Thursday, September 10, 2015

What a day...

My brother Dennis, Cory, and Allen came up for Labor Day Weekend to do some 4-wheeling.  We planned to ride both Saturday and Sunday.

After a tasty bacon-n-eggs breakfast, we loaded up and headed toward Dubois.  It was a sunny, beautiful morning drive.  However, I did warn everyone that rain was in the forecast, and sure enough, clouds were hanging over Union Pass, which was our destination.  Oh well.  We decided to go on up the mountain anyway...just to see if we could squeak in a ride. Guess what? The colors are already starting to change.  The scenery was enjoyable.  Cory and I were in the lead, pulling a trailer with two 4-wheelers, and Dennis and Allen were following, pulling a trailer with two mountain motorbikes.  Cory and I kept an eye on the guys and got a little concerned when we couldn't see them following.  We stopped and waited, discovering that they were fine...just wanted to stay out of our dust.  OK.  So, I didn't watch the rear view mirrors for them quite so diligently.

As we were bouncing our way up to the top of Union Pass, maybe only a couple miles from where we would unload, I checked my mirror and saw Dennis flashing his lights and waving his arms frantically.  What?  I came a stop immediately.  He and Allen had seen me lose a tire on the trailer, and they were trying to get me stopped.  Never did hear their honking horn...and I dragged that trailer on the wheel for probably a good mile.   This is what it looked like:

Checking the other tire, we discovered it was nearly flat...but it was still intact!! Well...time to problem-solve.  Unload the 4-wheelers and see what we could do. 

The lug nuts were rusted on...and the rim was sitting on the ground, so there wasn't much room to work with. Dennis pulled out all his tools (an impressive collection).  I had to read my owner's manual to find where my jack and tools were located.  Allen stopped a pickup and asked the driver if he might have some WD-40 we could use to help get the nuts off.  He did and was happy to pull off and help us.  Eventually, the guys got the spare back on the side with no tire.  But, the other tire needed air desperately, and it was possibly punctured.  I had Fix-a-Flat with me, so one of the guys squirted that goo into the tire, and then we used two different small air compressors to get enough air in the tire to make it usable.  My air compressor had a broken end (the one you put in the cigarette lighter), but Allen knew that he could just cut off that piece, separate and bare the wires, and hold them directly on the battery.  It worked!

Now it was starting to rain.  The best plan was to have Cory and I ride the 4-wheelers down to Crooked Creek (restaurant and cabins) where they also had a shop with air compressor.  Dennis and Allen pulled ahead to find a place to turn the pick-ups and trailers around, and they were soon behind us.  Stopping at Crooked Creek, we were able to eat our lunches while we waited for the gal (waitressing in the restaurant) to get a break to come out and get the air hose for us. A young couple on 4-wheelers stopped to see if they could help and suggested we contact Bull's Conoco in Dubois (10 miles down the road) to see if they might have a wheel and tires.  They even got a phone book for us, and we made the call.  Yes, they had a wheel and tires!  Yahoo.  We assured them we would be there ASAP.

I thought we could load the lighter 4-wheeler on my trailer, and load the bigger machine into Dennis' pickup bed.  It all worked...and we slowly made our way down to Dubois, with rain and some hail hitting us on and off the whole time. 

We all agreed that we probably wouldn't have been able to make the ride out on Pinion Ridge after all.

When we got to Dubois, the mechanic discovered he had only one wheel and one tire.  Well, OK.  That would at least get us back to Riverton.  The mechanic suggested trying Bailey's Tire in Riverton, who he thought was open on Saturdays.  So, we called, they were open, and they had two tires the size we needed!  If this all worked out, we would be set to go for a ride tomorrow!!

Before leaving Dubois, it seemed like stopping for pie a-la-mode was the right thing to do.  Yum.  It was. 

Going straight to Bailey's was next on the list, and two new tires went on the trailer. And I had a new spare too.

This was not exactly the plan we had hoped for.  But if the tires needed replacing, I'm so glad this was the scenario.  Plenty of help and expertise was at the ready.  Between the two garages, I got new wheels and tires. 

Sooo... we were now ready for tomorrow's ride.


  1. The best laid plans, eh? Sounds like it all worked out in the end though?

  2. You are fortunate this happened when you had someone to help or not on the highway going at a faster speed.