“Let everything happen to you
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final”
― Rainer Maria Rilke
“I wouldn’t give a tinker’s damn for a man who isn’t sometimes afraid. Fear’s the spice that makes it interesting to go ahead.”
― Daniel Boone
I’m no stranger to taking my kids out on an adventure with me being the only adult. But today was a complex set of situations. First, we drove up (and down) the Black Ridge Road in our red Jeep. With no AC and pushing 100 degrees, bumping over the road. The kids did great, and kept asking when we could go home. I said my typical response, “All trails lead to home.” But first we’re going to hike to an arch.
So we finally hit the TH for Rattlesnake Arches. We got out into the heat and hiked the mile down to the first arch then the mile back. On the way out, Connor was crying almost the entire time. Trinity complained loudly, and even louder on the hike back. This provided me an excellent opportunity to teach about the value of complaining. It went something like, “You know, you’ve done a fair amount of complaining. Has it made any difference? Are you cooler? Are you hiking faster? Does complaining about your situation change the situation at all?” NO! So let’s use our words to make the situation better, not worse.
We did survive the hike back to the Jeep, and had fun spraying each other with bike bottles, then we all changed into swimming suits.
On our way driving out I started to hear an unusual sound, but I couldn’t place it. When we got on pavement the steering wheel was shaking a little. I was unnerved, but not deterred from making our promised trip to the potholes. We were already in swimming suits!
We made it there, and hiked down to the water. The place was pretty busy (read: trashy). I was not enthused. The only other time I’d be to this place it had been a rather pleasant experience. This was ruining the memory of the other for me. I’ll leave it at that.
When I could finally pull the kids out of the water, we hiked back to the Jeep and started driving home. But the steering was worse, the shaking and the sound indicating a real issue. I called Dennis and described the issue. His response,
“Pull over right now. A wheel is about to fall off.”
And he was absolutely correct. The front-passenger tire had lost a bolt and three lug nuts. There were now only 2/6 holding the wheel on and they were both on the same side. I transferred some lugs from the rear wheels, but the bolts had been sheered at it made no difference.
I was now stuck in a broken, undriveable, Jeep 12 miles from home with no sight of civilization other than the passing cars, with three wet/dirty/tired/sunburned/hungry kids and wearing only a bikini top and shorts because I’d put my shirt on Trinity to swim in…. and 100+ degrees and no shade. Marvelous.
So I now had a choice: I could complain (duh) to Dennis about it (he blamed the people who had serviced our wheels recently and tightened the lugs too much), and expect him to do something, or I could put on my big girl panties and be the boss.
I figured either way we were stranded- I may as well try and drive a little further, and be at least a little closer to home. While Dennis called the shop to see how they could help, the situation being their fault (and we couldn’t afford a tow), I roused the kids and put on the hazards and drove.
A few miles down the road, another vehicle pulled over in front of us. It was a turquoise Bronco with a “Mesa County Search and Rescue” sticker on it, matching the one on the Jeep I was now attempting to limp home at 3 mph. The nice man got out and asked if we could use some help. I’d been really strong, calm, and calculated up until then. But as I started to describe the situation to him (still wearing just a bikini, and my body being burned from trying to fix the Jeep on the side of the road), a few tears leaked out.
He said it was no problem to throw the kids and our stuff (all of Dennis’ SAR stuff was in the back of the Cherokee- and included a Grand Junction Off-road jersey that was way too big for me but a far better option than staying in my swimming suit) in his Bronco and drive us home. He said he lived up by the Black Ridge road and we had actually driven right past his house on our way from Rattlesnake Arches to the Potholes. He had just decided a few minutes earlier to drive into town for a pair of pants. We squeezed all 5 of us in across his front seat. The kids were so cheerful at the novelty.
We ended up making it home, the Jeep made it to the shop, and Dennis stayed in Utah to ride another day.