24 September 2014

OMG, There Was An Explosion At The Canada / USA Border Today!

This day starts out pleasant enough ... La de da de dadeda ...

Autumn is now on it's way to a full colour explosion in our part of southern Ontario but it still needs a couple of weeks yet to reach full bloom. The leaves on our mixed forest property are at about 25% colour now and I imagine when we return will be closer to their peak. 

There is always some stress and a bit of controlled anticipation prior to each of our road trips and this one is no different ... we repair and pack gear, make lists and tick stuff off, shop for stuff, discuss possible itineraries ... it's all very exciting. We had hoped to get away a few days earlier but were unable then, to schedule necessary suspension work to install new heavy duty rv quality shock absorbers on the Ford. That's done now!

We plan on meeting up with some good friends who are also travelling in a truck camper. We'll meet them somewhere along the Blue Ridge Parkway. From there we'll all travel to Asheville, NC and camp at the Overland EXPO East gathering for a few days, take in the trade show, attend some of the presentations, listen to Q&A's, watch some film and hopefully gain some insight into the travel experiences of overlanders who often spend years or sometimes decades travelling the world by vehicle support ... should be an interesting group of folks! 

>>>> Fast forward 92.7 kilometres  to the Gananoque International Border Crossing  >>>>

La de da de dadeda ... dumb de dumbdedumb ... 

... as we set ourselves up in the Nexus line at the border. The crossing should be relatively easy, only a couple of vehicles ahead of us, a few quick questions about fruit, guns and booze and where are ya'll headed, roll the windows back up, put the sunglasses back on, fire up LOAF and pull out into the exit area ... and there ya' have it ......... KABOOM

WTF? I look back in the passenger side mirror as I'm pulling away and there's a huge cloud of smoke, or is that dust? Hold on, the truck is driving kinda funny and wobbly and I'm only doing 1 km / hr! What just happened?, we shouldn't have a height clearance issue, did I catch the roof, did a propane tank blow? Ahead of me, 3 officers are hastily coming our way, no weapons drawn yet, but I sense we may be in trouble. I get out of the truck, expecting to be thrown on the ground, spread-eagled with automatic weapons shoved into my back. I recognize there insignia now ... and some are heavily armoured and armed... big guns, big boots, big glasses and lotsa black. As I walk towards the Homeland Security and SWAT and Border Control officers I glance to the rear passenger side of the truck ... and there ya' really have it ........ a blown tire! C R A P

Seems when I moved right into the exit line, I caught the tires' sidewall on a very sharp corner of concrete curb, tore a 5" gash in the rubber and blew a big bunch of compressed air at the vehicle behind me and next to me and at the officer that had just permitted us entry into his country. I imagine that went over well ... stupid friggin' Canadians.

Move that truck to a secure area out of traffic flow. Can't drive too far on an alloy wheel that has a 4000# load on it. We limped about 20 feet and backed up next to some concrete dividers. Of course we were being watched all the time ... NOPE, not by the officers ... by all the tourists waiting in line and crossing over. We were providing free entertainment.

I think everyone felt a little sorry for us after we all figured out what had happened. One of the border officers even volunteered that he had done the same thing himself a few days earlier ... all to make me feel a little less stupid I am sure. We were offered coffee and a comfortable place to wait for roadside assistance, Will's Wreckers did a great job swapping out the tires and the driver put us onto a tire shop in Watertown. 

We had planned on replacing all tires in the spring of next year ... they were at 7/32". So, we went ahead and purchased 4 new, 275/70R/18, E load rated, A/T Bridgestones and retained the original Toyo spare as a 'still fresh' spare. Not the tires I wanted, but they were the best available and we were in somewhat of a jam.

Not the day we had planned, but, Hey! ... all part of the adventure.

Sooooo ..... there ya' have it!

Crusty ... reporting!

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TEAM: LOAF, Crumby, Wry & Crusty