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?

Oops.

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.


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11 responses to “Day in the Life: Road Trip and Finding Clothing”

  1. wellroundedmama Avatar

    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. Stef Avatar

    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. living400lbs Avatar

    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. Madfashionista Avatar

    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. Rhonwyyn Avatar

    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!

  6. […] have two seats to put bags underneath.  (Not all cities have stores that stock clothing in my size, which adds an extra horror to lost luggage. The man of the house wears a readily available […]

  7. […] discovered that yes, even spreading the trunk mat on the ground to sit on, I get dirt all over my pants changing a tire.  Why not crouch? Mainly I don’t trust my […]

  8. […] I’ve written before that I can’t always count on finding clothing in local, physical stores in my size. […]

  9. […] Marianne Kirby wrote about working in plus-size retail in college, and how huge being able to buy clothing can be.  This is even harder for supersize or extended-size people.  I usually shop online because my brick-and-mortar store options are so limited. […]

  10. AMB Avatar
    AMB

    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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