Crossing the Desert

Roland pressed on the brakes and we scraped and screeched to a stop. He opened his door and jumped out. Minutes later he came back to tell me that the left wheel had come off the trailer. I sat with the children (who miraculously were still asleep), while Roland went to look for the wheel. He found it, got out the jack and jacked up the trailer and put the wheel back on. He borrowed two lugs from the other wheel to hold it on.

Meanwhile we were in the middle of the road just before a traffic signal. Good thing it was two o’clock in the morning but still there were some cars which pulled around our bulky blockage. No one stopped.

Roland climbed back in the car and turned the key. Silence! The battery was dead from all the running lights on the trailer and car.

“I’ll have to push it,” said he.

“You can’t push all that weight, car and trailer,” said I

“Quiet! And don’t steer into the curb!,” said he, a bit irritated by now.

He climbed out of the car. I jumped behind the driver’s wheel ready to steer but having no hope that Roland was strong enough.

Roland (who was not a big man), put his back against the back of the station wagon and pushed with all his might. It must have been desperation that did it because soon the car began to move and he managed to push car and trailer to the side of the road.

“We’ll have to unhook the trailer so we can push the car and get it started,” said he.

I didn’t argue. By now the children were awake. I lifted Sandy up and took Les by the hand as we headed back to the trailer where I put them in their beds. Back outside Roland had unloaded the water tank (the one that saved us from vapor lock), and put it by the side of the trailer. He had the jack out and was jacking up the trailer so we could lift it off the hitch. We put wood blocks under the trailer hitch to rest the trailer on. He was so stressed and angry that they may not have been lined up. Finally it was high enough and he lifted the trailer off the car hitch. For a moment it hung on the blocks and then crashed down, hitting the water tank as it fell. Instantly the big plexiglas window in the front of the trailer popped out and fell, landing in Roland’s arms. The air was BLUE.

Now we could push the car which we did, me in the back and Roland steering and running beside the driver’s door. Up the road we went until I said,

“Roland we’ll have to push it back because we can’t leave the children.”

Back we went to the trailer. It didn’t start so we tried again. The third trip back and forth the car finally started. Roland took off down the road to find a junk yard where he could buy a shackle. When the trailer scraped along the road it wore out the shackle on one side. The shackles on each side hold on the axle and therefore the wheels. It was now about three in the morning. Not so many places would be open.

I climbed back in the trailer with the children to wait.

(More tomorrow)

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