Friday, September 4, 2009

Yarnell Hill

Well I got to know Yarnell Hill up close and personal... by blowing a transmission on it! First thing when the Ford sold, we were planning to get a new tranny for the Dodge, Randy knew it was coming... but didn't expect it this fast!

It was a comedy of errors today anyway... just getting ready to start out on my weekend and found a flat on the trailer...and the spare was bad too! So Randy was off to town to repair tires while I fretted and fumed and finished packing.

Two hours after I had planned to leave I was finally rolling... for about an hour. Then comes the breakdown on Yarnell Hill.

For those of you not familiar with this area, Yarnell Hill is HUGE and STEEP and full of windy curves... not fun to go up OR down really... but the only bad part of a much nicer drive to Prescott than taking I-17 with all the traffic. And thank God I didn't this weekend, to break down on the highway would have been so much worse!

And... there is no cell phone service! And a huge storm was rolling through...

Anyway it took half an hour before anyone would even stop... a nice woman offered to drive me to the top of the hill where my phone would work, but I could not leave the horses and dogs on the side of the road... she did not want to leave me alone but I talked her into driving on up and calling Randy from the top of the hill. Long long long story short, he finally arrived, took a look at the truck, started it up, put it in drive and NOTHING. So we called his brother Bill and dad Bruce, where our Ford is sitting for sale, and Bill headed our way with the Ford while Bruce, whose truck does NOT have a gooseneck hitch, went to the house to get the flatbed so they could get the Dodge back home.

With the holiday Bill had to wait in line at the gas station half an hour bfore he could get fuel... Bruce did manage to convince our dogs that he was allowed in the gate even though we weren't home... and 5 hours after breaking down, came the big dilemma: it is a hard and fast rule that you NEVER unhook your trailer from the truck with the horses still in it... especially on a hill! But we had no choice, as I was hauling a horse for a friend that does not load in the dark. And since it was now dark, there was no unloading her... (Not their fault, this mare was in a bad trailer accident long ago, broke her tail so she can't swish flies or lift it to potty even! And they have done really well with getting her back to loading in the daylight! Still working on that dark thing though...)

With all wheels chocked and a bale of hay at the back of the trailer, we nosed Randy's Jeep up against the bale of hay as an extra precaution to hold the trailer in place and stomped on that parking brake. Got the Ford hooked to a tow rope on the Dodge and, praying all the while, cranked off the trailer... as soon as it was off the ball, the Dodge was towed out from under it far enough up the hill to get the Ford back in, unhooked the Ford and backed it in under the trailer and cranked the trailer back down. Longest 5 minutes of my life... especially when one of the horses decided to protest such a long time standing in the trailer by pawing and stomping! I had visions of the trailer going over the cliff with the horses in it... but the chocks and the Jeep held firm.

The guys sent me on my way as soon as we were hooked up... I called Randy when I got to Prescott and they were still trying to load the Dodge on the trailer... they had towed it with the Jeep on up the hill so they could load it on flat land - thank God! Because they broke 4 tow straps trying to load it...

Me, I said "uh huh" and uh huh" and hung up and went to bed!


WhiteStone said...

Pretty Scarey!

Mikey said...

Holy smokes woman! That is the worst place in the world to break down. I read that whole thing going OMG OMG. I'm so glad you're safe, but wow. That's totally insane! Hope you feel better soon!