We hitched the Ram up on Monday for the drive back with a little extra cargo, including a couple dozen boxes of magazines, a hundred or so shirts, and a nearly full tank of gas in the '09 Ram. Those few additions might have proved to be the downfall of the off-brand tires mounted to our tandem-axle trailer. Just west of Los Cruces, New Mexico, I awoke from my nap to see Dan pulling the truck to the shoulder of Highway 10 with a blowout. After getting out and surveying the damage, we noticed that the tire tread, after coming apart, had bent the wheelwell of the trailer. No amount of hammering with our 21-ounce hammer was doing anything, so the Ram's screw jack was called into service to show the bent steel who's boss. Using our only spare tire, we were back on the road, this time with me behind the wheel, which meant that I was awake for the next blowout. Yep, that made two off-brand tire blow-outs, this time it was midway between Buckeye and Quartzite, Arizona, which officially made it the Middle of Nowhere. With few options, we unloaded our '09 Ram and Dan headed into the nearest town, which thankfully had a tire shop. After a fair to mild amount of price gouging, he was back in time to find Harley and I with the trailer already pulled up on blocks with the offending wheel and tire dismounted. We drove both trucks back separately for the remaining 300 miles, by now realizing that the trailer's el cheapo tires were being taxed beyond their limit by the high speeds and nearly maxed-out weight. Add to that the wicked potholes we'd encountered and it was no surprise they'd failed. The two blowouts had set us back about two hours total, but we made it to our office at about 2:00 a.m. Wednesday.
The trip was over, and we all had nothing but good things to say about the '10 Dodge Ram 3500 HD. While our '09 long-term Ram has heated and cooled leather seats that would have been a nice addition, and a nice way to annoy a sleeping road trip companion with constant temperature fluctuations, the cloth seats were supportive for long-distance spans and kept us from feeling fatigued behind the wheel. The new suspension tuning also contributed to smooth driving that made the miles roll by. But, while the long trip was fun, I can't say we'd all be ready to volunteer for another 4,000-miles-in-a-week trailering session any time soon. That is unless we get another diesel dualie-it's the only way to go.