The Requisite Repair Stop

(The temperature as we were driving through the Mojave desert, Baker, Calif.)

We had big plans on Friday for making good time so we could get to Colorado and see my sister Saturday. She had to work Sunday, so Saturday would be our only chance. However, fate had other plans for us. At our first gas stop in Beaver, Utah, a mechanic approached my husband and told him that one of our trailer wheels was “doing the Charleston.” He offered to help us put on our spare at no charge.

Upon closer examination, both tires on the “road side” of the trailer had started to rot. These were the tires on the sunny side of the trailer where it was stored by its previous owner. Before we quite knew what was happening, we agreed to buy four new tires.

However, once the tires were off, it was clear why they’d been “doing the charleston.” The shocks had blown. Probably in the 116 degree desert. These were the original 1973 shocks that came with the trailer! We agreed, again, to four new shocks. Everyone was so nice and so professional that we agreed if we were being hustled, it was extremely smooth.

There was an excellent Mexican restaurant nearby, so we got take out and hung around while the shop did our repairs. Fortunately, the weather was pleasant, and we made friends with the gas station dog–a sort of Catahoula kind of dog that we learned was one of a pack of 12 that one of the mechanics used for mountain lion hunting. She was such a lovely, well-behaved dog she put my beasts to shame.

I had become very tired of traveling with my dogs. Chewie had to be monitored constantly or he would bust through the dog barrier in the car. In fact, he completely ruined our existing dog barrier by bending the metal bars (seriously!) and ripping them off the frame. We had to rig up a new barrier out of the X-pen and bungie cords, and then use a rope to secure Chewie to the back of the car. Later in the trip, I also added benedryl to his daily routine, to make him sleep. Courage loves riding in the car, but has a tendency to lunge at other dogs that only got worse in the course of our trip. When the mechanic joked about trading us tires for dogs, I was almost tempted to take him up on it.

It was 4 PM by the time we set out again. We only made it as far as Grand Junction, Colorado before we had to camp again. We could theoretically have driven into the night, but we were tired, and we didn’t think that was the best stunt to try when the next four hours’ travel would take us over 10,000 foot mountain passes.