What if you were entering Terra Incognita, say along the North Shore of Lake Superior where No kind of Verizon cellular service reaches you from the US and the only signal from nearby Canada informs you that the costs will be prohibitive once you get in range. Say, for the first time in your traveling life, you have back-to-back reservations at Ontario's finest Provincial Parks for the next 18 days. The weather is clear, traffic is light, your documents are in order and you are carrying no illegal food stuffs which might endanger the lives and agriculture of our friendly neighbors to the North.
Why look! A national Monument AND a gas station with attractive prices, just before the border. How Fortuitous, he exclaimed. AND, it is large and commodious, easy to manuever in and spotlessly clean...part of the Grand Portage Casino complex...
What, you ask, Could go wrong?
Well, your right front trailer axle hub could crack, your wheel going a tad asymmetrical, loud screeching of complaning metal and cries of horror from bystanders. That might happen just as you pull away from the pumps...
We stopped, blocking horrified convenience store customers in their parking places, ASSESSED, and pulled away to the parking apron to yet more shrieking from metal and spectators.
We took advice from all assembled. Letting the air out of the tire and pulling up on levelers helped free the tire with no further damage, but the carnage was impressive. Clearly, this JUST happened. The grease wasn't burned or even hot. The guts of the brake assembly were a tangled mess, but the lugs were tight. The fracture to the bearing cup was new and clean. No sign of careless maintenance. The tire temperature sensor had not even peeped. We were lucky this happened as it did: Happening WHERE it did, Not so lucky.
|POOR THREE WHEELED TRAILER IN A FIELD OF WILDFLOWERS|
Well, one bit of Luck. Part of the Casino complex is a pleasant campground and site #1 was the easiest to access and empty. This I learned from Richard, who as I was told, would know what to do if anybody did.
It was Sunday. It was Festival day in Grand Marias, forty plus miles back and, if we left right away, we could arrive during the Parade which would assure that no one would be at their place. Halfway back we MIGHT get cellular service to try our Roadside Assistance folks at Good Sams, but we thought it would be prudent to depend on ourselves to find someone capable of fixing this. Then, if necessary, risk the towing.
AND NOW, THE REST OF THE STORY...
The people of Grand Marais and Grand Portage are warm, generous and neighborly folks. We learned this through the week, long before the recent mechanical unplesantness. They know and like their neighbors and LOVE their home on the North Shore.
When we drove back into Grand Marais, on Sunday --during the big Fisherman's Picnic Parade -- with our fractured hub, the staff at the Municipal Campground could not have been more helpful. They went through mental inventories of who might be helpful, referring to folks by first names, waving off the place Good Sams was planning to drop our trailer using a towing company no one thought capable. They fixed on Greg Olsen and called him. We later learned that Greg was pulling a float in the parade at that moment with dad's tractor. But right after the parade he appeared on his motor scooter.
Yeah, this is the kind of job I usually get...only Bigger and by the side of the road.
He talked us through the problem which was mostly about Nobody keeps those parts in the county. But he would do his best to get us rolling again. The brake parts were questionable but...
We took a day off to visit the really terrific Grand Portage National Monument and Heritage Center interupted only by a run to the ER (but that's another couple of stories).
Next day, Greg announced that ALL the parts would arrive and he would have us running by sundown. And he did, with grace and skill and a number of pretty good stories of his own.