Sound like I had an axle problem? You bet your ass I did. But it took a trip or two for me to realize it.
It all started out so innocently. I was boondocking with friends around the west side of Glacier National Park. (Drool)
They found a KILLER boondocking spot.
It was super close to Glacier’s West entrance.
Pulling in was… tight. I just barely cleared a little stump or two. No big deal- might have to create a little ramp to get back over it when pulling out.
Glacier… it’s where I first came to when I hit the road! It’s my favorite National Park so far.
And going back was almost like a homecoming for me.
Help! We Are SURROUNDED By Bears!
Well, after a day, my friends and I noticed that there was a strange growling sound around us in the morning and in the evenings.
It was so WEIRD. The calls sounded close and there were enough of them that it sounded like we were surrounded.
It was a little unnerving.
(What animal is around who sounds like there are many of them and also they sound very angry?)
We were all carrying bear spray just to walk 20 feet to the next rig, lol.
It sounded kind of like a bear call. That’s the best I can explain it.
So we were all on alert. But it sure was strange that no one ever saw any bears or other animals.
On about night three, I was hanging out at Kevin’s hot tub (Yes, you heard that right. Now TWO of my friends have portable inflatable hot tubs for boondocking. Bubbles and all. It’s UH-mazing)
We were talking about the sound when OUT OF THE BLUE, a bear rushed at us right out of the shrubbery!
Heh. I’m kidding.
Actually, we heard the sound once again. Close. And from above, it went from right to left.
And we laughed, IMMEDIATELY knowing we had been foiled by BIRDS!!!!! 😂 BIRDS!
The birds (later we found out were Nighthawks) would dive down to impress females.
When they swoop back up, their feathers make this GRRRRRWOOOOOOO sound. (Impossible to ‘write’ the sound. Google it if you want.)
Crazy. Seconds later, poor Marshall was walking over to the hot tub to see what all the ruckus was about.
Right then, one dove right above his head.
Scared the crap out of him! LOL! Funny to us, heart attack for Marshall.
Everyone in that group will all call the common nighthawk ‘Bear Birds’ from now until we die.
Glacier National Park to Kalispell, Montana
So leaving was pretty uneventful. I hitched up but couldn’t pull forward because I was stuck on something.
Marshall helped and found a little stump, maybe 4″ in diameter, that my rear axle couldn’t get over.
He built a ramp and I hit the gas a few times without moving before my trailer finally went over it.
Not being ready to leave Montana but not finding good cell at any boondocking spots, both Marshall and I, for the first time, joined Boondocker’s Welcome!
This gave us a place to park for a few nights just north of Kalispell. Winning! It was great. Funny enough, friends of ours (fellow Xscapers) happened to join us there!
Didn’t know they were coming until I got a message asking if that’s where I was.
I had close access to town as well as good friends to hang out with.
Next, Marshall and I headed down to Anaconda, Montana where we were to meet some different friends.
(No, you can’t hear the name of that town and NOT sing ‘the’ song. It was in my head the entire time I was there.)
I’ll just leave this here-
Uneventful stay for a few nights by a river in a city park.
I PAID for this park. $10/night. They gave me a night free. UH-mazing!
VERY unusual for me. However, I still wouldn’t label it as a (cough cough) *CAMPGROUND*. EEEW!
Nope. I picked my own spots. There weren’t ‘actual’ sites. It’s more like a good overnight place.
My ‘Oh-Shit’ Moment at the $50,000 Casino
So next it was off to the $50,000 Silver Dollar Casino. “The state’s largest gift shop!!!” “Two Bars!!” “Two Casinos!!”.
But all I cared about was the free camping. It wasn’t as exciting as it sounds, folks.
But yes, they have at least $50,000 in silver dollars posted up all over the walls. If that’s your thing.
We found the camping area, parked, and I got out. Almost immediately I noticed something amiss with my wheels.
That looks like ‘soot’ on my wheels. Strange.
I carried on.
The back of my trailer was also really covered with a lot of dark dust or soot.
Huh. Dirty road, I guess.
Circled back around to open my trailer door, and as I was unlocking I noticed a funny looking tire.
It was BALD. (DAFUQ?)
Yup, solid bald. On both sides on the rear axle. Not good. They were about a year old. The other two were fine.
How could they be bald? And how so evenly??
I looked and looked and looked under the trailer and sent photos to a messenger group of friends asking for ideas.
Then I saw it.
The back axle was BENT. (Triple FUK.)
It was pretty obvious that the stump incident did some damage.
I had no idea that axles were that fragile!
I’m also VERY lucky I didn’t have a blowout. Or two at the same time.
Of COURSE, I had let my roadside assistance overlap and wasn’t covered.
So we (Marshall’s bright idea) used his spare and my spare and changed the two back tires there and then.
Then we took my trailer to the nearest Les Schwab, about 40 miles away in Kellogg, Idaho.
Les Schwab To The Rescue!
Kudos to that place. (The Les Schwab in Kellogg.)
They let us stay on an adjacent lot of theirs overnight.
They got my new Dexter axle in the next day.
Clean and shiny. And, well, straight.
The Mystery Smell In The Dumpster
More importantly, they indulged me in figuring out what the hell was rotting inside of their dumpster in back.
It smelled EXACTLY like roadkill.
This nice guy indulged my curiosity and dug around while I held the door open. I dry heaved at the end it was so bad!
But it was an adventure!!! (Sounds weird, I know.)
Originally when I realized where the smell was coming from, my brain went straight to ‘Maybe it’s a dead animal that someone put in a bag and dumped here’ and I HAD to know if that was it.
Was ready to call animal control and order them to open an investigation on this case!
It was not a dead ‘animal.’. It was dead fish wrapped in a bag. Technically, I still say dead animal. 😒
Anyway, they changed the axle while we went to pick up two new tires from Discount Tire.
All in all, that little stump cost me just over $1,500. Two new tires, a new axle, and actually, one new trailer brake.
Oh well! I’m all fixed up now!
It was done in one day, and that afternoon, we hit the road again for new destinations!
That night, I hung out with myself in my rig.
Had to take this photo to send friends who were all gathering in small groups and sending photos of themselves hanging out.
“Hey, look at my group party tonight” 😂
See y’all next post!