Sunday, August 9, 2009

Ore to Shore Trip Report, Pt.1

Days 1 and 2: In which the truck breaks down and we endeavor to fix it and get back on the road.

Oh, goodness. What didn't happen this past week and weekend? I worked some longer hours to make sure I could sneak out Thursday afternoon to start the drive up to Marquette. I met Cale at home shortly after lunch, packed my clothes and we were off! The drive up and out of WI was pretty uneventful. Everything was stowed nicely away in the back of the truck and Cale and I were listening to a good Audiobook, or 'book on tape'. With about an hour and a half in the drive left to go, I turned the keys over to Cale to drive. So good was the book, we missed a turn and wound up about three miles off-course. Cale pulled over next to a fruit/veggie stand, threw the truck in reverse and, although we could feel and hear the engine working, nothing happened...

Well, something had happened alright. After putting it in drive and reverse again trying to get it to move, we stepped outside to have a look. This is the sight that greeted us:

Needless to say, I took it rather badly. The truck had just gotten out of the shop (for the tune of almost $1000*) and I thought that it was bitterly unfair that it should just up and break down after I had so thoughtfully had it repaired. Those repairs I viewed as necessary and not all that bad, considering the truck itself was pretty cheap. This I saw as betrayal!

There are a lot of 'luckily's to mention, though. What happened is that the ti rod broke, and the passenger side wheel would no longer obey the steering wheel. Had we been going at speed, this could have been very bad. Luckily, it happened in a parking lot, turning around. Also, the stand we broke down in front of happened to be run by a man who knew everyone in town (which was close by- lucky again) and who located a tow truck driver who agreed to pick us up after finishing dinner at Perkins. The tow wound up being about $6 for mileage (2 miles to pick up, 2 to haul back to the shop) and a hook up fee of around $65*. Ok, not too bad. My spirits picked up a little.

And how often do you get to see three modes of transportation stacked on top of each other?

Another wonderful thing is that this happened Thursday evening, and we had to be by Marquette (an hour away) by Saturday for the race. It also meant that parts could be purchased and the truck could be fixed on Friday. (If it couldn't, our backup plan was to be picked up by some friends either going to or already at the race.) So we had it towed and then took our bikes off the back to terrorize the town of Rapid River. We got a nice little hotel room right across the road from the shop and then went in search of dinner. We wound up at a bar on trivia night, which was fun, even if we were no good.

Here's a place with all sorts of metal sculptures we spotted in town:

Dinner at the Swallow Inn:

And then home to the motel, which had soap for all of my body-hair washing needs:

The next morning we went to check on the truck. We were told it would be done in a few hours, so we went biking on some back roads and even found some old logging roads we took through the woods. I saw a deer wading across a stream, and we biked past a grandmother and granddaughter out for a ride, too. And the weather and scenery were lovely!

We meandered back, bought a paper and had breakfast at the local diner, and then went back to pick up the truck, which was ready and waiting. By this time, waiting around for the truck to be done felt more like vacation. It was cool exploring the town, we weren't in a terrible hurry and one way or another, we would make it to the race. Add to that nice mechanics and a small repair bill (about $150*) and it didn't actually seem like such a bad way to start out a weekend.

*I feel like listing out what you pay for things is tacky, but for this story, necessary. How else could I illustrate the depth of the truck's betrayal and then the ultimately lightweight repair bill?


bmxmtbfam said...

dont say anything bad about a buddy doing repairs, well wrong, he should have swapped then out when he dropped the front end to do the ball joint, thats pretty poor

Tim said...

FORD: Fixed Or Repaired Daily

Tim said...

I'm not going anywhere near the "Swallow Inn". I'll take the "high road" and leave the door open for the likes of Russell.

Snacks said...

Fix Or Repair Monthly, anyhow...
The next major repair it needs, it's getting traded in! I've got to get my money's worth from these repairs, and after that any funny business and it's getting junked.