It was a fitful night's rest in the parking lot of the Best Western, but it beat having to spend it off camber on Grand Bench. The plan was to go to the NAPA and True Value Hardware and get parts and supplies to see if we could repair the damage. The best case was that we would be able to continue our trip, but that was not to be. We got to the NAPA and discovered that they are closed (it was Sunday). We went to the True Value and they were open, so we got some easy outs and some other needed supplies like cutting oil, Liquid Wrench, etc. I positioned the truck in the parking lot, unloaded the spare tire and started looking at what would be required to implement the repair. Close inspection revealed that one of the previous owners of the truck had welded the spare tire mount to the frame, thus greatly complicating a parking lot repair. I did have a die grinder with a carbide bit, but did not have the correct 22 mm socket and they did not have it at the True Value either.
Page is a small town and there were no other alternatives. Plus, I would concerned that if I removed the ratchet straps, I may not be able to get them back in place. After inspecting the straps, I determined that I could not get them off without cutting them. So, in the end, we decided that the best case would be to attempt to drive it back to San Diego. Along the way, we met a member of the local police force and he suggested that we speak with one of the better truck mechanics in the area. He had his dispatcher call him and he came to us. But, it there were bad vibes from the get-go, so we discussed it and decided that the only rational thing to do was to drive home. If the truck failed along the way, then hiring a truck to transport the mog back to SD was still an option. An expensive option, but still an option. So, we bought a full tank of diesel, some fresh Gatoraide and hit the road south. It took us 3 days to get back, but we did not suffer any further failures. It was hot, really hot, but the truck behaved. The photos below are what we saw.
As I had all my stuff spread out in the parking lot, several folks came by offering assistance. This one fellow, Bill Foust, went back to his house to lend me, a total stranger, a set of professional screw extractors. An extremely nice gesture. After I saw the welds on the spare tire mount, we decided to abort any attempted parking lot fix.
This is the old bridge that crosses the Little Colorado River on US 89. On the right is the new bridge. We spent the night in Flagstaff in a motel and had a reasonable dinner at a local Italian restaurant. And a shower. A long, hot shower.
Once the traffic was stopped, folks got out of their cars and started walking around. Since I was bored, I got out too. I would not want to have to change that flat. The driver told me the truck has CTIS, but none of the folks that have it have reported good things.
This would have come in pretty handy to solve our problem. If only he had been available.
The folks in front of us were trailering 3 horses that were only too happy to have the doors of the trailer open so they could look around.
All traffic was stopped. The mog looks pretty small compared to a full 18 wheeler. We took the traffic stoppage for about 45 minutes, then we bailed and crossed the median and went back to Seligman and took old Route 66 to Kingman where we stopped for fuel and lunch. Then, we headed to Needles where it was 122 degrees when we passed the inspection station. The A/C in the truck was barely able to keep up and we burned through 8 liters of water and several Gatoraides before we got to Barstow for the night.
A pretty nice sunset taken from the side of the road outside of Barstow, CA.
Finally, the full moon. It was somewhat hazy, thus explaining the lack of sharp focus. Remarkably, this was taken from the parking lot at the local Taco Bell.
We spent the night in beautiful Barstow and headed out the next morning. Amazingly, our patch held up and got the truck back to San Diego where it could recieve expert attention. Whew! More excitement that I bargained for!!
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