We were thrown from the right lane across the passing lane and onto the sloped rock shoulder of the median. Marvin held the drift as the bed of the truck lost traction, sliding out to the left and down the hill at near 70mph. I tensed, gripping the armrest. Marvin, both hands on the wheel keeping the truck half on and half off the blacktop, said, "hold on" as polished steel front bumper ate a shoulder marker; its gray metal body and small white square reflective head disappearing under the truck with a thunk.
We lived a lifetime in that moment. The heavy rumble of the ruined tire, rocks pounding, thrown away and up into the undercarrage: chaos which seemed a stark contrast to the clear bright beauty of the morning seen through the windshield. In moments like this they say that your life flashes before your eyes. I cannot say that was the case in this instance. In fact, I am a little embarrassed and slightly concerned to tell you that the only thought that I can clearly remember thinking as we walked that gravitational and frictional tightrope was "this is going to make us late for fishing."
The tires still in contact with the pavement caught and the vehicle straightened out with a wobbly snap. Marvin steered the truck back across the lanes to the right shoulder and brought us to a stop where we surveyed the damage and swapped the tire with the spare in a rush; partly still twitchy as the last adrenaline was processed from out bodies, and partly because the backhaul up Marble Canyon left at 2:30, and our soft time cushion was diminishing by the minute. The job done, and with a quick still-alive-high-five, we continued out journey north with slightly raised levels of appreciation for just about everything. I ate the remainder of my subway sandwich as we talked loudly. It was abnormally delicious.
Discount tire in Flagstaf spit us out just in time to make it to the boat ramp at Lees Ferry as the CRD guide boats were loading people for backhaul. All was well and good.
Here are photos.
|People look cooler touching fish while wearing hats. Just sayin.|
|Buffalo wings at Vermillion Cliffs Lodge, after days of eating dehydrated food, are awe inspiring.|
-Alex who likes a little excitement now and again.