Monday, November 3, 2008

You know it's a bad day when your wheel falls off...

We've made it to Tucson, but not without some "end of the trip excitement". It was good to see the Arizona border today! After nearly a week on the road, we were past ready to be at home. One of the noted mountains ranges in southeast Arizona are the Chiricahuas (pronounced Cheer-a-cow-was). They are a beautiful mountain range and contain a notable 'figure' of sorts. If you look at the horizontal profile of the top of the range you 'see' the profile of the great Native American, Cochise. In fact, Cochise was very active in this area of the country and his profile is a reminder of that. It was a welcome sight to see the welcome to Arizona sign, with Cochise's head right below it! You may need to 'click' on the picture to enlarge it, but the profile is very prominently there!

After 2000 miles of traveling on some pretty desolate roadways, we encountered 'car trouble' just 60 miles from home! A day or so ago Dean noted that the grease cup for his right front wheel had fallen off. Surely it would need to be replaced, but not an urgent situation. Today, just east of Benson, AZ we both noticed a high pitched noise coming from the right front wheel area. We pulled into a rest stop to check things out, and the wheel bearings on that wheel were really hot - smokin' hot, to be exact. Dean also noted that the right front brake wasn't working well when slowing down at the rest stop. We let the wheel cool off while Dean consulted with a semi truck driver, for his opinion of the situation. The truck driver told us that there is a truck stop, about 10 miles or so, past where we were - in Benson. He thought that we should make it there okay. We decided to take some of the strain off of the van by taking the Jeep off of the tow dolly, and I would follow behind him for the ride to Benson to have this problem fixed. We headed out from the rest stop, going slowly, with our flashers on, up the hill (we were in the mountains, of course). After about 30 yards Dean was slowing down more, and pulled off the road. I followed suit, parked the Jeep, and got out to see what the problem was. This is what I saw -

Yes, you're seeing that right! Dean said that he felt the van sort of 'lurch' and then it was evident that something was seriously wrong. The wheel was coming off the car!!! Yikes! We are so thankful that it didn't happen while we were driving 60 mph! Also, it was fortunate that it happened just 60 miles from home, rather than out on one of those desolate roads in Texas! Dean promptly called his mechanic in Tucson - who in turn called a mechanic in Benson. The tow truck was on it's way. We rearranged things between the van and the Jeep - putting things in the Jeep that we would need (including the cats), and things we could do without for a few days in the van. By the time we finished that task the tow truck had arrived. Fortunately we did have the Jeep in tow! We headed home, a little more cramped, but glad to be back on the road. The mechanic in Benson said to call in the morning to hear what the report is, and we are hoping he can fix it enough to get it back to Tucson and then let Dean's mechanic fix everything. We'll see what the plan will be in the morning.

We are home, though! It's currently 67 degrees with a mostly clear sky. Annie and Atticus are sequestered in our bedroom and bathroom. They aren't quite ready to 'meet' the rest of their siblings yet. We've been cleaning, unpacking, and now doing some laundry. I have my new hire meeting at University Medical Center (UMC) tomorrow at 1pm. Dean also has a meeting at the Mirror Lab around that time. I'm sure we'll have more to tell about tomorrow, but for now - the travel portion of this blog is complete!

1 comment:

Shannon and Alex said...

good thing you caught that bearing. I was riding behind some cousins one time in SD and their rear wheel just took off into the ditch. They wore the bearing out and the whole hub assembly came off.