Day in the Life: Road Trip and Finding Clothing

The man of the house was at a conference this weekend a couple hundred miles away.  On a whim, I hopped in my car Saturday morning to go surprise him.  Assuming I could spend the night, I’d packed an overnight bag: undies, socks, shirt, CPAP.  I could always wear my pants a second day, right?


About 25 miles from my destination, going 70mph on the Interstate, I heard a loud “thump thump thump” noise.  I pull off to side and discovered a shredded front right tire.

Fortunately I do know how to change a tire.  My dad had me rotate the tires when I had my learner’s permit, just so I could practice.  (Thanks, Dad!)  But as I was digging the jack and lug wrench out of the truck, I realized the knit cotton slacks I was wearing would get pretty dirty if I was sitting or kneeling on the (paved with traces of mud, gravel, and other grunge) shoulder to access the tire.

Which brings me to one of the not-so-fun parts of weighing 400lbs: It’s not just that clothing that I like in my size is hard to find.  Everyone has that, so some extent.  It’s that not all cities have a physical store that carries clothing in my size. Buying anything from a bathing suit to jeans to a jacket or a bra is not always physically possible – and it usually takes some Googling or working a phone book to find out if it IS possible.

I don’t assume I can buy clothing if needed while on a trip.  If I fly, always pack at least a full change of clothing (down to undies and socks) in my carryon bag.  For short trips I usually fly all-carryon.  Even at home, I have no local source for my preferred bras and pants.  My first few years out of college I would sometimes be so disorganized I’d just buy a new outfit or underwear on my way home so I could put off going to the laundromat.  I couldn’t do that now.

Back to the Interstate: I squatted down and started jacking up the car.  I was eying the ground and wondering just how grungy it was when a guy in a truck pulled over and took over getting the compact spare tire onto the car.  A bit later a state patrol car also pulled over; the patrolman told me an exit about 13 miles down was near several tire dealers, so I could get a replacement.

It wasn’t until I was loading the old tire (toast) and rim (was fine) into the trunk that I realized I could’ve spread the trunk mat on the ground and knelt on it.   That’s also when I realized I was shaking just a bit.

I drove very cautiously, with flashers on, since the compact spare tire is only good for 50MPH.  The 70MPH zone ended after 7 or 8 miles and became 60MPH.   I was expecting other cars to tailgate me, but the truck driver stayed behind me (with his flashers on too) until I reached the correct exit.   Not sure if anyone tailgated him!  I found a dealer which had the correct tire in stock.  I was back on the road about an hour later.

And yes: The man of the house was glad to see me, and we had a romantic evening.

11 thoughts on “Day in the Life: Road Trip and Finding Clothing

  1. I hear you. I’m a smaller size than you but even so, I know I can’t just sashay up to a store and find my size, even in the plus-sized section. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It’s a crap shoot.

    So when I fly, I *always* carry a full extra outfit with me in my carryon, often with a couple of extra pieces. You just never know what’s going to happen.

    I did once have an airline lose my suitcase so my paranoia is based in reality. I was much smaller then, but even so, I couldn’t find any clothes for my size in the local stores back then. I was lucky the mother of the person I was visiting had a pair of jeans that fit me. It was a loooong couple of weeks.

    I never travel with only one pair of pants or one shirt either, no matter how short the trip. Too much can happen. A drink spills on you, a kid throws up on you, you get splashed with mud by a passing car….there’s lots of possibilities for disaster. It’s always a good idea to have a spare, and maybe even an extra spare.

    If you’re an average-sized person, you can just borrow from a friend around you or run down to the local Kmart or mall. It’s easy for them if disaster happens; NOT so easy for us.

    I hate overpacking so I try to find a middle ground between paranoia and prudence , but I’ve really found that packing a little extra has saved me a lot of grief over the years. I highly recommend an extra outfit (and 2-3 extra underthings) in your carryon.

    Thanks for bringing this up! I travel somewhat frequently so I’ve thought about it a lot but had never blogged about it before. Good advice for novice travelers!

  2. Yes, I ran into this problem a while ago when I went out of town and the hotel’s laundry service lost a pair of my pants. Fortunately I was at a con where there was a clothing swap and I found a pair of pants I could wear. But the hotel would not reimburse me to *order* a pair of pants, they would only reimburse me if I went to a local store and bought a pair, and no local stores carried my size.

  3. WellRounded – Oh, travel is *fun*. Then there’s the CPAP. It’s a medical device, so airlines have to let me carry it on even if it means an extra carryon. But it’s also an electronic device, so the TSA runs a quick check on it for explosives residue. I can say every airport I’ve taken it through has known what it is and been polite about needing it – but it does affect how I *pack* it, since I know I’m going to need to dig it out and repack it at security.

    Stef – I don’t think they planned that as a way to weasel out of paying, but my, they weaseled out of paying.

  4. Dahling – I feel your pain! I have walked through (ugh) malls and been told, unsolicited, by pimply-faced juveniles posing as salespeople, “We don’t have your size.” My first response is usually, “Well, thank God for that!”

    I try to carry clothes up to size 10X in my online boutiques, because I believe beauty should know no boundaries, particularly when it comes to size!

  5. I weigh 350+ pounds. I so totally hear you on not being able to just walk into a store and buy clothing off the rack. Especially now that I’ve become more discriminating of what I wear. AND because I’ve discovered that either I’ve shrunk in inseam or “average” pants have gotten longer, so if I want pants to fit lengthwise off the rack, I have to look for petite or short sizes. I’m 5’6″. I didn’t realize that was petite or short!

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  10. When you fly do you have any issues with seat size, I’ve heard alot about having to buy 2 seats. I am ~450lbs and have been nervous about what to do when the time comes to take a plane

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