Central Oklahoma Classic Chevy Club

The Dashboard A publication of the
Central Oklahoma Classic Chevy Club.
A not-for-profit corporation.
A chapter of Bow Tie Chevys
and Classic Chevy International.
September 2000

A wild ride in Colorado

Myers escape injury in hair-raising accident triggered by blown tire

By Annette Myers

COCCC member

This year's trip to the Chevrolet Nomad Convention took on a life of it's own. As we had done in years past, we prepared the 1955 Nomad for the trip ahead of time. Larry changed the oil, greased the car and trailer, checked and packed the wheel bearings, checked his spare parts to take with him, checked the tool box for all the necessary tools, packed the trailer and took time to recheck everything.

We left Edmond, on Thursday, July 6, at 9:00 a.m. I took the first leg of the driving, as promised, and drove to Salina, Kan. Larry then took the wheel. He noticed a vibration in the car and looked for a place to get the wheels checked for balance. The Goodyear store couldn't get to us right away, so Larry thought we would head on down the road. He noticed the vibration getting worse and pulled into Russell, Kan., and found a shop that could check the tires. After an hour there and getting the front wheels balanced, we were off again down I-70.

When we stopped for gas, the Nomad wouldn't start -- dead battery. We found someone to jump start the Nomad and proceeded on to Burlington, Colo., to spend the night. Larry put the charger on the battery, but it didn't seem to want to take a charge.

In the morning, we headed into Aurora, Colo., and found a Sears store to check on the battery. Good battery, maybe alternator problem, bought new battery just in case, found repair shop for alternator, bought new alternator, same problem. Larry started stripping the wire harness to see if there was a bad wire somewhere -- there was. The tickler wire was barely making a connection, replaced the wire and connector.

We were on the road again after five hours in Aurora. We headed up to I-25 and went north toward Cheyenne, Wyo.

Just about 16 miles south of Cheyenne, we heard the tire come apart. Larry was driving about 75 mph at the time and he started braking to slow the car down. We were in the outside lane of traffic, no one beside us, cars behind us, as we started the chain of events that did damage to the Nomad.

As the tire came apart, the rubber hit the inner fender panel, tearing it loose, hitting the goose neck of the gas tank, knocking the locking gas cap off, forcing the inner fender panel to the front of the left rear quarter.

Larry was in the inside lane by now holding onto the steering wheel and controlling the car keeping it from entering the median and crossing over to the opposing lanes of traffic. The Nomad seemed to be on the left two wheels and the trailer whipped around hitting first one quarter then the other, forcing us into a skid.

As we were skidding, we were dumping gas out onto the highway. I can remember holding onto the dash or armrest and asking the Lord to help us. We did have our seatbelts fastened.

We ended up doing a 180 degree turn, ending up facing the traffic coming at us. A Dodge truck pulling a fifth wheel camper had been right behind us and they locked up their brakes getting stopped before hitting us. He was directly at our front bumper and we couldn't get the car off the road. He backed up some to let Larry pull the Nomad to the shoulder of the road. He was the only vehicle that stopped to ask us if we were okay or needed help.

Larry surveyed the damage and proceeded to empty the back of the Nomad to get to the spare tire. We carry a save-a-spare in the tire compartment of the Nomad. That tire wouldn't work on the car, so he took the tire off of the trailer (had been a Nomad tire before) and put it on the Nomad. He had to do a little body work on the inner fender panel before he could even get the tire on (he kicked the panel in place).

The save-a-spare didn't fit the hole pattern of the trailer, so Larry had to file the holes out to make it fit.

We drove slowly into Cheyenne and stopped at the first station we came to, fueled up and asked directions to a tire shop that could help us find a replacement tire. They sent us to Sears. There were young men there that were very nice and helpful. There were no tire stores in Cheyenne that had the size of tire we needed, they could get them from Denver in one or two days. One man had a pair of used tires with similar tread pattern in the size we needed for the Nomad and Larry purchased them from him.

The other young man was able to pound the wheel and straighten it somewhat (it still was crooked). They took off the trailer hitch to put it in the press to get it straightened some. A hammer to the rear bumper took care of the outward dent there, a little pounding to the gas cap got it where it would work temporarily (better than a rag).

By that time, I had decided that we just were not supposed to be at this year's convention and I called the hotel and canceled our reservations.

We headed back to Oklahoma on Saturday making I-25 the only interstate highway we would travel on. Taking the state and U S highways, we went home at 60 mph, not knowing if we would have any more tire trouble with the bent rim. We didn't have any more trouble during the rest of the trip.

We will be at the next year's convention. We missed seeing all of our friends this year. Our son said that if we would have continued to Spokane, we might have been eligible for the hard luck award. We told him that we didn't want to chance having more trouble so we came on home.

The tire that caused the damage
Photo by Annette Myers
This is the tire that caused the Myers to lose control of their
1955 Nomad on the way the National Nomad Convention.

some of the damage
Photo by Annette Myers
This overall view shows some of the damage caused when the tire blew out.

The tire that caused the damage
Photo by Annette Myers
The damage evident when the blown tire jerked the gas tank filler neck forward.

Damage when trailer whipped around
Photo by Annette Myers
Damage was extensive to the right rear when the trailer whipped around.

The damage to the Nomad is somewhere around $10,000. Check out some of that damage in the pictures. The gas door was torn off, rolled the inner fender panel up, broke the locking gas cap, bent the rim, dented the bumper guard (newly re-chromed), dented right rear quarter panel, bent the frame, broke right rear tail light, housing & bezel, bent the bumper, put a dent over the passenger door (from bending the frame), bent the trailer hitch, crushed a place on the fiberglass trailer and bent the trailers tongue.

Many COCCC members said that we should have just stayed put in Cheyenne and some of them would have made the trip with a car hauler and picked us up. We have caring club members.

The best side of being home early, we were there for the birth of our newest granddaughter, Hannah, born on Wednesday, July 12.

Return to Dashboard Index.