying to save money anywhere I can so Tricia and I can live off my Social Security check and not have to constantly withdraw money from our savings. So when I saw the Walmart Capital One credit card offer where you save 5% on all purchases for 1-year I applied and received the card.

The only restriction is you have to set up a Walmart Pay app on your phone and use it to pay for your purchases. Seemed like a fair tradeoff, this way I don't have to carry my wallet into the store each time, only my phone. The only thing I don't like about it is you are not issued a paper receipt at checkout because the receipt in stored in the app on your phone. At least this way you can't lose the receipt in case you need to return something, but you also don't have a paper receipt to show the greeter when leaving the store. That hasn't been an issue yet.

When I was at the check out the cashier rang up my tickets and gave me a funny look when she told me my total. I was in the middle of trying to locate the app on my phone to scan the QR Code on the little credit card monitor so I only half heard what she was saying.

I took my two bottles of water, my only purchase, out to the parking lot and loaded them into ROVER. As I climbied into the driver's seat to leave, I'm not sure why but my brain took that moment to register what the cashier had said. Did she really just say that would be $26.00 for six gallons of water?

I brought up my receipt on my phone and sure enough the total was $26. It seems the Primo tickets are for you replacing your water bottles at $6.50 a piece and basically you get the first 3-gallons of water for free. Once again I found myself standing in line for Customer Service.

When I got to the front of the line I explained the situation and they were quick to refund my $26 to my credit card. But they also were quick to charge me $2.34 for my six gallons of water.

I keep calling the GNC Store to pick up my Amazon packages but get no answer, no message machine, no nothing!

In the same parking lot as Walmart is a Dollar Tree Store. On my list is to purchase a bottle of clear fingernail polish. You're probably wondering, what that's for? Well the service guys at Airstream told us to put a little bit of polish on the decorative caps that go into the end of the screws that hold the leather straps on all our drawers and cabinets. It seems like a simple solution to the problem of the caps popping off all the time. The polish is just tacky enough to make the caps stick in place.

Just before I get out of ROVER to go into the store I realize I'm going to make a $1 purchase without a cent of cash to do so. All the quarters we keep in the truck are with Tricia at the laundromat and I'm going to look like an idiot when I have to use a credit card to make the purchase.

Finally something goes right when Tricia calls to say she's finished with the laundry and it's time to come pick her up. She can go into the Dollar Tree to purchase the nail polish.

After I pick up Tricia and we purchase the nail polish there is one more thing on my list, purchase a padlock to secure our brand new spare tire and wheel to the bottom of THE POD. Luckily there is a Menard's Store in the same parking lot as the Dollar Tree so we don't have to go far.

Our lists are both done with the exception of picking up the Amazon packages, so I make one last effort to call the GNC Store before we travel the 30 miles back to THE POD. It's close to 2:00PM and guess what, still no answer!

Around 5:00PM we start thinking about what to do for dinner. Just on a lark I call the GNC Store and a guy answers on the first ring. I inform him I've been calling all day in order to pick up my Amazon packages and he informs me he just came in at 4:00PM. I guess that's one of the perks of being an owner/operator of your own store!

I ask him to verify both my packages are indeed there and then inquire what time he will close tonight. He says, "8:00PM, just like the sign in the window says". I bit my tongue before I said what I was thinking, "is that the same sign that says you open at 10:00AM"?

Anyway we got back in ROVER, drove 30 miles back to the GNC Store, picked up our packages and found a nearby Chipotle Restuarant to eat dinner. We also went to a Culver's Restaurant to treat ourselves to a couple of frozen custard sundaes. The day ended much better than it began.

I still need to deal with the fact that we have brand new "six year old" tires on THE POD.
But that's a problem to be solved tomorrow.

WEDNESDAY - It started raining around 9:00PM last night and it's still raining at 7:00AM when we woke up this morning. After breakfast I'll have to get on the phone and find a solution for our trailer tire problem.

Five months ago when it was time to replace the tires on ROVER I explained to the Ford Dealership what features I was looking for in new tires. I definitely wanted to get away from passenger car tires and go to a light truck tire, something better suited for the poor road conditions we would encounter in Canada and Alaska. Plus they would be great on our forest roads in the lower 48 states.

Ford recommended the Goodyear Wrangler® All-Terrain Adventure With Kevlar® which they coincidentally had in stock. I took a look at the load range and speed rating of the tire along with the tread design and least importantly the appearance.

We put them on ROVER and drove them over 5,000 miles. They were quiet, not like an off road tire, and had great traction in the rain. So when it came time to replace the tires on THE POD I knew what my first choice would be. ROVER and THE POD weigh about the same and Airstream is even getting away from trailer specific tires on the new larger and heavier Classic Trailers and going to a light truck tire.

Last month when we decided to upgrade to 16" tires and wheels I began my search for a set of matching tires for THE POD. I phoned at least a half dozen Goodyear Stores and even a few Walmart Tire Centers looking for the tires. They were all out of stock and their regional warehouses were too.

When I called the Goodyear Store located just 30 miles from the Airstream Factory and found 6 tires in stock I was elated. So much so that it never occured to me to ask about the manufacture dates on the tires. That led to the problem I face today.

My first call was to the store who sold me the tires. They tried to convince me the tires were "good as new". When that didn't work he mentioned that Goodyear has a 30-day Pledge Policy that if I'm unhappy with the tires I could come back in and exchange them for a different type of tire. I restated that I was happy with the tire, just not the manufacture date.

He referred me to the Goodyear Corporate Customer Service department. I called and was told I was indeed covered, but would have to go back to the original dealer to exchange the tires. I told them that doesn't work for me and said I'd call them back.

I called six more Corporate Owned Goodyear Stores but found only one who had the tires in stock and they were down in Northern Kentucky. I asked him to check the manufacture dates on his tires and he came back saying they were late 2018s. I asked if he would install them on his wife's vehicle and he said no, that quickly answered my question if they would be satisfactory for me.

Reluctantly I called around to the Goodyear Stores near my current location and found my second choice Goodyear tires in stock with 2020 manufacture dates. I asked if he had an appointment available for tomorrow afternoon and explained that they would be covered under the 30-day Pledge. He said as long as I got it preapproved by Customer Service he would be happy to install the tires.

I called Customer Service back and told them what I would like to do. They said the original store would have to agree to pay the labor for the new install and reimberse me for the $75 difference between the price of each tire. I said, Wait a minute, both of these stores are Corporate Owned, not privately managed, and it's really just a matter of bookkeeping, no money is actually going to change hands.

She put me on hold for about 20 minutes, checking back with me every five minutes or so, and finally said if I would send her invoices from both stores after everything is done, she would take care of the $375 refund ($75 x 5). I got her name and took note of my Case # and ended the call.

So after 4 hours on the phone this morning I have an appointment at a Goodyear Tire Store tomorrow at noon to get new tires installed on THE POD. I just hope the delay in our travels doesn't mean we will be arriving after dark at our next location, further south but still in Indiana.

We did manage to get out and do a little sightseeing after it stopped raining and I solved our tire issues, so I'll share some of the photos Tricia took while on our driving tour around the park.


Located at the Main Entrance of the park is an historic covered bridge.
With a 9-foot heigth clearance (which means no trailers) and a 3-ton weight limit (which means no full sized trucks) we had to use the West Entrance to the park.
Just inside the West Entrance you'll find this Lookout Tower.
A view from inside the Lookout Tower.
A typical cabin that could have been found here at the turn of the last century.
Also inside the park is this fire tower which is open to the public to climb.
This is the larger of the two lakes located in the park.
And now for some of the scenic overlooks you'll see from the park's roadways.

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