Two flat tires, miles from nowhere, no cell service, and no one around to help. We were stranded.
|A Flat tire in the backcountry, no big deal if you have a spare.|
|Two flat tires in the backcountry – Now thats a slight problem.|
Had I been fully prepared I probably could of handled the situation. If I had a tire plug kit and a DC powered air pump there would be no problem. I had in fact been somewhat prepared in the past. I had bought a simple plug kit and thrown it under the passenger seat and I used to keep a bicycle foot pump in the back. I went to look for the plug kit, but half of it was missing, and the I had taken the pump out more than a year ago. As the situation was, I was really stuck.
We were stuck, but we weren’t in any real danger. We had several days worth of food and water, and where loaded to the brim with camping gear. Someone would be along eventually or I could hike out to get help while my family set up camp. But I wasn’t ready to do that yet.
I once saw this Mythbusters where they tested flat tire myths. One myth was about a guy who had a flat and stuffed his tire full of hay. As I remember the show, they tested it and found that it actually worked pretty well. I thought it was worth a try so I got the girls out of the car and had them start cutting pine needles. I cut a slit in the sidewall of one of the flats and began stuffing it full of pine needles. It was going pretty well and I was beginning to believe it was actually going to work when Kevin pulled up.
|I didn’t know if my little knife could cut through the sidewall. It was a lot easier than I had thought.|
|I had to make a pretty good sized slit to make enough room for the pine needles.|
|I shoved pine needles into the tire for a good hour or more.|
We had met Kevin the night before out at Point Sublime on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. That very morning Kevin and I watched the Sun rise as it painted light on the canyon walls. Both of us had plans to go see Fire Point, another remote point in Grand Canyon National Park. It was leaving Fire Point when I had the flats. I knew there was a possibility that Kevin would come out the same way, but there was no way to be certain. When I saw him pull up, I was very thankful.
|Kevin to the Rescue|
|Fire Point – Grand Canyon National Park|
I told him I had been stuffing pine needles into my tire for the past hour or so. He seemed very intrigued by the idea. He, on the other hand, was prepared with an intact plug kit and DC air pump. I was a little disappointed. I really wanted to see if the the pine needles would work. But I knew I needed to use the plug kit instead. With Kevin’s help I had the tire plugged in no time. We poured soapy water over the tire to check for other leaks. Sure enough there was one more. We plugged that one two and were ready to go.
|Plugging a tire with Kevin’s help|
|Plugging the one tire I didn’t cut a slit into.|
Kevin followed me out to make sure we didn’t have any problems. The Plugs held all the way to Kanap Utah where I had two new tires put on and had to do a little explaining why one was full of pine needles. On the way home I picked up an air pump and plug kit, which means I’ll probably never get the chance to try pine needles ever again. Oh well. If you ever try it. I would like to hear about it.
|My tire at a tire shop in Kanap UT. The guys there were intrigued by the idea and through it would have worked. Sigh|
This whole ordeal taught me you can never be too prepared. As I said before, we were never in any real danger, but had the circumstances been a little different, we could have been. It just goes to show you should never venture beyond what your abilities or equipment can handle. I owe Kevin a huge thank you. Resources:
Maps and Books I used while visiting the Grand Canyon. Purchase them through the links below to support MyLifeOutdoors.
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