shantyboat towed

For Your Information: The Rockies Are Big

We sailed across the Great Salt Lake at a blazing 50 miles per hour at the tail end of the heat of the July desert day.

Shantyboat on the flatlands

Shantyboat in the flatlands

To be clear, the Public Works truck enthusiastically towed the shantyboat, and only had trouble dissipating all the heat that work created.

So we were taking it slowly on the flats and slower yet on the hills. We made it through Salt Lake City as the temperature was dropping from near 100ºF, to the relatively cool low 90s. The Rocky Mountains start in earnest about a dozen feet east of SLC and so up we started climbing. 45, 35, 25, down to 15mph.

Across the Great Salk Lake from the back deck of the Shantyboat

Across the Great Salk Lake from the back deck of the Shantyboat

But we were doing it. Slowly but surely.

After a super sketch single lane segment of highway 80, the light  on the overdrive indicator started blinking. The internet consensus on the mysterious blinking light was that the transmission computer had something to say. Okay. I made a mental note to have that checked out soon as I could.

Up over  Parley Summit and then up up into the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains, a towering reminder of — wait, what’s going on? Are we losing power? My sideview says I am laying a thick trail of smoke. Can I limp to the rest area a quarter mile away? No, the truck is revving, but we’re not making more power. So I’m pulling over over into the sketchy non-existent shoulder enveloped in a thick stinky cloud of my own black smoke. Oh dear sweet Jesus, what now?

Oh. The transmission. I think I exploded the transmission.

After moments of despair followed by moments of desperate refactoring, we made a plan:

  1. Deal with the transmission problem, but worry about the Public Work truck later.
  2. Figure out new transportation. A rental seems most likely, something I probably should have done from the beginning.
  3. Work out the finances in our rapidly dwindling project funds.
  4. Keep moving!

Hours and hours later, we got a tow from Chuck. It was almost 2 in the morning, and he’d been up since 7am. He put the Public Works truck on the flatbed and towed the boat behind. Down from the summit back into the valley at 70mph, easily the fastest the shantyboat had ever traveled. He towed us back to Salt Lake City about an hour and half away. Chuck and Hazel got very sweet on the ride.

Chuck and Hazel

Chuck and Hazel

So we dropped the truck off at Transmission Man and camped for the rest of the night in the shantyboat.

As for Plan Item 3, like a fortune cookie: “Help from a friend is forthcoming.”

Now to tackle important Plan items number 2 and 4.

Who knew that the Secret History project would have its own full adventure before the adventure even officially began?

1 comment for “For Your Information: The Rockies Are Big

  1. July 21, 2014 at 12:07 am

    aww. Hazel is the ambassador of the shanty boat.

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