If I keep repeating it, maybe I’ll start to believe it.
Welcome back to Tokin Tina’s Travels, where we find out together exactly what kind of insanity it takes to drive while pulling a travel trailer, from Alaska to the lower 48. There we will be on the journey to touch both borders of our nation, coast to coast, and see exactly what it is that makes this country so great. Join us while we share the beauty as well as the “potholes” of such an epic adventure.
We woke up around 7:00 am in Beaver Creek in what was surprisingly an almost empty lot. I say surprisingly because when we pulled in late the night before it was almost absolutely full. So full in fact we were on the very end of the very last row in the park. When I say Park, I want to be truthful. It was mostly a converted parking lot with power sources. It was exactly what we needed for the night, because we were exhausted and ready to drop.
I’m not even sure we disconnected for the night we were so tired.
We ate soup in the microwave for dinner hunched over the sink like trolls. We were lucky enough to find power back there in that converted lot behind the 1202 Motor Inn. Thankfully the neighbors next to us were still packing up when Patrick went out the next morning. The need to inspect the wheels in the light of day was pressing at him. He wanted to see how much worse the damages were. This was when we were shown another beautiful case of RVers stepping up. They are often quick to help each other for no reason other than to just be nice.
Remember last week when I said we didn’t have a tire iron that worked? Specifically, we didn’t have one that would allow us to take off the bulging tire to be able to change it out. Well neither did the new neighbors we woke up next to. O.K, let me rephrase that, he had one, but it wouldn’t work because the lug nuts were stripped!!
it’s suspected that this happened back in Wasilla, when we had our suspension upgraded. We think that they just didn’t do a thorough job of putting the tires back on. We came to this conclusion due to missing a lug nut as well as another being a cross-threaded lug. Anyways the neighbor absolutely did have an impact wrench that would work. They just jumped right in, tools and all, to save the morning. We honestly thought it might just save our whole damn week. With his help, we were able to replace the old tire with the brand-new spare. You know, that emergency item that we made sure we had. Jokes aside, Thank goodness we did, let me tell you. The metal that was showing and was shredding the rest of the tire. It wouldn’t have lasted another ten miles.
It was absolutely lucky it didn’t blow. Here is where we decided to start looking at it as being lucky. Luckily we caught it in time. Lucky to find people so quick to help. Lucky lucky lucky, instead of doomed from the start. Both of us very much thought about turning around and scrapping the whole trip. We only considered it because the problems started out so very early on. We did not. Instead, we kept reminding ourselves that this was an adventure. We started looking at everything as if we are lucky and blessed. Blessed with HOW it happened, rather than focusing on the fact that it was happening at all.
So off we go, with big hopes that all our tire troubles are behind us.
We also had the assurance that if they aren’t, we will certainly know about it. We installed a tire pressure monitor system that morning that tells us exactly what the tire pressure is. It monitors each of the tires on the trailer. Scarlit, our truck, already has that option on its tires, but it’s really important to have for any trailer being towed also. It’s just a nice safety feature to have to help avoid dangerous blowouts.
The drive from Beaver Creek heading to Whitehorse was really uneventful but beautiful. That was until we got about 30 miles north of Destruction Bay. It’s still north of Whitehorse, which was our goal for the day. We stopped at a beautiful overlook that has an absolutely gorgeous view of a river below. A place called Burwash Landing.
Thank goodness it was at least a pretty view.
That was where the TPMS (tire pressure monitor system) decided to pick that spot in the journey to start screaming at us. This was to let us know that the OTHER side tire was losing air. ON THAT SAME AXLE. Opposite side, same axle.
When we checked it we could see that this tire had that inner tire wear that says “I’M AN AXLE PROBLEM”. Totally reiterated that it was indeed an axle issue that we were dealing with, which did not bode well for us. I’m not sure if I mentioned it last week or not, but this was actually Patrick’s biggest fear, or close to his biggest fear. I should be more specific, he feared a BROKEN axle, this just seemed to be a bent one, not so bad right? NO, that is wrong, it’s so very wrong.
The closest town was Destruction bay. If we could get there, and there were actually people there, we might be able to find a signal to call for help. We unhooked the trailer at that beautiful rest stop and trekked on down the road further south to Destruction Bay. When I say Destruction Bay is the next closest town, don’t expect much.
What I mean is that there is a post office on one side of the highway, and a gas station on the other.
