Saturday, June 11, 2011

Of tires and truckers

"Bayard, I think we've got a problem", I said. 
Bayard replied, "Are we too handsome again?" 
"Sorry, this time it's with the tire."
That's how the fun began! Turns out there are two types of tires in the world, bias and radials, and you ain't suppose to mix them. Trouble was, we here mixing them! Being a mechanic, I knew you aren't suppose to mix them. Trouble is, as a mechanic, I tend to be overly confident in thinking it will all work out! Anyway, how bad could it really be to mix them? I mean they are both round after all! Turns out it's bad. I came to realize that we had one tire that was fixing to blow, but the good news was that we were mere kilometers from the capital city of the Yukon, Whitehorse. Trouble is, that even as the largest city for hundreds of miles, it's still tiny! Long story short, we donated $1200 dollars to the local economy, secured 4 new tires (out of 6) and spent 24 hours getting to know the greater Whitehorse area, but we were back on the road! 

When Bessie rolled out of the shop, I was rarin' to make up the time lost! But, I was still on vacation, and so when I saw a glorious view of the mountains, I just had to stop to take a picture.  Bayard had not been feeling well and was resting in the back, "Just pulling off the road to take a picture". Hmmm... what's that sinking feeling? Why is the RV leaning so much? Why isn't the RV moving? 
"Bayard, I think we're got a problem!" 
Bayard replied, "Is the Swedish bikini team after us again?"
"I wish- because they could help push! I'm afraid we're stuck."
Stuck we were. Both tires dug in to the axle, and mere feet off the road. You know those signs that say "soft shoulder"? Well, they mean it. Boy did I feel dumb. We worked at it for awhile. Dug, put logs under the tires, dug some more. All our effort got us was more stuck. We were realizing that we weren't going to get out of this without some help. Then an amazing thing happened. I looked up from digging to see a truck backing up our direction. And when I say truck, I mean semi. Eighteen wheeler. Those guys don't stop for nothing. And yet, here he was backing up towards us, in the middle of the road no less! I walked down to him, figuring he must have mistaken us for the Swedish bikini team or something. But I'll be damned, he rolled down his window and said "You boys need some help?" Boy was that was an understatement! He backed all the way in front of us. He pulled out  a big strap from a compartment, which I promptly tied off to my frame and his bumper. He then backed up his rig while I was goosing the RV. Out we came! Glory be- it was a wonderful moment! Truckers Rock!!

Our spirits undaunted, we plowed on with our goal in sight, Alaska! The last 200 km of road to the border was some of the worst i've ever seen. RV-sized pot holes and literal valleys running across it! Rough going, but it only made us more determined to reach our destination. At the border we were greeted by a young border guard. He tried his best to be a hard ass, but our enthusiasm was contagious, and he finally burst out a big smile and said "You boys have a great day" and waved us through. As Bessie pulled on to the beautifully smooth road, driving past pumps full of (relatively) cheap gas, you could hear us chant "USA! USA! USA!" All is good again.

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  1. Perhaps you hexed your selves not having 'middle of the Yukon' as one of your break down poll options. TIres and stuckness. Happy for the kindness of strangers.

  2. Kind of reminds me of that time we went camping at Yosemite and when we were leaving, instead of pulling the van forward, you reversed into a tree. DOH! So glad you're back on the road and made it safely to Alaska.

  3. I'm amazed you found those crazy 16.5" tires way out there in BFC (Bum F#%^ Canada)!

  4. Nothing like being stuck in the middle of nowhere! That is some serious tire karma. Glad you are OK!