Getting Tired at Les Schwab
Getting Tired at Les Schwab
Well, that wasn’t easy.
Having mentioned ‘tired’ and ‘wasn’t easy’ I’d like to cut to the chase here and not leave you with a wrong impression. The staff at Les Schwab were amazing.
We don’t know what we don’t know.
As newcomers to the offroad scene the sheer scale of what we are doing is daunting enough, but attempting to dig into each and every single buying decision with enough knowledge to avoid screwing up is an almost impossible task. It costs time and it costs money, and both of those are stressful things to dick around with. Each decision you start to dig into throws up list of details and variables, each with their own path of research. For some reason Claire ended up with the unenviable task of buying tires and wheels; we knew what we wanted, roughly, and she’s great at searching for a good deal and navigating the myriad of sizing options. Unfortunately, people who work in most tire centres seem to be very hard of hearing. You ask for five wheels and tires, they quote for four. From a price perspective this is fantastic news, unfortunately, what you actually asked for is always 20% more expensive than you thought.
This is when we first spoke to Nick Kilwien at Les Schwab in Sacramento. He was by far the most expensive, primarily because he can actually listen, digest information and quote for what you ask for. We wanted five sets of new wheels and rubber and that’s what we were quoted. Nick is also enthusiastic and polite and friendly and all that other good stuff seemingly not turning up at interviews these days. We already liked Nick at this point. We went with Nick.
Coffee Got, Knee Shot
Nick scrambled to get our wheels and tires ready, heading to another branch that day to collect everything, getting the tires mounted and wheels balanced before we got to the store. Fuel Beast wheels (18x9 w/ -1mm offset) on Toyo Open Country All Terrain 2 (285/75/18) They looked big, chunky and suitable for crushing all but the most unwelcoming offroad obstacles. We headed off for a quick walk while the wheel monkeys did their thing. Enough time for me to grab a coffee and for Claire to completely immobilize herself. She tripped on a rogue, and entirely dangerous looking, hook of coiled cable the city had decided was best-left attached to the sidewalk in case any foreign nationals had dreams of claiming disability benefit. I heard a sickening slap, that unmistakable sound of human hitting asphalt that stops you dead in your tracks and sends shooting feelings to your brain. I turned around slowly, not wanting to look, and find Claire imitating that ‘dead person’ outline you see on the floor in cop shows. Silence, then a siren of pain. Claire is usually super tough, if she makes a big deal out of something it’s a big deal. She’s also a doctor so when she’s screaming and saying she thinks something bad has happened to her knee I panic. Fortunately, 100lbs is not that much to scoop up and remove from the path of oncoming traffic. Minutes later the sobbing has subsided and we’re hobbling back to the tire centre. Her knee does not look good.
A foreigner disabling device in Sacramento
The trip back to the truck is slow. But when we arrive the wheels look amazing. Even better on the truck, filling the wheel wells and looking legit. Unfortunately, the spare did not fit in the spare wheel position. I also discover that the tires rubbed on the wheel wells at full lock. Likely ok for on-road driving but not for offroad. We just spent a ton of cash on something that wasn’t working out. Head in the hands time and the final straw in an already stressful day. We drive the truck back to Tim at Scully Offroad to check out. Unsurprisingly he doesn’t want wheel rub but also is a ‘can do’ kind of guy. If we had really wanted the wheels he would have rebuilt the truck to suit.
Nick at Les Schwab remained unphased. Despite us already driving the tires he wanted us to be happy with the purchase and said he would change them. By the time we got back to the tire centre he’d selected a couple of viable rubber options and then proceeded to mount them on the wheels and the truck so we could see if we liked them. We went through three examples by the time we left, all mounted on wheels and mounted on the truck to see what they looked like and if they rubbed. His recommendation worked out, no rub and there was precedent from some other XP owners that they fit in the wheel well once we relocate the exhaust to its rightful place.
Despite a closing time of 6pm, NIck sat and chatted about traveling until Tim arrived about 6:30pm to double check everything was good. We left the truck overnight with Nick so everything could be completed the next day.
At the end of the day people are usually amazing. When asked they help. Go out of their way. Do things above and beyond what might be expected in order to help others. Nick is one of those people who makes a stressful situation ok again.
Nick … thank you.
Les Schwab Manager Nick Kilwein with the truck’s new shoes
During the planning of our trip, we have been fortunate to meet people who have shown a great deal of enthusiasm about the expedition and have supported us through products/services or gone out of their way to help in some way. They played a part in helping make This Big Road Trip a reality, are passionate about what they do and passionate about doing it well. If you're in the market for their product or services then we can highly recommend them.