Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Trip in the Mini

Tire Problems?

Dave checks the tires

Right around 100 miles into the trip the flat tire warning indicator light came on, right in the middle of the desert. The Mini being so small does not have room for a spare tire. So all of the Mini's must utilize run-flat tires. I had to call Mini roadside assistance whose only answer was “we can tow you to the closest Mini dealer (which meant either Scottsdale or Burbank, Ca) or limp you way to the closest tire store and get a new tire. I hung up disgruntled. I limped my way into Quartzite where the clerk at the local gas-n-go recommended a tire place that “was up the road a holler.”
We drove in to Quartzite Tire and discovered that they had never seen nor heard of a Mini. “What the hell is that?” asked one of the customers as he was moving a tire that was larger than our car (really). One of the kid’s there really took the time to check the tires out on the car. David Phoenix (yes, that was the kid’s real name) put the car up on a jack, checked every tire, filled up the car and gave us his card and told us to call him to let him know that we made it okay. When I offered to pay he refused. Talk about customer service. People these days just don’t take care of or care about customers like David did. Thanks to him we made it there and back.

Packing for the Trip Home
Everything fit, barely. Jill’s dad gave me a couple of hardback Tom Clancy novels and it put us over the top, literally. There was no more room in the trunk. The reality of it is that every time we go on a trip we end up bring more stuff back with us. Aimee usually rakes it in with souvenirs and gifts from family. When it comes down to it the Mini is a great car for zipping around and probably a great road trip for car for one, maybe two people. But I have come to the conclusion that it is not a road trip family car.

The Ride Back
David’s solution to our challenge was to inflate the tires on the Mini to the maximum tire pressure recommended by the tire manufacturer. Mini however recommends that the pressure remain at 30 PSI as opposed to 50 PSI. We could feel every single bump and crack in the road. It felt like my teeth were going to be rattled out of my head. On Sunday I was dreading the ride home so I rushed off to Pep Boys, got a pressure gage, deflated each of the tires to 35lbs and began the journey home. The difference was instantaneous and a relief to all. Aimee watched The Incredibles and slept on the way home, Jill read and cat napped until we stopped for dinner at the Spaghetti Factory in Phoenix.

Jill’s comment afterward was “honey, enjoy the car cause I am over it.” And with that Jill’s honeymoon with the Mini was over.

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