Big Bend – Day 1 Continued..

So being someone who doesn’t like writing, this one definitely got away from me (verbal diarrhea of the typing type) so the short of it is, it took 3 guys a plethora of tools and a couple of hours to change one tyre. Feel free to read the full story below and get a good chuckle out of my own misfortune, or skip to the pictures from later in the day.

So fed, showered and a cup of coffee in me, I’m ready to tackle this misshapen tyre… Issue one, I don’t have a Tyre Iron, so I grab out my toolbox and run through my ring spanners and find one that fits, slide it on as far as I can and give it a good yank.. the spanner just slides straight off, I try a couple more times but can’t get any purchase on the nut. By this time the older guy in the RV next door had noticed while he was out walking his dogs and asked if I needed a hand, so I took him up on his offer and asked if he maybe had a socket set or tyre iron. He walks me over to his mid range RV that looks pretty new and opens up one of the lower doors (like you would find on a coach bus) and there sitting in the lower cargo hold is a set of old metal tool draws that wouldn’t have been out of place in my granddads garage. He pulls them out and starts rummaging through, off to a good start he hands me a decent sized breaker bar, but then falls short on the sockets, I try a couple but they were all too small. We were nearly about to give up, then I spot a socket that looks about the right size we pull it out, its a spark plug socket, but look to be about the right size. So I take it over to the van and it fits, but being a spark plug socket it only had about 5mm of socket then  a rubber insert that would usually hold the top of the spark plug , next issue the square hole for the attachment to the spanner was too small for the breaker bar so he gives me the mid sized ratchet spanner that fits and off I go to try again, no luck, there was no chance I was moving those nuts with that little leverage, then over wanders the old guy, “I have an idea, you could use this for more leverage” and proceeds to hand me a large ring spanner, so I slide the ring over the handle of the ratchet spanner (in essence giving more handle/leverage), then start to yank on the ring spanner, but I instantly feel allot of flex in the ratchet, so i politely hand it back to him “I think it’s going to break the ratchet”. Back to the drawing board, the old guy goes back to his tool draws and keep rummaging, I start spraying the nuts with more WD40, in hope they will loosen up. Shortly later the old guy comes back, hands the spanners back to me and says “may as well try braking them”. So I give it a go, the ratchet spanner holds up, but being a spark plug socket with not much surface area it also slides right off all but one nut which I manage to crack.. 1 down 4 to go.

Getting nowhere fast I decided to wander down to the shop and ask if maybe they had a trye iron to which they did, only a single size one but was worth a shot. So armed with the tyre iron I head back to my van and give it another go, success it fits over….. but not very far, the outside of the iron hits the rim so it can’t slide very far onto the nut. Nether the less I give it a go, no luck it again slides off, by this point the ends of the nuts are staring to round and deform slightly. Not ready to give up I try desperately to hammer the iron further on with my hand, seeing what I was trying to do the old guy scurries off to grab me a hammer. Now armed with a hammer I go to work again, now managing to get 4 of 5 loose, but the last one doesn’t want to budge, its end now quite deformed, there was no chance I was getting it off with my current array of tools. They guy at the shop had mentioned he could get his daughter to bring his 4-way tyre iron from home (which was just down the road) I didn’t want to him to have to do that for obvious reasons, but it looked like it was my only option. So I wander back, he calls his daughter and I hear him talking his daughter through where to find it etc. then a few minutes late she arrives with the tool. I take it back to the van with all of my fingers and toes crossed, slide it over the last nut, I fits and slides all the way in, I excitedly yank on the crossbar and it cracks!!! all nuts loose (probably what the old guy was thinking about me 2h from anywhere and no tools to take off a wheel).

The next challenge was jacking the car up… I had bought a hydraulic jack because I hadn’t seen a jack in the van (probably would’ve been smart to get an iron too…) but of coarse when the tyre is flat the jack doesn’t fit under the axle and doesn’t have enough height when I used the leaf spring attachment at the top of the axle so armed with a small flat-ish rock I manage to get the tyre off the ground and wheel off the car…. but of coarse the fully inflated spare doesn’t fit back on, so I had no other option but to deflate my spare wheel to fit it back on (there was a gas station at the store with air). So the spare is now on the car and staying round… for now.


With all the fluffing around getting the tyre back on,t he heat of the day had now set in (I’m in the desert) and I was already hot and sweaty enough from getting the tyre change so I decided to hang around the wifi a bit longer and get some work done on my computer before heading to Chisos basin. On the way I thought I should try to do some sightseeing so checked out the Rio Grande lookout and then drove down the dirt road to the hot springs trail, but decided not to do it as it was getting later and I still had a 45min drive to the Basin.

Rio Grande Flood Plains
Overlooking the Rio Grande flood plains, the mountains in the distance are in Mexico
Trail to Hot springs
On the dirt track to the hot springs trail.

Driving into to the Chisos Basin was amazing, on the way up to the mountains it was like Jurassic Park, then once I passed through the ridge of the mountains and the basin opened up below me, it reminded me of the end of the Land Before time movie where the finally make it to the Great Valley. I got to the camp ground and quickly set up camp, made some dinner taking in the amazing views, watched some Orphan black and then called it a pretty early night.

Drive in Chisos Basin
Drive in to Chisos basin
Dinner With a View
Dinner With a View



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