Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Mirrors. Use Them.

As I was driving through Oberlin, KS today, I saw a flatbed pickup pulling a gooseneck trailer pull out from one of the little truck stop/convenience stores there. So, I figured I'd be catching him, and sure enough, I did.

As I got closer I could see it was a single wheel double axle trailer - it wasn't tandem wheeled. From the looks of it, it probably should have, since it had been rode hard and put away wet about six hundred too many times. At any rate, as I got even closer, it seemed that the left rear wheel was leaning inward at the top. Then smoke started rolling out in little streams. I could see the driver's face in the mirror, so all it would take would be for him to actually look and he could have seen it as well.

Nope, wasn't happening. The wheel started to develop a sharper list, then suddenly the grease cap blew off in a shower of flame, sparks and chunks. I note at this time that the sound, could I have heard it, would have seemed like an M-80 being set off in a dryer full of gravel running full steam.

Which Mr. Oblivious failed to see. So, I slightly pulled out into the other lane and started honking, waving at him and pointing at the trailer. I guess he couldn't hear me honk with my AIR HORNS. And of course, he completely ignored the large truck with the large load hanging off his bumper.

The wheel was listing over even more - hell, he could have seen the bottom sticking out HAD HE JUST LOOKED, but, alas, it was not to be.

I determined that the worst place for me was right where I was, considering I was probably about to have a loose wheel in my face. I was just hopin' and prayin' that it didn't come off into oncoming traffic - no telling where it would go or how much damage it would cause. So, I backed off quite a bit.

When the cap blew, it was because the outer bearing blew. I saw fire and sparks bellow from the hub one more time. That was the inner bearing flying completely apart. Several hundred yards later, the remnant of the hub let go from the now ruined axle stub, and the wheel was ejected.

I've seen these before, and usually the wheel doesn't just roll like you think it might. No, it's like when you bounce a tire out of the back of your pickup - it's gonna be a wild ride. It finally settled down right on the zipper as I went by - I was afraid I'd run over the damn thing, but I didn't.

Meanwhile, Our Genius kept on driving. The brake assembly wasn't dragging the ground - the rest of the suspension kept it up. Anyways, he finally did notice something was wrong and pulled over. The shoulder was muddy, and I couldn't go around him to the left because of oncoming traffic. I about had to stop.

I just drove on by. Stupid sonofabitch wasn't gonna get any help from me if he didn't have any more sense than that.


drjim said...

Totally oblivious to everything!

Glad you got through unscathed, Jeff!

Anonymous said...

Life, full of entertainment