Tigard, OR to Laughlin NV
Everybody knows how it's supposed to work. The big rig
drives up with the rally car, the service equipment and drivers, all
ready for the big race. But getting there wasn't half the fun for us.
We had a horrible tow down to Laughlin (1180 miles).
The Easystreet big rig was supposed to service for us, so I was going to
bring a pickup truck and that way get better than 6mpg and have a car to
use for reconnaissance. Easystreet runs a drag race team in LA and has a giant service
truck. But the pickup had a sketchy clutch and Easystreet was unable to
come over at the last minute so we towed with the good old "cube"
exhaust leak problems on the rallycar kept me super busy just before we
left, so I did not repack the wheel bearings on the trailer before we
departed Monday evening, already exhausted ourselves.
We drove to southern Oregon and were stopped by a a major accident that
shut down the freeway for 6 hours. Chains would be needed through the
area, so we slept in the back of the van waiting for the highway to open
up. It was 28 degrees and we shivered a lot. At dawn we departed and the
road was clear up and over the pass. We celebrated--until we reached Weed,
CA where (despite bright sunshine) a huge snowstorm hours earlier and more
wrecks had the highway completely shut. We began to put on chains, then
the 4 mile long stack of vehicles started slowly up the hill, so we took
off the one chain we had on and joined the agonizingly slow procession. An
hour later we were clear of the trouble spot and on our way. Yeah!
That happiness lasted until the San Joquin valley when I spotted smoke coming
off the right rear of the trailer -- a flat, I figured. Nope. Wheel bearing
had melted and was gone. We were minutes away from a wheel going off into the desert.
We had to take the rallycar off the trailer and remove the tire, driving
the rally car ahead of the van to search for wheel bearings in Bakersfield
before the town shut down at 9pm. The van followed with the empty trailer
teetering on 3 wheels.
No luck on getting correct bearings. The uncommonly nice man at the parts store invited us to
stay the night in his spare
room and his wife would make us obviously tired travelers some late night
dinner. We declined, with many thanks, and pushed on to Laughlin with the crippled trailer.
Just outside of Laughlin as we could begin to make out the neon lights of
the casinos, the tire on the van blew. So we did a quick 15 minute tire
change at the side of the road on the 12,000lb van. We arrived the hotel
at 4.35am. Reconnaissance began at 8am....