In today's post, I briefly visit (and very briefly manage to enjoy) one of the most beautiful sections of the Rocky Mountains, before tragedy (partially self-inflicted) strikes and I have no choice but to change my plans.
The setting is Grand Teton National Park, and in the morning when I set out, them Tetons were indeed grand and spectacular...
Grand Teton National Park is the sort of place that fully justifies a song like "America the Beautiful."
Purple mountain majesties? We got it.
Amber waves of grain? Yeah, them too.
Just awe-inspiring beauty all around? Uh-huh.
Above the fruited plaiiiiiiiiiiiin. (Okay, we can stop now!)
Essentially, as I was meandering through the park I was just so excited to be here. Sad to have said goodbye to Yellowstone, but psyched to be in the mountains.
And since I had two nights here, I was going to take my time, and explore and enjoy the area. Starting from the Two Oceans trailhead, where I wanted to embark on a long hike, tackling a few sections of a few different trails...
It was on the way to the Two Oceans Trailhead that I bumped a rock at the wrong angle, and the sounds and such my car were making immediately told me that something was amiss. I tore the sidewall of my front right tire.
Since I was closer to the trailhead than anywhere else to stop, and since I wasn't 100% sure I had popped my tire (though I became increasingly so) I continued to the trailhead and pulled up next to some picnic tables, and started to unload the junk from my trunk. (And gosh, I really intended for that box of Rick Astley records to be removed once.)
A really kind gentlemen helped me get straightened out, and it was minimal effort to get the spare tire on... well, once I figured out where the jack, etc. were stored. They were in a side panel in the fender encased in a block of styrofoam. Naively, I had assumed they would be located in the compartment with the spare. Ah well.
Thus straightened out, the gentlemen encouraged me to head out on my hike anyway, as there were service centers nearby within the park. I took an abbreviated hike...
Making The Most Of Things
|Name||Two Ocean trail|
|Location||Grand Teton National Park|
|Check out the trails index for information on more trails!|
...and then drove into town.
I stopped at one of the park's "auto-repair" shops, but beyond providing limited services for those with basic mechanical needs, their services were of no use to me.
I did, however, briefly have enough cell phone service that I could call my parents and a number of tire shops in Jackson, WY and beyond. Phone call after phone call, I was eventually told that my 225/45R18 tires were such an unusual size that they'd need to be special ordered, which would take quite a long time.
My best shots seemed to be an independent tire seller just across the border in Idaho, who claimed that he would have a used tire of the right shape and size around, or the Volkswagen Dealership in Idaho Falls, who seemed quite busy, and who had promised to call me back.
I meanwhile, was not particularly willing to wait. Driving around on a skinny spacesaver was more perilous than a full-size tire, and I knew I would be truly screwed if I was to pop a second tire somewhere.
A few tire shops (who seemed to have mostly positive reviews on the Cougar) failed to answer the phone. But, since they were a close enough drive, I hit up Jackson to annoy them in person. I also needed to double-check that my popped tire wasn't patchable.
I had spun it around a bit, but I struggled to find the actual puncture, before burying it back underneath my stack of Rick Astley records. So, I desparately hoped that the puncture wasn't from the sidewall, so I could get it fixed.
Visiting tire shops in person was no better than calling them. I was out of luck everywhere.
I entered one garage through the back (whoops!) and one of the mechanics was more than happy to look at my tire to see whether it was patchable. Out went all of my worldly possessions, keyboard and all to the shop floor!
There I stood in line behind someone who had some sort of long, dull question, before I finally got to ascertain that, no, they had no tires for good ol 225/45R18. I ran back round the back, and re-packed my boxes into my vehicle from the shop floor -- Rick Astley was safe and sound.
My next stop was the Wendy's drive through. I was hungry, and tired. I called the Idaho Falls Volkswagen Dealer, as they hadn't gotten back to me. Apparently, I got them just after all of their mechanics had gone home, so I had no idea about tire scheduling.
Meanwhile, my independent Idaho used tire guy seemed to have gone AWOL. All I got was a voicemail box, and my messages expressing sincere interest seemingly went into the void.
I called my parents, dejected, while eating two baconators.
Because I left my tent set up at the Colter Bay Campground, where I had a reservation for multiple nights, I had to drive all the way back up there.
Fortunately, clouds have silver linings, and days have sunsets, so I stopped to appreciate the beauty and some nearby buffalo once more as I headed north.
The next day, I would have no choice but to leave the park, and do a long, long drive on a skinny, skinny tire.
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