Oh my lands. OH MY LANDS!!!
Because vehicles pulling trailers travel much slower over long distances than vehicles not pulling trailers, the cars going to Oregon reach the campsite hours ahead of the gear. Hoping to avoid having to set up tents in the dark, this year we decided to send the trailer ahead. Sunday afternoon the dad who volunteered to pull the trailer hooked it up and pulled it from the spot in front of my house where it had been parked.
Five minutes later I received his call.
Blessedly there were no children in the car. Blessedly there were no other vehicle involved in the accident. Blessedly the trailer came to rest at the side of the freeway. Blessedly, blessedly, blessedly the dad was not hurt.
Assured that he was okay, I sprung into action. I texted my bishop (whose family owns a trailer repair and rental business) and asked for estimates on how much it would cost to rent a trailer, hooked my truck up to our horse trailer, and went to the tow yard where we transferred the gear from the tossed trailer to the horse trailer.
On the way back to my house, I spoke with Bishop. He have me an offer I could not refuse and saved me from pulling an old, heavy, somewhat rickety trailer that did not have trailer brakes and did have a non-functioning left turn signal to Oregon.
We drove my truck to Bishop’s shop where he made it trailer worthy. He changed a couple fuses, switched out a hitch, topped off tires and rewired a connector. After teaching me how to use trailer brakes, we hooked up the trailer up and drove off. I am not sure who was more nervous, me or Bishop---probably Bishop….
Lance, Miles and I transferred gear from one trailer to another again and, finally, about 11:00 p.m. I got to bed.
The next morning I got up at 3:15 a.m., was out the door by 3:35 a.m.,and to the school by 3:55 a.m, Everyone was in cars, locked and loaded, and on the road by 4:25 a.m. Twelve cars, 49 kids, 21 adults, and a trailer.
Our adventures continued. I pulled onto I-15 and headed south. I was almost to the Roy exit before I realized that I should be heading north.
About Boise I got a call from one of my drivers. “I need to go back home,” she said. Her cat died Sunday night, she’d only had 2 hours of sleep, and her elementary-aged daughter was sobbing for her mom and her (now) dead cat. Oh dear.
A relief driver in her car, a nap in my car (her), a conversation with her son (who was on our trip), and several prayers (me) later she decided to continue with us. Phew!
My truck is a heavy drinker under normal circumstances. Put a large trailer and lots of gear into the equation and his drinking problem becomes acute. Gas disappeared into my truck like lemonade vanishes around hay haulers in July. We stopped for fuel every few hours.
On I-84, going through the Columbia River Gorge, I noticed that we had not stopped for fuel enough. The Gorge is an awful place to run out of gas. There are few places where running out of gas is good but the Gorge is truly awful. The freeway is narrow--really really narrow--and the shoulder is anorexic. Vehicles whip by at freeway speeds (imagine!!) and on/off ramps are 30-40 miles apart. Bad news.
With the gas gauge needle below the E line that was below the red zone on the gas gauge, Google told us the nearest gas station was 16 miles away. No way could I go 16 miles. And I didn’t. We ran out of gas about ¾ miles from the off ramp. Fortunately it was downhill. We coasted off the freeway, down the ramp, and came to rest about 150 meters from the gas station. Another blessing.
We made it through Portland without incident. Blessed again.
About 9:00 p.m. we pulled into camp, pitched out tents (in the dark), and went to bed.
It was not the most auspicious way to begin a trip... How would it end?
I know the ending. You don't.
Next week I will post the rest of the stories.