Sledding Trip 2023:
Me and my main riding chum for the last 20 yrs are both self employed in manufacturing in small businesses, and so what jobs or volumes that we have required of us at any time in space has a reflection on our riding schedule. We normally shoot for the week of or after New Years as that is usually the most quiet week, but it is not abnormal for at least one of us to put off a few days, a week, a month, or even not able to make it this year sometimes. (too often)
My chum thinks that we may have set a new record for "put-offs" this year as we prolly edited our departure date 2wice a week for a month. We have delayed much longer, but maybe not as many times...
So, one of the delays was that he found a 4 place trailer in Michigan somewhere that he wanted to drag out to Colorado with us. He has a 2nd house going up near Walsenburg, and for whatever reason, it was much cheaper and quicker to buy some of the supplies back here in Indiana and take out, then it was to buy them from the same box store out there. So bought this trailer to haul this stuff out there, and leave at the job site. But then when done there, he intended to drag the trailer to the other location in Colorado where we sled, and use it as a storage facility there, as the shipping container that he has there doesn't fit much, and it doesn't breath, and thus getting snow from sleds to vent out is a lesson in futility. (when not there for weeks/months at a time)
So, I needed to fix my trailer brakes if I was gunna drag a trailer out, so I ordered a new controller, hoping that I could throw money at the problem to fix and not need to throw time at it. Turns out that it needed the time, and not the controller. (curses - foiled again!)
Then I went to hook onto his trailer to make sure all worked, and we decided that the brakes on the trailer left much to be desired, but at least I was gitt'n signal to it. But I realized that the trailer was heavier than I expected, and I had a hitch actually break off here at home after dragging a trailer home from Colorado - via Wyoming one year. The thing had rusted away right at the rear face of the receiver, and while my current hitch wasn't all that old, I decided that I wanted to doo better, and besides, my ball was rated for 6K, and I guess that trailer to be all of that empty, so I bought a new solid hitch and 1.25" shank 2-5/16" ball, and now I have all the rating a fella could ever hope for!
But wait! New development! Our riding chum out there is in the market for a good used sled, but all he can find out there is around $12K used! So my chum here is always scouring for deals, and so he said that he would look around for him. Turns out that he found a sled halfway between us (15 mile from each) for $8700. So we picked that up as well. Fortunately I had an open space on the deck of the truck yet, so that all worked out too.
So we finally pulled out with newsed sled, heavily loaded rust bucket trailer with piss poor brakes, on Jan 31st I think, for our New Years trip. The very first corner that we came to after leaving his place - the trailer made awfull noises! We got out and gave it the once over, and couldn't find anything obvious, so I set my brake controller to zero and off we went, with full intentions to take the 4 lane most all the way so that the brakes weren't a big deal, but really, my truck didn't mind it back there at all, so ...
5 hours later, just after dark, we are in southern Illinois, and after hitting just one more bump, thing seemed to get bad somehow. Looking in the mirror I asked if that was (salt) dust or if that was smoke following us? It was decided that it appeared to be smoke, so we pulled off.
No pics, but when I walked back there, the third axle was adjacent to the front two axles. Both tires were blown, and I was currently engaged in burning flat spots on the carcasses. "Well aint this just special!"
Personally, I was ready to unhook, run home and unload my gooseneck and race back and winch it up on, and head back home aggin. My chum says "no", we're still heading west."
So we took the tires off of the 3rd axle, and we hooked two ratchet straps onto the loose side of the axle and we worked it back and forth about 90* untill we finally fatigued the sub-frame on the other side, and tossed the axle in the ditch. The sub-frame on the passenger side had collapsed completely and the tops of the tires were wearing on the floor of the trailer, so we jacked it up as best we could, and slipped those blown tires/rims up between the axles and the floor joists. The tires still rubbed, but not as bad....
GPS says 6 miles to next exit. So off we started at 4mph, hoping not to get the tires too hot from rubbing. We made it 3 miles on our first go! Not too shabby! We had plenty of spares (and only 2 axles) so we were in high cotton! Changed out the tire and started off aggin, but this time only aboot 2 mph. Tire was still up when we got off the exit, but it was still 2 miles of country road to "somewhere". We had winders down so that we could hear what was going on back there, but when we got to the "somewhere" we found that the one tire had gone flat, and that we were running on ONE tire on that side. and it was WAY overloaded and also rubbing a bit.
We backed it into a line=up of equipment at a fertilizer company, expecting that they wouldn't be needing that spot for a cpl months yet, left a note, and off we went, leaving a trailer with $40K in building supplies in someone else's lot.... This whole episode cost us 5 hours...
So then we make it to Colorado, and git to ride:
Here is our <83 yr old riding chum that we try to keep up with.
This day was the 2nd day of riding [in a row] for him after 4 yrs offline.
Topping out a 12,500' ridge. (Colorado)
This day we were 4 sleds, and me @ 56 was by far the baby of the bunch!
50 may be the new 40, but boy - there is still hope well beyond that!
Neither of us remember this pic, but it is me and apparently later this same day, apparently got stuck trying to stay outta the crick:
Then we stopped by the fertilizer plant during working hours on our way home.
So then last week my chum and another fella headed back out, planning on winching this 29' trailer up on his new 24' trailer, and continuing on out to the build site. He said that they did need to pull it forward a bit more yet for tongue weight, but they did make it the other 15 hours to their destination.
I really like having my flat bed truck and not having to deal with trailers - normally...
Word to the wise - don't buy 25 yr old skidoo trailers in Michigan and think that it is use-able....
That'll be my only riding this season.
Think Snow Eh!