Friday, October 29, 2010

Adventures at El Casa de Gumme


Well it had to happen......... We started to load the car today and we noticed that one of the front tires looked a little low on air, on closer examination we saw that there is a great big gash on its sidewall. What now? Guess what time it is….yep it is 1:20pm, everything is closed for lunch and tomorrow is Saturday. We are leaving at 8:00 am for an 8.5 hour drive to start on our way back to Rome to turn in the car and to catch our flight. Reggie spends about an hour on the internet trying to find either a Renault Dealer, a garage or a tire store where we can have the tire replaced.

How do you say tires in Italian? Pneumatico or as the locals say gumme
Is there a tire centre close to Casteldeccia = C’√® un centro vendita di pneumatici a Casteldeccia?

We finally found a Renault Dealer in Bagheria, approx 7Km from us. So off we go to see if they can help us, fortunately they open at 2:30 pm instead of the usual 3:30 or 4:00. They call around, but nobody has a Michelin tire to match the others on the car. They call their affiliate tire guy, he comes and tries to convince us that we have to change the two front tires that we can’t drive with just one new tire. Who cares, we just want to get to Rome. We follow him to his shop where we find out that he doesn’t have the tire we need after all and he tries to sell us another type which is now costing 240 E instead of the original quote of 180 E (Why does our little Clio have 195/50 tires on 17-inch rims? And why isn't the spare the same?). He tells us that they don’t make this kind of tire anymore (the car is brand new, so of course this is a lie). Reggie refuses to pay that much for a tire.  We have them put the spare on, which is a full-sized tire, but not a Michelin.

 The problem is that we can’t drive faster than 80Km/hr (probably a dangerously slow speed) on the Autostrada using the spare and since the rim of the spare is red, it’s hard to fool whoever is watching for those things. So off we go thinking that maybe we’ll be able to find a new tire in Messina or Reggio de Calabria. On the way home, lo and behold, we come across a Michelin Tire dealer, pull in and voil√†! We have ourselves a new tire to match the others for 160 E cash – no receipt and nobody mentions that we can’t drive with 3 old tires (10,000Km) and one new one.

So the car is loaded and we are just about ready to take off in the morning. Keep your fingers crossed!

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