Saturday, February 13, 2016

Day 26: Victor via Phelp’s Lake, car issues, and really big, black dog.

We started the car and drove down the dirt road when the “low tire pressure” gauge light went on in the car. 

Dammit.

We drove to a gas station and found that the right front was low but not crazy so, and I added air into the tire with hopes that it last past a morning hike.  We continued down Moose-Wilson Road to the Laurence Rockefeller Center and prepared for our ranger-led hike to Phelp’s Lake.  Ranger-led were going to be the norm for the Grand Tetons and Glacier because my wife is terrified of bears.  This creates slow-going trails that don’t usually travel long distances but offer plenty in terms of information. 

The ranger was a seasonal intern who was a college student from Las Crucas, New Mexico.  The hike was only a total of three miles, and the information was primarily history  (John Rockefeller Jr was amazing) and conservation related.  It was a really nice hike except that it took a long, long time to go a mile and a half.  Then why the guide?  A sow and cub were in the area and we liked the idea of the ranger guiding us along.  We walked back to the car, satisfied but desiring more.   

When we got in the car to continue our trek, the tire pressure warning came on again.  We needed to get it looked at.  We headed to Jackson. 

Big O took us in pretty quick and they seemed packed.  We only waited about 40 minutes or so for our tire issue to be fixed and in that time I convinced my wife that the scraping sound I was hearing should be looked at before we made our push into the eastern end of Glacier National Park.  The tire was patched.  The culprit was a small piece of sheet metal.  Then we headed over to Teton Subaru.  It was around 2:30 by this time and we described our situation; we were on a long road trip, there was a sound that was odd, it shouldn’t happen in a 2015 vehicle.  They agreed and the a technician took it out for a test drive.  My wife called Subaru and we got our warranty straightened out.  Our warranty paid for rental car and hotel (if necessary) on a trip so the only question was what was wrong and how do we fix it.  The technician came back from the test drive and said he’d heard nothing.  At this point I was quite annoyed but they put the car up on the lifts, a man in the drivers seat pressed the gas, and as the wheels turned a technician immediately snapped his head toward the driver rear tire.  The man put something akin to a stethoscope on the wheel assembly and immediately announced, “Wheel bearing.”

At this point Teton Motors and Subaru became awesome.  The service department didn’t have a wheel bearing there (who would have a bearing for a 2015) but had it overnighted from Colorado, and they would begin work on it in tomorrow morning.  Subaru said that they would pay for the overnight shipping cost, the part (covered under warranty), and the rental car if the service was going to take long tomorrow.  The only problem was if the part would arrive in time.

We headed back over the pass to Victor (the technician said driving the car was fine) and decided to take a walk up the dirt road the lodge was on to a series of trails that ran around Moose Creek.  Once again a mother black bear and a cub had been sighted in the area about four days ago but we felt secure in that there were homes on the road, some traffic, and bear spray in our hands.  We weren’t even considering really running into a bear until we walked about a half mile down the road and my wife pointed about 30 yards ahead proclaiming “Hey, that’s a really big black dog.”  The black bear seemed to be munching on a bush on the left side of the road when it looked up at us and bolted across the road into the brush.  We walked back down the opposite direction to get some mileage in and eventually back to the cabin; my wife shaken up and I elated that we had our first bear encounter.            

We’ll be at Teton Motors at 7:30 tomorrow with bells on, and hopefully we can get the car fixed and get some hiking in as well.

Trails hiked:  Phelps Lake, cabin road

Miles hiked:  4.25

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