Two blown tires and First Cow
We were looking forward to a nice family weekend. Lorraine and I, Josh and Chelsea, Molly and Nathan. Since both Molly and Chelsea are "expecting" (oops, I don't think it is out of the bag yet for Molly!), we figured this might be the last chance we have to spend up at the property in a while, since they will all be really busy next summer.
Lorraine and I were heading up on Friday, departing around 7:00 AM and expecting to arrive around 11:00 AM. We were pulling up the camper. Josh and Chelsea were planning to leave around 4:00 PM. Molly and Nathan were planning on heading up the next morning, departing around 9:00 AM. And all three of us were bringing our dogs. Yeah, I know..... too much detail.
We departed pretty-much on-time and were having a fairly un-eventful trip.... until we were a few miles south of Sauk City. The right tire on the camper blew and shredded! I got stopped and onto a side road, and while that was better than trying to fix a tire on route 78 between Black Earth and Sauk City, it was a narrow and hilly road. So I limped it along, knowing I was ruining the rim also. But we did get to a side road in a small subdivision. And while it was not great having to change a tire on a camper, it could have been much worse. What if I would have lost the camper, and maybe even damaged the truck? What if we were on I-90 when it blew? So yeah, it sucked. But it could have been worse.
I won't bore you with the details of the tire changing challenges, but Lorraine and I muscled through it. And yes, she was also working on it with me. After about an hour, we had the spare tire on and the shredded tire thrown behind our seats in the truck, and we were off again. We landed in Black River Falls sometime after noon, an hour past our estimated time. Filled up with water at the Cenex, and we were on our way. A slight delay, but we got through it. I stated such as we were on Highway 12 crossing Allen Creek..... we made it!
As we turned onto County Road E, we heard another loud pop. Yep, the left tire blew. We are literally three miles from our property, and the second tire blows out and shreds. W..... T...... F......?
But here's the good thing..... we were less than one mile from Brauner's Garage. We have had to use Brauner's before, but only for locked keys in a vehicle (Dave and Brad). But I always knew they were a top-notch garage.
We limped our way to their site, and Pat went to work trying to see if he had tires we could use. He ultimately did not have what we needed, but gave us the info so we could go find the tire/rims we needed. So we were off. We did find what we needed at Walmart, and $316 later we were heading back to Brauner's. Twenty minutes later we had two new tires on the camper and were set off on our last two miles of our journey. Best of all, our family weekend was still on track.
The first tire blow did significant damage to the exterior. The shredded tire tore off the wheel molding and ruined the bracket that holds the door open. It also damaged some other trim and needs significant work.
But here's the thing. I can look at this as a "whoa is me; I got two flat tires and lost three to four hours of my day". But I can't do that. To me, I see a few small miracles. I won't bore you with them here, because I think I already explained it above. Nobody got hurt. Our weekend wasn't really impacted negatively at all. And stuff can be fixed.
Lorraine and I got to the property, and after unloading and setting up the camper, I set off to mow the trail from the campground to the outhouse. Then we took off to pick up the log splitter that I had reserved at Scholze's Ace Hardware. We have logs along the driveway that Dave, Bryan and I cut up from the Derecho damage last summer.
Picked up the log splitter and some excellent fried chicken from Hansen's, and back to the property.
After dinner, I split some logs laying around, did some weed-whacking, and cleaned up the debris in the ridge trail so the mowers could mow.
Josh and Chelsea arrived between 7:00 and 8:00 PM. A night of fire and hanging-out.
We started out the next morning with breakfast tacos. Molly and Nathan arrived around 9:00 AM. After they got unpacked we went to work. Josh, Nathan and I worked on splitting the large pine logs in the Babcox, and I cut some more from that same downed pine tree that was uprooted. Then it was off to the driveway to start splitting some of the oak. Josh and Nathan did most of this work, and we filled up the Babcox with firewood. I opened up our new trails with the weed-whacker while they split wood. There is still about three-times as much wood to split and stack, but we had done enough work for the day and I needed to get the log splitter back.
After a small lunch, we took off for Trow Lake to kayak. All three dogs were really good on this trip, but we did fight some light rain. But Trow Lake is so perfect for a calm paddle that you can end at any time. It reaches quite some distance towards its confluence with Hall's Creek and the East Branch of Hall's Creek that come together at the northern end of Trow Lake.
We headed back to the property late in the afternoon to have a supper of tacos. Campfire at night, enjoying s'mores, marshmallow fluff on strawberries (Nathan's concoction), laughing and enjoying each others' company. We had some particularly heavy laughs discussing the worst movies we've ever seen (hence the reference to "First Cow").
Josh cooked up breakfast on Sunday morning, consisting of bacon, eggs and toast, and it was sure good. Josh, Nathan and I then headed below to cut up trees sitting on the boulders that had been dropped by the large ice jam from late March. In addition, we had a pair of 50' pines that had lost their battle with the bluff. These were blocking the normal flow of water weaving between the boulders, and had caused a lot of muck to deposit itself in "Brad's bath". We were able to get most of that cleaned up. I am not certain what type of wood the large logs were, but man, they were very hard to cut with the chainsaw.
The girls cleaned up the two kayaks we had stored at the property to get some of the grime wiped away.
The kids wanted to kayak the upper section of Hall's (Trow Lake to Garage Road) and we agreed we would babysit the dogs. So we got kayaks loaded up and took them up. We dropped off the truck at Garage Road so when they arrived they could load up and head to the property.
I had a bunch of miscellaneous work to do (hang my Leave No Trace signs in the outhouse, mess with trail cameras, cut up a tree laying across the first driveway, etc.), so was happy to have a quiet bit of time to take care of these things.
Hall's was running shallow, and the kids made quite a few stops. Josh also fished (caught 7 smallies). But what is normally a two-hour trip turned into a nearly five-hour trip. But they had a good time, the dogs were good for us, and things went well. Supper was campfire dinners, and they were pretty darn good.
Another night of campfire and time together. Got most of my stuff packed up for the next morning.
Up the next morning for breakfast burritos, and the kids were on the road by 8:00 AM. We were on the road by 8:30 AM
So we had two blown tires, but it did not damper our time together. I so enjoy the time we are able to spend at the property with our kids and their spouses.... and their dogs on this trip.