The gas station is a store, roadside hotel, bar, and restaurant combo, all in one. It’s called the Talbot Arms Motel. It was tiny and didn’t look promising at all to be honest. I’m here to tell you, never judge a town by the 2 lane highway going through it. This place was our saving grace. Whitehorse was another 165 miles down the very lonely AlCan. It certainly didn’t look like we were going to be getting the trailer there that day, as we had planned.
Patrick went into the gas station/bar to ask if they had a phone or knew of a closer tow company. I had called a few tow companies in Whitehorse as soon as a signal popped up. They said they absolutely could come out and get us and tow the trailer into the city, but it would cost $1500 for the tow alone. we would also have an after-hours fee because it was a Sunday.
I was also on the phone with every RV repair shop I could find in Whitehorse on Google, and not one of them had an axle for our trailer. They all said they could order one but the fastest any of them could get one was at least 4 weeks down the road. They also said that more than likely it would probably be up to 6 weeks. I won’t lie and say I didn’t cry some very frustrated tears after finding out this bit of information. Was this journey really truly doomed from the start? It certainly was starting to feel like it.
Patrick came back looking super defeated
He was told that there were no tow truck companies closer than Whitehorse. However there was this man named Charlie. The owner of Chucks Tires and Welding, who USED to do that kind of work, but he was retired. The people working at the front desk knew something because when he walked out, he came out holding a sticky note that contained Charlie’s name and number.
To add a bit of backstory for the reader, and to explain why he looked so defeated while still holding a link to help in his hand, Patrick had JUST retired the week prior. He really did NOT want to call someone who had also recently retired. They were supposed to be enjoying this time of retirement right? I would normally agree, but we were out of options. So I did it. I said, “The worst he can do is tell us to bug off.” Sometimes you just have to take the chance, and I’m so thankful I did.
Charlie answered the phone with a simple “hello”.
He was curt and to the point. The point being that he just couldn’t understand me. I will admit, I was babbling a bit. I was frustrated, had just gotten done crying, and could barely form a sentence. It was a rough few days. He told us to just drive up the driveway to our left (that we had not previously seen) and he would talk to us in person. So that’s what we did and up at the top of that driveway was an actual working garage.
Charlie HAD retired, like 5 different times and he was still going strong. As he says,” if there is work to do, I might as well do it”. Since he was the only qualified person within 150 miles both ways, he was still super active and busy. He was also a really cool person, but I’ll tell you more about him later. I will say, he LOANED us a used tire to go put on the trailer. We needed to tow it into Destruction bay ourselves to avoid the tow charges. He told us to park it down at the bottom of the hill in the parking lot and to call him when we got there.
He also told us to call a place in Whitehorse, called Tamarack Welding.
We were to tell them that Charlie sent us, and see if they could maybe help us faster than 6 weeks. So off we went, to put on the rented tire and get it into town so Charlie and his son could jack it up, put it on blocks, pull off the axle, and we could then rush into Whitehorse with it and get it to the welding shop to see if they could fix it. It all happened so fast that we were on the road to Whitehorse by noon.
Four hours later we reach the outskirts of Whitehorse. Right on the highway was Tamarack, which we found out is a super busy family-run shop. It was really obvious as soon as we pulled in at 4:00 pm that afternoon just how busy it was. The parking lot was packed with people coming and going. I even got a beautiful mental health break when I took a forbidden few moments with the yard dog that was roaming the place. It was only forbidden because I happen to be extremely allergic to dogs, but they still bring me joy, and right then the payment was worth the return.
Anyway, the woman at the front desk, who we found out was the daughter said, “Oh he’s not gonna like this but I’ll go get the boss and he can tell you if he can do anything or not”. My heart sank, it didn’t look good, but when he came and heard our story, and that it was Charlie that sent us he said, “I’ll give you a call if I can’t fix it, if you don’t hear from me, call in the morning and we should have a plan”.
This did not look promising.
So we did what we could, we found a reasonably priced hotel for the night, one with a bathtub, and I went on a hunt for a cannabis shop. That was a priority for me because if you read last week’s post, you remember that I had to completely clear out my supply to get over the Canadian border, and by this time it had been multiple very high-stress days, and it was time, I was going to medicate, soak and just relax. Honestly, there wasn’t a damn thing else we could do.
Next week I’ll tell you all about what happens next. As always, Stay Blessedly Lifted!