It’s our trailerversary! Two years of travel in the bag. We are celebrating with some locally sourced salsa and a siesta in Mesa, AZ. Milestones are cause for celebration because they are not easy to achieve, and this year has certainly had just as many challenges as triumphs.
Most recently, we had the rather unpleasant experience of road trouble; the trailer achieved its first flat tire. I have extensive experience with bicycle flats, which can be fixed in less than 5 minutes, and some experience with flats on cars, which can be fixed in the range of 30 minutes to 8 hours (depending on how willing you are to wait for AAA in order to avoid a car jack). This flat tire was nothing like that.
The vehicle shook like we had drifted over the shoulder rumble strips. We realized something was wrong when, looking behind us, we could see paper and debris scattering across the highway from our home. Was the trailer disintegrating?!? Combusting? Had we lost the rear half of our house? It was both an environmental and a domestic disaster.
Upon closer inspection we realized that the tire had popped, but the rubber and steel-mesh tread remained attached to the wheel. Traveling at 55+ miles an hour, the tread had thrashed through 5 layers of flooring and subflooring. Within 50 yards it had ripped a hole clear through to the inside, where our office supplies were stored. Not quite satiated, the tire redistributed those supplies and household items across the highway.
A trailer flat tire is somewhere between a deranged game of 52 pick up and Frogger. And then there’s the 6-foot long gash in the bottom of your trailer. I know. I know.
The good news? Paul, Odin, and I were all perfectly unharmed. We were cruising in the slow lane, which meant our worldly possessions were mostly flung off the shoulder and did not hurt any other drivers. Also, I married the world’s most unshakeable human, whose reaction was something along the lines of “well that was not what I had planned for today.”
Walking back through the wreckage we were able to find Paul’s passport and some gratitude. We hadn’t left anything too dear under the desk, and though the tire had completely stripped the main room of all electrical wiring, none of our water or gas lines were hit. That said, it was Sunday so no repair shops were open and we were pretty well isolated between nothing California and open desert Arizona. Paul put the spare on and I cleaned up what debris I could. A cop stopped to see what the deal was, and we are young and white and athletic and married, so we seemed not only harmless but also pitiable. He wished us luck and went along his way.
Then we took apart our desk. That beautiful custom built desk was the solution to the hole in the floor and the reason we would not sleep on the side of the interstate. We placed the busted tire on top of the desktop on top of the hole and hoped against hope that it would hold through the four hours we had left to our destination, and it did.
A thought occurred to me—trucks whipping past on the interstate, each one swaying the jacked up trailer violently side-to-side—that this is exactly why we did this. Paul and I both love to be wily, to figure things out. But “being wily” is not something you can demonstrate on command or plan in to your weekend. You have to wait for the insurmountable situation to present itself—and then with some combination of wits and will, you figure it out. The mistakes and the mishaps are an opportunity to grow and to prove ourselves, and they become more frequent and familiar the less familiar and consistent we make our day-to-day lives.
The trailer is still in disrepair. Or as Paul prefers to think of it, the airflow has been enhanced. The electrical circuits have all been pulled out and rewired with cables and surge protectors. But the adventure? My friends, it’s as alive as ever.
Here are some of the abundant gems and triumphs we experienced this year as well: