It was a little warm so I was dozing off when Chris said ‘Is that smoke coming from our wheels? Can you look out your window and see anything?” So I peered out and saw nothing on my side….Chris quickly pulled over at an intersection and hopped out. There was smoke coming from one of our rear trailer wheels. Chris grabbed the fire extinguisher but I couldn’t see a fire, he shouted something to me about getting a fire blanket from his side of the bed. Confused I looked for a fire blanket. I didn’t think we had a fire blanket. And if so, why was it by his bedside? Meanwhile Chris couldn’t get the fire extinguisher to work. He handed it to me to see if I could figure it out whilst he went to find the ‘fire bag’, not the fire blanket, AKA – the fireproof bag with all our important documents and passports in it !
Realizing the fire extinguisher was not going to work, it was dead, I went to grab Aviana out of the cab of the truck. I’ve seen how quickly trailers go up in flames from a tiny fire and spread fast to the truck. Chris luckily had a jerrycan of water he tried to douse the ‘fire’ with. Smoke still came from the wheel and he was out of water. In this time someone had pulled up behind us wanting to turn into the road they lived on that we were blocking. Chris has to move the tiny house onto the side road out of the way. The people stopped and offered us some of the water they had in the car – after about another 6 bottles of water, the smoke start to slow down.
The bearings on the wheel had come off somehow. It was lucky Chris spotted it when he did. If he’d been driving for any much longer the tire probably would have gone up in flames along with the tiny house.
Did I mention it was 90 something Fahrenheit ? !! It was a tad warm out and we were about 30 miles from our final destination campground at West Glacier. So close but so far!!
Chris got on the phone to our RV roadside assistance company Good Sam. They had trouble finding someone to tow us (after all it was Saturday at 2pm in the middle of nowhere) as well as trouble figuring out where to tow us to. Eventually they found someone who may be able to do it. They needed exact dimensions and pictures of the trailer to be certain they could tow us. They said they’d be there in an hour. The tow vehicle arrived at 6pm….Four hours after we stopped. Luckily we had our tiny house in one piece with us so had a toilet and food accessible whilst we waited.
The tow vehicle turned up and managed to get our tiny house onto the tow truck. Let’s just say it was nerve wracking. Only two of the four tires made it onto the bed of the tow truck. As we drove down the highway people were staring at us. Every time the tow vehicle turned a corner I held my breath!
The tow truck driver offered to let us stay on his land as his son would be able to do the repairs in his garage that Tuesday. He even gave us electricity and water hookups and offered us access to his pool. This was going to be a better plan than being towed to our campsite then worrying about towing it to a mechanic later in the week. We would then be paying out of pocket to tow it again rather than being covered under our roadside assistance. By the time we had set up it was 8.15pm and managed to get Aviana into bed by 9pm.
So here we are about 30 miles from Glacier National Park, waiting for our tiny house to be fixed. We currently do not know how much damage was done and the extent of the repairs required, but the tiny house probably needs a whole new Axle. Yikes. $$$
By the way, before the tiny house left Virginia, Chris had the tires checked, aligned and the bearings repacked. It has been about 4000 miles since then. We suspect the garage we took it to did a shoddy job. There is also a chance the conditions we were driving in were a bit much. Considering that garage reversed into something and broke our rear stabilizer but flat out denied it (we literally drove it to the car park next door 100 m away when we noticed the damage) when Chris went back 10 mins later. We would never go back there again anyway.
In other news…we are waiting for an immigration officer to call us back regarding our case to remain in the US because our visas end in 2 weeks time. Hopefully we will have a plan for how we can legally stay in the country. So many things up in the air right now. Trying to stay positive!