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We Are Off on our 2013 Adventure

What was left of the tire.

What was left of the tire.

The evening of July 12, 2013 has finally arrived. A years worth of planning and ideas have come together. Everything from our list has been loaded in the trailer or the truck. My good friends, Doug and Lori Richards, and I are headed west with 4 horses in their 4 horse living quarters trailer. We are spending a week riding on our own, then the second week is with the Chief Jo Trail Ride that follows 100 miles of the Nez Perce Trail.
Doug is a truck driver, so he was planning to do his regular schedule. Go to bed, around 6PM then get up at midnight, load a go. This way we hauled in the cool of the night. Only problem was he was so excited he could not go to sleep. At 930 he finally got up and announced that we were loading horses and leaving. Off into the South Dakota night we went. Lori was really tired so she crawled in bed and went to sleep. About an hour later Doug was done, so it was my turn to drive. I had not driven this truck with a trailer, and I was headed towards what is referred to as the Chamberlain Hill. This is the Missouri River crossing at Chamberlain SD on Interstate 90. The road drops down a steep over grade hill and onto the river bridge. This truck is new and has a automatic transmission, so I felt like I had nothing to hold the trailer, however it has a jake brake that automatically engages when the driver takes their foot off the gas pedal. It worked like a charm and I took a deep breath when I got on the river bridge at the bottom of the hill. I told myself, all that worthless anxiety for nothing!
The next thing I decided I needed to worry about was where to get fuel. In the middle of the night in South Dakota it is not like stations are every few miles. The part of the state that we are in is very sparsely populated, few exits and fewer stations. I managed to get that one figured out, so the tank was filled up again at Vivian SD. We traded drivers and Doug was driving again, and I went to bed.

Some time later Lori and I were awaken by the unmistakable sounds of a trailer tire blowing, (sound familiar, the same thing happened last year, only we were 5 miles further down the road last year). The back tandem tire on the passenger side was shredded. Doug made the epic comment, “girls, we have really done it this time”. That was a understatement, the tire had caught on the fender and rolled half of it up like a coil spring. The ”spring” was jammed against the front tire. The brake lines were hanging; this was a major repair job. Changing the tire and getting the fender torn off the trailer became quite a project. We used every tool, from an Ax to a wrecking bar to do the job. Duct tape (the stuff that holds the universe together) saved what was left of the brake lines and any thing else that was hanging. I knew Doug had packed tools, but I had no idea what part of the rig they came out of, but thankful that we had them. We had tools all over the side of the road by the time we were done.

We made it to Rapid City and drove into the same truck tire shop that we bought tires at last year. You know you are a frequent flyer at the tire store when all the store does is put your name in the system and it has everything. 2 new tires later and a spare replaced (we are back to the 2 spares) we were done with tires……hopefully.

Next stop was the wiring man. We really need to get the brakes working on all 4 wheels. Thankfully Doug and Lori knew of a guy that does that kind of work. Another hour of wiring repairs and we were good to go. The right side of the trailer looks like a bunch of hillbillies own it, complete with a blue water barrel and more in the back of the truck. No fender and lots of black on the side of the trailer, but we are back in working order.

The comment was made that we have been on the road now for 12 hours and we made it to Rapid City SD. Under normal conditions it should have taken us 5 hours.


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