As we drove south from Whitehorse we went through Watson Lake, Yukon, and then said goodbye to Watson Lake. We drove about an hour and heard a large bang! It scared Sam so bad he ran from the back of the motorhome to the front in 3 leaps. I pulled over and Rian jumped out, looking back along our path I immediately noticed a 500 yard debris field. Nothing wrong on the passenger side... but on the driver's side there was a shredded tire and the compartment behind the tire was ripped apart and bent all out of shape. Of course, that happens to be the compartment where you "dump" the motorhome.
We got the kids out to play on the side of the road and hoped that someone would pull over. We weren't really thinking about how exactly someone could help us, just that maybe someone could give us a lift to the next town, or at least call a tow truck for us at the next town. To our surprise, no one pulled over. I understand big rigs and rv's not being able to stop in time but some of the smaller vehicles? Looking back, there's not much anyone could have done. However, it's nice to just have more people to talk over options or offer suggestions. We now always try to stop and see if a pulled over vehicle needs help. It really is a courtesy, that apparently is not as common as I had thought. Rian walked up the road a bit picking up tire and compartment pieces so they didn't cause an accident and I watched the kids while I thought over our very limited options.
We decided to turn around and make our way back to Watson Lake. Hopefully they had a tire and shop there that could help. If not, someone from Whitehorse could assist us. The inner tire on that side was still intact so we loaded up, turned around and started towards Watson Lake. We were about an hour out, but it took us three and a half hours to get back into town. We didn't want to risk damaging the good tire, or the rim of the shredded tire so we took our time. It was painfully slow.
We finally pulled into Bee Jay's Services in Watson Lake to see if they could help. They had one tire that would fit our motorhome. It was extremely well used, completely bald and should have been scrapped long ago but it was the only one in town and it could be ours for $90. The guys at the shop were just leaving for lunch but would come back a bit early to put it on for us. While we waited for that to all happen we walked down the street a little ways to a lake we could see behind the shop to throw rocks, get our feet wet and waste some time.
An hour and a half later we were on our way again, this time with a warning to get new tires on the back of our motorhome as soon as possible: the "new" tire wouldn't last long and the one beside it was looking pretty bad as well. We parked near a little creek for the night a few hours down the road but had to change spot forty-five minutes later as we were attacked by hordes of mosquitoes. They had found a small hole in the back bedroom to get in. Our kids were up with swords and fly-swaters trying to help us fight off the assault.
Late the next morning we arrived in Fort Nelson, BC. We found a tire shop that had two new tires for us. It would cost $175 each to buy them and have them put on our motorhome. Rian stayed with the motorhome at the shop to help however he could and the kids and I went for a walk. We had seen a park up the street that we thought we would check out. We found a great little park called the Art Fraser Memorial Park for the kids to play at for a few hours. It had an area with swings, climbing toys, sandboxes and monkey bar; some ball diamonds, tennis courts and volleyball courts and a great splash park. There was also plenty of trees to offer shady areas and many picnic tables for people to use. The kids had a blast running and playing all over. This is a place I could see us stopping at in the future just to take a break and burn some energy on future road trips.
We loaded up our wet and tired kids and headed out as soon as our new tires were on. Again we had a warning, the tires on the other side of the motorhome looked okay to get down to Colorado, but probably not well enough to make it back up the highway again. We may even want to get them looked at in the next town.
We decided this time to take our chances and wait until Colorado Springs to buy more tires. Replacing almost all our motorhome times had not been in the budget for this road trip.
We were able to make it down and get new tires from an amazing little tire shop called La Sierra Tires. Doug Marsh was incredibly helpful and got us set with great new tires. This time it was $180 for both new tires and they are by far the best tires we have on our motorhome. We will be back to this tire shop the next time we are anywhere near Colorado Springs.
I think this time down had been one of our most eventful road trips, and one I would like to not repeat in the future. Upon hearing this story people often ask why we can't just buy a whole set of tires. Our only answer: Because you're in the North, that's why!