My mom and I should not take road trips when towing is involved...Last week we went to Ohio and back to pick up a couple of alpacas and it turned very eventful.
A few years ago we were towing a U-Haul from Omaha to the Quad Cities. This was back when my dad had a huge pickup truck with the dually wheels in the back. We were on I-80 and there was a ton of stopped traffic. I told my mom that the GPS app said it was faster to get off and go on the frontage roads. So we did. It was a narrow gravel road and a bit sketchy with a big truck and trailer, but we were following a milk truck. We decided as long as the milk truck was good so were we. And then at the exit after we had gotten off, they were directing all the traffic off of I-80 onto back roads. I-80 was shut down because of a really bad car accident. It took a very long time to make it through small towns in rural Iowa with stop signs and all the traffic that was on I-80. And then we hit the greater Des Moines area with really bad thunderstorms around the same time we should've arrived at the old farm in Illinois. We ended up stopping at a hotel room!
There was also the time that we were bringing pigs from the Illinois farm in the horse trailer and a tire went flat!
Well, this time we were in rural Iowa en route from Minnesota to Ohio. My mom was driving at the time and she looks in the mirror and said 'I think one of our tires just came off.' I look out my window and sure enough a tire from the trailer was just rolling down the shoulder of the highway! My mom pulled over and I searched the culvert for the tire. The metal in the center of the tire had warn away and my mom looking at the trailer noticed multiple lug nuts were gone.
I pulled up tire places nearby on my phone. There was one just of the highway less than a mile ahead. Since we had nothing in the trailer, and it was a two axle trailer so we still had one tire, we decided to drive there. However the driveway was a rough gravel road up a hill with ruts. That was a no go. The town at the next exit was a mile ahead and there appeared to be a tire repair place downtown. I say appeared because we take the exit and go down to the main street where the tire shop was supposed to be and it was just a vacant building. At this point we decide to try to put on the spare. After digging through all the random stuff my dad had in his truck, lots of restaurant silverware, all the tie downs, etc there was no jack and no tire iron. So not helpful! We call the place off the highway with the gravel drive. Some of their reviews mentioned that they got roadside help so we figured it was worth a shot. The owner was at a doctors appointment and his son was covering the shop and wouldn't know enough to help us. But he told us there was a storage facility that also sold and repaired trailers behind the Casey's gas station and they might be able to help us.
So off we went. It was more than the tire. There were problems with the studs in the drum. The guy running the repair side was able to punch out new holes in the drum and insert new studs and it didn't take too terribly long. But they had a really cute smaller livestock trailer that would be perfect for alpacas, for a price way cheaper than in the cities
So we ended up buying the trailer!
However, once again there were issues. The owners were at a meeting and the teenage sons were running the shop. They could not give us a trade in value and when they were filling out the title, one of them was under 18 so he couldn't sign it and the older son said he thought he made a mistake. We ended up just taking the trailer without the title and stopping on the way home for it!
The couple of hours we spent dealing with the trailer meant that we hit Chicago during rush hour traffic! And lucky me, I got to drive through Chicago both directions. I was glad we ended up with the smaller trailer! Chicago area traffic with road construction would've been no fun. The road construction on the Indiana side had horrible signage and we ended up on 94 instead of 80. It worked out because the GPS said the time was shorter to get there than it was before! We ended up in Michigan briefly and got gas without having to navigate the services station on the tollway
We didn't make it all the way to the town we had wanted to stop at, but we were at the town before. We had not made hotel reservations because we didn't know how far we were going to make it. Online it showed the hotels had rooms available so we weren't worried, Well, the first two hotels right off the interstate were booked out. One of them said we have another location 5 miles down this road that has rooms available. We didn't even bother stopping at the other interstate hotels, we just drove the 5 miles. Had the couple of bags of chips they begrudgingly gave my mom when she checked in (even though she has platinum status with the hotel company and they usually give a little bag full of goodies) for dinner and got to sleep. We only had time for about 4 hours of sleep before we had to wake up to grab a quick breakfast and be on our way!
After driving through the super thick fog we finally arrived at Our Little World Alpacas. The owners were so nice! We got Cord and Andy and were on our way back!
They were unsure of the trailer at first but calmed down as we went. Cord liked to stand up and look out the windows to check everything out whenever we stopped!
Other than the thunderstorms when we hit the Chicago area, the drive back was much less eventful. The heavy rain caused a bit of a delay and we did not make it back to the trailer place before close, so they left the new title in the tack room of the old one.
It was late by the time we got back to the farm! The new boys were not sure what to think of the goats
I'll have better pictures of Cord and Andy soon!
Until next time