Inger and Jeff Latreille
Bears and Repairs
~Saturday, August 13, 2022~
Day 790 (Travel Day-sort of)
Day 54 of Alaska Trip
Today’s the day!! Installing the new lift kit bracket so that the axle and the trailer can be reunited once again. Though we really enjoyed our time at Hidden Lake near Coopers Landing, it was time to get the show on the road. For one last hurrah before our departure, a black mama bear and her 2 cubs decided to pay us a visit about 30 yards from our campsite. It was very apparent she was used to humans by not showing a care in the world that we were there. What she did care about were those cubs, instructing them to climb a nearby tree while she could go about her business
of foraging for berries and delicious grass. Good to see that she wasn’t interested at all in fire rings or picnic tables, and relying only on things by natural means. Most people are very good about leaving a clean campsite which only helps the bears and people’s interaction with them (something we saw a little too often back home, especially in Yosemite and Tahoe). But, what patient cubs they were. They must have waited in that tree for over 30 minutes, finding a suitable branch to rest their behinds on. It was very cool to watch, though we didn’t stay long enough to witness what her signal was in getting them down.
Soon after, we left our campsite #2 for the S-L-O-W, careful 5-minute drive to the dump station before moving to the flat, level overflow parking lot area, where we’d concentrate our repairs.
With the trailer lifted onto the tire ramp perfectly, he began. Having no rain helped. Jeff had thought this whole process out for hours days before, likely able to recite it in his sleep. But something was different from when he discovered the problem in the first place. He laid a stack of
orange level blocks underneath the axle thinking he’d be able to lift the axle onto the blocks since it was wobbly last time from not being attached. But he just couldn’t lift it enough to get the axle high enough into position. The blocks were NOT going to work. Plan B……drive to the town of Sterling to the equipment rental shop he had found a few days ago (thank goodness he had already scouted this out beforehand). But were they open (remember we have no cell service)? It was Saturday afternoon after all and it wasn’t like we were in a busy, populated area. So while I held down the fort, he and Sadie made the 25-minute drive to see what they could find out.
Meanwhile, with the trailer ramped up, I stood at the door opening to the trailer using the floor as a “desk” for my laptop. With my back turned, I heard something in the forest, like twigs on the ground being stepped on. I quietly turned around to find the same mama bear we’d seen earlier at our campground, walking behind me on the asphalt. We saw each other, but as she continued walking, I wondered where those cubs were. They were following parallel to her in the forest which was the noise I had heard earlier I guess. She just continued on without stopping as if on a mission, with the little guys not following too far behind. Then off into the forest they went. What a treat to be able to watch these amazing animals up close.
About an hour later, Jeff and Sadie made it back with not one, but two floor jacks. He wasn’t sure exactly what size he was going to need,
so rented two just in case. Smart! You’d think my hubby has done this before. With all the thought that went into the process, everything went smoothly once he had the jack in place. He even went so far as to find out what the torque specification was for installing the bolts on the new piece (super important when you consider how much weight these things are supporting).
Just as Jeff got everything put back together, the ranger came by to see if everything was o.k. and to see if we needed anything. About 10 minutes later when Jeff was in the midst of the tire rotation, another guy, a fisherman, stopped by as well. Really nice guy from Windsor, CA. Hah, small world. He too, owns a Lance, but the truck camper version, so of course we had to exchange a few RV stories.
The tire rotation also went smoothly due to Jeff’s thoroughness in labeling which tires were going where…….fronts criss-cross to the back and the backs move directly forward of their position. The only thing he forgot to do on two instances was loosen the lug nuts a bit before ramping up the trailer (you need the weight on the tire to loosen them, otherwise the tire just spins). We wrapped things up around 6:00 p.m. to which we decided to only drive 30 minutes to Soldotna for the night. This will leave us with only an hour drive tomorrow to Homer (the most south we’ll be on the Alaska trip).
We had toured Soldatna just a few days prior but little did we know we’d be back to stay for a night. The Swiftwater Campground would offer a good night’s stay (right on the ……..River) and only $21/night. Can’t wait to finally end up in Homer, a town that we have been dying to see. But more than anything, we are grateful for being able to continue this little journey. Thankyou Jeffrey for being my amazing fix-it guy and wonderful hubby! After all the build-up, we are finally getting this show back on the road.