This weekend we went to visit the Sharon’s Family Ranch. This ranch has been a favorite retreat for their family since the 70’s and it holds a lot of special memories from her Dad before he passed away from cancer many years ago. Rough location is 14 miles from the Nevada border on old Highway 30 in the Northwestern corner of UT about mile marker 14. (Rough temperature for this entire narrative was between 95 -100 degrees)
A lot of work has been put into the ranch over the last few years and the annual family reunion was held there. We had a great load of fun and it was a great time.
The family/local legend speaks of a lost Spanish silver mine that is in the vicinity of the Ranch. Throughout the years they have had a history of vehicle issues which has to come to be affectionately known as Payello’s Curse (the old Spanish miner’s family name). Believing that this was just Lore Family silliness I decided to debunk this myth and drive our 2007 Kia Sedona up to the ranch for our vacation.
On the way down from the Ranch about 4pm on Saturday afternoon about 4 miles from the main highway I must have hit a rock. The rock resulted in 2 blown tires at once. The ranch is located about 4 hours from Salt Lake City.
When I got the flats I started to change to the 1 spare I had. There was about 12 vehicles left up at the base camp 4 miles away but none had a spare to share that might fit our car. As a result I decided to take my two tires into town and try to find repair relief.
Once getting into cell reception and getting a hold of the roadside service they decided that since they couldn’t locate me on a map that I better find my own tow truck..
Having finally found a tow service (Snowville, UT for those that are interested) I was beginning to have hope. After describing the location of my vehicle to the tow truck driver his response was “How many flats am I going to get coming out to your car ?”
The conversation went down-hill from there and he ended up inviting me to drop in the Ranch House Dinner and discuss the tow with him in person. He got off the phone mumbling something about hoping for a roll-over so he wouldn’t be there.
I took this as a not interested and kept riding with my tires to the next town. Tremonton did have a tire shop that would open for me but they wanted to charge me $115 an hour plus a $115 call-out fee on top of the price of the tires. I was desperate but not that desperate.
Traveling further along I-84 / I-15 now being almost 10pm I decided that my best bet Sunday morning would be Ogden. I managed to get a reservation at a Hilton in Ogden with just hotel points. As I made the reservation I was thinking to myself there is not a Hilton in Ogden but I guess we’ll go to this address and see what happens.
There is a Hilton in Ogden it just opened on Friday night. So I showed up on the doorstep of this brand spanking new hotel with 3 days of dirt and two tires asking for a room. At the suggestion I roll the tires up to my room they found me a place to keep them.
Sharon and the kids had hitched a ride with another brother and made it to the hotel about midnight. As we showered and prepared for bed for some reason the power went on the fritz in the hotel room and only one outlet would work with one lamp. Exhausted and defeated we went to sleep.
The next morning one of Sharon’s sisters loaned us their Corolla to run around town and get tires fixed. I managed to get the tires replaced at Costco
Thinking about how hot and tired I was going to be I used this as an excuse to purchase a nice floor jack. It was Costco of course so they only had the huge professional one so I decided to just bite the bullet and I now own a 3.5 ton Hydraulic floor jack.
With my tires repaired and my new jack crammed into the Corolla I went to get Sharon and the kids from the hotel and drop them at a sisters house while I went with the tires to Layton to help my brother in law unload his SUV and trailer so that we could drive back out to the Ranch.
About a ½ mile from my destination the Corolla I was driving lost power and completely died. I was then left walking a half mile to my brother in laws house since I did not want to disturb his nap which was needed as part of the tire replacement plan. We towed the car to his house for further research but the prognosis is not good.
After getting the SUV loaded up with jack and tires we picked up Sharon and the kids and headed back out to the ranch sun night. Once we arrived my brother in law coupled with my awesome new jack had the tires on and ready to go in about 10 minutes further cementing the strength I have in computers not auto repair (yes I can change a tire but no I can’t make it look easy).
Having to be back to work by Tuesday we were determined to make it Boise that night. We left the Ranch about 7pm and hit Boise about 12:30AM. We slept for a couple of hours and got back on the road Monday morning (so much for my vacation from vacation day I had built in as the original plan was to drive home on Sunday) for the 12 hour drive to Olympia from Boise.
We stopped in the Columbia River Gorge in a city called The Dalles (roughly 1.5 hours from Portland Oregon) for a final refuel and snack stack up for the last leg of the drive. After grabbing some food I noticed a funny noise coming from the car which turns out upon investigation was a screw in another tire (not one of the new ones). The tire was leaking slowly so I frantically drove around until I found a tire shop and was able to pull in before the tire ran out of air. Of course the screw was in the sidewall so they couldn’t repair the tire and I ended up buying a used $40 tire from them to get us home on.
We finally arrived home safely on Monday night about 7pm a day later than planned and about $500 poorer in tires and additional expenses.
This is one of those times where it is really nice for Sharon to be from a family of 12. All of my brother/sister in laws were tremendous help and we had a great time even though it was a very long trip.
While I am not a believer in curses I may have to buy into this one. For those interested, this is a fairly unspectacular story in comparison to many of the stories of what have happened to vehicles over the years at the Ranch including, driving a car in reverse for 30 miles, 7 completely abandoned vehicles that are still there, and roughly 15 vehicles that have either had significant problems or lost tires and gas in attempts to help other stranded vehicles. Ask Sharon and anyone of her siblings and they can all tell you additional stories.