Posted by robin w
The big news, as you may know, is I moved from Cape Cod, MA to Charleston, SC. So I moved myself, using my brother's 7x14' enclosed trailer. I used it to move last year, so I figured it would be fine. It only needed brake lights, which I solved with some magnetic lights that tow trucks use, with the added caution of zip-tying them to the trailer as well.
I made it just over the bridge in Fall River (60 miles) when drivers signaled that I had a problem. Great. I could see a light dragging in my mirror and pulled over to reattach it, though the bulb was smashed. Well, I had one taillight! Another bumpy section of road dislodged the remaining light, though the lens was gone, the bulb was still working. I stoped in Wyoming, RI to get a bulb at a hardware store but the other light would not illuminate, so it was onward with one trailer light. The trailer is as wide as my pickup, so one can't see my truck tai lights, either.
So I pushed onward thru CT, NY, and into NJ. Again on the turnpike, I got shouted messages of "...your trailer tire!" Great. I pulled into the first rest area/fuel/food stop to check it out. Oh yeah, totally shredded tire, right down to the wheel! Well I sighed, I have a spare. I pulled the vinyl cover off the spare to find.......a padlock on the wheel! No key, we never looked at it, ever! Think, think. I found the closest Home Depot, who was unable to make a key, so I bought 24" bolt cutters ($25). They easily cut the lock off and I changed the tire, but noting it was a bit soft, as was the remaining tire which had bad cracks in the sidewalls, I spent the night at the rest stop, 9mm Walther pistol at my side; I slept pretty well stretched out on my front seat. Next morning I aired up the tires and was back on the Turnpike.
I made it maybe two miles before I was informed again by passing motorists that my trailer had a flat tire! I pulled off at the first exit, took a left and stopped at the first service station. They understood my plan to drive to SC ("you'll never make it") and found me four new Light Truck load range 'C' tires for $600' and had them on in 90 minutes; back on the road with new "kicks." I did notice that the tire changer had wrapped wire around the trailer tongue. It was the trailer light wires that were ripped down off the trailer frame by a piece of flapping, rotating, tire shredding. So I stopped at an auto parts store and bought two new tai lights, that I would re-attach at a later time. That later time came at 4pm, just outside Richmond, VA, when it clouded over and started raining. No way I was going to continue in heavy traffic without lights, so I pulled into a motel for the night. The next morning I re-spliced the borked wires back together and hooked up the new lights. Success!
I made the remaining 10 hours without incident, arriving in SC at my daughter's before dark. Quite a trip...moving is never easy, but it cost me $600 in tires, which my brother said I now own the trailer! I don't know if that is a good thing or not!
Anyway, my daughters Honda Accord blew its head gasket and is deemed not worth repairing. So Part II of this trip covers my flight back to Cape Cod to drive back a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee, with about 165k on it. I keep my fingers crossed, though if feel pretty good about the reliability of the Jeep. But what do I know?