Skip to main content
| Marian Johns | Trip Reports

2018 - Trip Report - Two Disasters + One

Two Disasters + One

by Marian Johns

It seems fate was plotting against us  only two – Yikes! I drove on very slowly – we were just not destined to join Bill Powell’s Hastings Cut Off trip (July 9-11). This, by the way, is the trail that  the Donner Party took.

Our problems all started when Neal, realizing that he no longer has the strength that he used to, knew that he would have trouble getting the lug nuts off if we ever had a flat tire because the tire shops tighten them so tight. So he loosened all of them a bit. You can see where this is headed, no doubt. A bit turned out to be way too much.

Disaster # One: Warning signs began when the truck started wandering. We were about 40 miles from Wendover, Nevada when the wandering became so severe I had to stop and see why. The fellow behind me also stopped and told me that the left rear wheel was wobbling. Closer inspection showed that four out of the six studs were broken and missing. That left only two – Yikes! I drove on for a couple of miles but soon realized I could never make it 40 miles.


It happened that just about then I passed a fire camp (several forest fires in the area), so I stopped and asked one of the fire fighters if he would call AAA for us because we didn’t have our cell phone (I broke our cell phone and had to leave home before the phone company sent me a new [free] one). One and a half hours later the tow truck arrived and hauled us into a repair shop in Wendover ($180).

We opted for in a cheap motel ($50) right next to the repair shop that night instead of the camper because it was so hot. I called Bill (with another borrowed phone and arranged to meet the group in Wells, Nevada, 50 miles west of Wendover, the next night.

The next morning the repair shop replaced all of the studs and lug nuts in the left rear wheel ($165), tightened the lug nuts on all the other wheels and sent us on our way.

Disaster # Two: I was just at the exit for Wells when there was a sudden tremendous BANG! The right rear wheel had come completely off!! All 6 studs were broken and missing. I started to walk into town and got picked up by some helpful locals who took me to a tire/ wheel shop there in Wells. They, in turn, took me to a AAA towing company. AAA towed us on into town and deposited us at the tire/wheel shop. They were super nice folks, but unfortunately they 

didn’t have enough studs so we had to wait till the next morning because the studs had to be ordered from Salt Lake City. The next morning the new studs arrived from SLC and were replaced ($161). By then, all we wanted to do was tuck our tails and head for home. We arrived home Wednesday evening exhausted, but with all four wheels still attached.

One more disaster: Broken studs weren’t the end of our problems. Upon our arrival home we were greeted by our Subaru that now has a smashed front bumper and two smashed front fenders, a dented hood and a dented passenger door. During our absence, our handyman “borrowed” it (without our permission). He is now quite busy working to pay off the repairs.

A few days later we got a call from Bob Jacoby who wanted to know if we had gotten home alright. He also told us they had had problems too. Bill’s Cherokee’s radiator blew up and they spent two days repairing it. ~ Marian