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Breakdown But Back  On the Road


5-17-12, South of Rangely, CO - A very interesting day!

After a hard day yesterday, I lounged around and didn’t get on the road until after 9 am.  After descending several hundred feet in elevation, I pulled the wagon next to a small creek for water. I had to refill my large 30 gallon barrel of water and several containers, so I opted to use the sump pump and wagon power to lift the water rather than carrying it by hand.

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This is much better than carrying 60 pound jugs of water up a steep hill.

An hour further down the road, I encountered quite an obstacle - a cattle guard across the highway with only a marginal go around gate on the left hand side.  The problem with the go-around gate was that was a fairly large ditch on the far side which I had to drive the wagon through.

I drove through the gate, then carefully surveyed the situation before trying the ditch at an angle. Everything worked as plan as I maneuvered the wagon through the ditch until I went to drive the front wheels out on the road.  Then ........ I broke the wagon!

The force of the wagon coming out of the ditch sheared a couple of bolts that held the front of the wagon to the chassis.  The bolster spring assemblies collapsed sideways and we were stuck.  My first though was, ‘Without several large jacks and come-alongs, how was I ever going to get out of this mess and get rolling again.

Not to worry.  Within seconds, help arrived by the van loads.  All the machinery and tools in the world pale to insignificance next the brawn that is supplied by a field trip from the Colorado School of Mines. The Oil and Gas Exploration Field Trip from this University provided all of the brawn necessary to pickup the wagon while I re-seated the bolster springs in the correct position. Before I knew it. the team was rehitched and rolling down the road once again.

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Every student on this field trip deserves an A+ for ‘Field Expedient Engineering’.

As we got back on to the road, the lads broke into a trot on a gentle downhill slope and started chewing up the miles.  By 3:30 pm we had twenty miles behind us and were looking for a flat place to affect some field repairs to the wagon.


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Good friend, Horse and Mule Trainer and Ferrier Steve Brady.

Interestingly enough, all of the side roads and turnoffs to this highway have cattle guards with poorly constructed go-around gates.  Since the wagon needed some more permanent repairs before I pulled off on to a right-of-way, I had to keep an eye out for something a little flatter.  About 17 miles south of Rangely, I found a normal wire gate that led to what I was searching for.

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Looking for a place to camp. For all of you folks expecting a good butt shot of the horses, I’m sorry to disappoint you. This picture provides just a peek.

With only a modest amount of tools on the wagon, Steve and I made what should be enough repairs to get the wagon to Rangely.  Steve has a friend living there that hopefully will provide us with some additional tooling to complete the repair.

My big surprise and delight for the day - what should have taken four jacks and a couple of come-alongs, can also be accomplished by several van loads of husky college students who were willing to lend a helping hand.  Not only that, they miraculously arrived at the very second their assistance was required.

Here are a couple of shots that Steve’s wife Teressa took yesterday as we were climbing up Douglas Pass.


B.O.B., living the good life at the tail end of a long caravan.


Steve and Teressa’s Daugher and Grandson.

Parting words for the night - “Thank You to the Colorado School of Mines!”