One of my highest priorities when poking Missy into remote locations is to avoid getting stuck.
Recently, I failed… miserably…
I was REALLY hoping to never find out how much one of those really big tow trucks cost.
Now I know.
Trust me, they are NOT cheap.
How did it happen??
Well, I pulled onto this nice beach at Lahontan State Recreation Area near Silver Springs, NV. Of course, I thoroughly scouted the sand first to be sure it was ok. As I pulled onto it, I kept a close watch. Over the course of ten days, all was well and the wheels didn’t move (as in sink).
When I went to leave, we backed up to make a turn around a tree and as soon as I attempted to pull forward, I felt the sinking sensation. It is a horrible sensation… I always carry a small shovel so out it came and we got to work digging.
Only the passenger side rear wheels had sunk in so I dug and dug with my little folding shovel.
When I tried to very gentle drive forward…. Nothing.
Well, worse than nothing actually. The driver side wheels dug in too.
So, now I was in a real predicament. I spent the next four or five hours repeating the above – dig, try, dig, try, dig try… – until there was no movement at all.
She was thoroughly and completely buried. It was time to make a few phone calls.
One thing that I found while doing all the digging was that the tire on the passenger side inner dual was flat. This turns out to be an important item!
The first place I called – Cal-Nevada Towing was worse than not helpful. They were rude and condescending – at least the fellow that answered the phone was. The next place I tried – Carson City Towing was very polite and helpful. I sent them photos of the situation and they brainstormed. We came up with a plan in fairly short order and the trucks were on the way.
Trucks?? Yes, trucks, plural. Given the nature of the beach sand and my position, they would only come out with TWO of those really BIG, really expensive trucks as they fully expected the first tow truck to get stuck while pulling Missy out. Thus; requiring the second tow truck to pull out the first tow truck. I guess that is “expensive times two.”
Long story made slightly less long… they were able to pull me backwards out of the sand trap with one truck. They then re-positioned and pulled me forward off the beach. No, we didn’t need two trucks and no I didn’t get any photos of the truck doing its job. They were charging by the hour and I didn’t want to say “give me five minutes to walk around and get some photos of this please!” 🙂
I then had the issue of a flat tire to deal with. Missy and I limped to Fernley, NV and stopped at a Speedco. I will NEVER do that again! All they wanted to do was sell me a new tire! They would not remove the old tire to see if it had a puncture or even ATTEMPT to put air in it. “Against company policy”, I was told. Ridiculous.
So, we we limped over to a Purcell Tire (same town) but it was getting late and they were closed. So, I parked in their lot and fell into bed.
As soon as the doors opened the next morning at Purcell Tire I was talking to them about fixing that tire. They had it fixed very quickly and I was set to go. Thirty-four dollars!! Yeah!
Interestingly, the valve stem on that wheel (inner dual, passenger side) was nearly cut in half. The mechanic said he couldn’t see why that would happen…
Hmmm… that is a bit scary.
After driving the 40 miles or so back to Carson City, we stopped for fuel. I stuck my head next to the passenger side duals and what did I hear? ACKK!!! The unmistakable sound of leaking air!
The inner dual valve stem was once again nearly cut in half!
I jumped back in and drove straight to the Purcell Tire in Reno.
They pulled the wheel off and immediately spotted the problem…
A bolt/pin holding the brake caliper in place had slid out of position and the caliper had slipped out just enough to rub on the valve stem – cutting it with each revolution. These photos were taken after they pushed the brake pad back in the place but the pin is still out.
Can you see it? Here is another shot – see that pin out of place? The edge of the brake pad is polished a nice shiny gold color to match the valve stem.
It sure appeared that the Royal Tire in St. Cloud, MN did not install the necessary lock/cotter pin in this bolt/pin when they changed the axle seal back in May. Wonderful!!!! They were also none-too-pleased with the mechanic in Fernley who missed the issue.
So… finally… after a day and a half of crisis and after crisis, things were beginning to look up. I was exhausted…
The worst part of getting stuck?
It is my opinion that I only got stuck because of that flat tire. Without that tire supporting its share of the weight, all of it was on the other tire and that was not enough surface area to keep the tire on the surface of the sand. So, the one tire sunk. Sure would be nice if Royal Tire would pay my tow truck charge since they are the ones that caused the problem!
Perhaps I am now a tiny bit smarter and will most certainly work even harder to avoid getting stuck!