Let me first start off by acknowledging that yes I have had MANY problems with my car, and they all seem to be majorly expensive to fix. I have had MANY instances of near-death experiences in this car, i.e. sliding backwards down an iced over mountain road nearly sliding off the 150ft vertical cliff, climbing the side of mountain on a 4wd only road again with the road giving way and nearly sliding off yet another sheer cliff... just to name a few (seems I have issues with cliffs too, go figure given that I'm afraid of heights). Though I suppose there's something to be said for the fact that I did actually live through all of it if not for a few years being knocked off of my life span due to fear.
The latest “adventure” with my car proves yet again that even the most gentle of roads can be too much for it's delicate physique. I had booked a hotel room for 2 nights to be able to shower, have a proper sleep, and maybe feed myself with something other than peanut butter sandwiches in Mountain Home, Idaho. One the second day I decided to take an adventure out to a town called Prairie which lied north of my hotel and nestled below the mountains. Little did I know that what awaited me was some of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen (check the gallery below).
I actually missed the initial turn off for Prairie and instead took a random road with a sign that just said “lake.” Seriously. That's all this sign said. I took a left and followed the paved road down through several “vacation farms” (people who own really expensive looking farms but don't live there full time). After a good 10/15 minute drive there to my life was a row of mountains, a canyon, and the Snake River winding it's way along the bottom. It was a spectacular scene for sure. The river was naturally turquoise in color, the canyons a sea of shades red and brown, and the mountains saturated in green and purple, and a dusting of fresh white snow.
I traveled down the gold-colored canyon dirt road all the way down into the lowest point and drove alongside the river. It was breathtaking. Every direction looked like a post card. The weather was great, the temperature was warm, and the water was FREEZING. Haha. You can't drive hundreds of miles and not at least put your fingers in the water. As you drive along the road the canyon walls rise high around you and you have the mixed sense of wonder and humility realizing just how small you actually are. Those feelings are quickly replaced by the rush of “OH SH*T GET THE CAMERA” as I remembered why I was actually there in the first place.
I drove for hours stopping here and there to take photos or record video when I finally came to a fork in the road and a sign that said “Prairie” with an arrow pointing right to a road that climbed, rather steeply, the canyon wall. As it turns out I drove so far down the snake river that the town actually ended up being about 15 miles from this point. Not too bad! I turned right and climbed the dirt road. As I ascended the wind started to pick up and by the time I reached the top of the canyon it was blowing at full force nearly knocking the camera out of my hand and me over the edge. Not fun. I do NOT like wind. I persevered and got the shots I wanted before turning tail and running back to the car.
I did reach Prairie shortly there after, not much really to say about it, it's a quiet mountain town of about 100 people. No joke. I doubt it has more than that. A simple town with a scattering of homes on a single road that abruptly ends with a fork for two different snowmobile-only paths. Reaching the end of the driveable road and having accomplished my goal I turned around and drove back down into the canyon and up the road on the other side back to the highway. Here's where the trouble starts.
When you enter the canyon's vicinity you have to travel in between different farms in order to reach any of the main roads or campgrounds. The problem with that isn't dodging cows or keeping an eye out for deer, it's the cattle guards. Very few of them are actually marked properly and some are just barely visible all together. When you're driving at about 45mph and you hit those shi… things it can be quite the shock to the system. As bad luck would have it every time I went over a guard my back left tire would get closer and closer to freedom.
I reached the highway and turned right to head back to the hotel. This is when I started hearing noises. Weird thumping noises. I've had crap stuck in my tire before so I didn't think too much of it at the time. However, and I'm not exaggerating when I say this, 5 minutes from my hotel my back tire comes loose and wedges itself into the wheel bay causing the car to swerve violently across the highway. I knew exactly what happened the moment I heard the sound. I took a breath, focused, and regained control of the vehicle. Luckily for me I managed to bring the car to a stop 100 feet from where the tire came free and 8 feet from the edge of the reservoir. I'll be honest, I didn't even see the water at that point, the only thing I thought was “shit, how am I going to pay for this?” Thankfully the dog was okay, I was okay, and the car was NOT in the water. So there halfway into the middle of the highway and halfway off the embankment I sat. I got out, asessed the damage and called AAA.
Four out of the five studs that the rim of the tire mounts to were sheered off and the last one utterly obliterated the rim from the inside out. THANKFULLY the tire itself was still in perfect condition. I put on my warning lights and waited for my tow truck... for an hour. I was pissed mostly because of the unnecessary expense this would bring, but also because as I sat in my front seat I could see the sign for my hotel. When the tow truck arrived AAA called me back informing me that at this time, 7pm on a Saturday, all the repair shops in Mountain Home were closed and that NONE of them were open on Sunday either. GREAT. So not only will there be an unexpected repair bill, but now the additional cost of 3 additional nights at the hotel. SUPER.
After all was said and done I was able to get the car's studs repaired and replaced, purchased an ugly rim (I have another original rim at home in Portland), and was able to leave for Utah on Wednesday. You can bet though that the moment I am able to afford a replacement car this one is OUTTA HERE. Haha. I am over the bad luck.
That's all for now. Check out the gallery below!