Well, the good news is that we’ve made it to Colorado. The bad news is that on our way down Raton Pass, into Trinidad, we encountered a rock slide in progress.
Coming over the pass, we encountered a very severe thunderstorm, with hail, and so much rain that there was basically standing water on a road that slopes down from a mountain pass. Somewhere between mile marker 6 and 7, I caught movement out of the corner of my eye, and turned to look as the slide was hitting the ground in front of us and to our right. Most of the debris stopped right there, and remained on the side of the road—all except one small boulder (we’re guessing it was about the size of a basketball).
This one boulder had decided that it would be nice to see what was on the other side of the road, and came rolling out into the road right in front of us. There was pretty much nothing I could do—I slowed as much as I could, as quick as I could given the conditions, and I moved to the right, as it was moving quickly to the left. We came so close to missing it. Instead, the left front tire went right over it, blowing out the tire.
More good news: we were able to slow down safely and pull off to the side of the road with little trouble.
Not so good news: we pulled off right next to a nice steep rock face, with water pouring down the side, along with a little bit of rock debris—not a good place to be stopped in the car.
Some more good news: we were less than a quarter of a mile from exit 6, which had a wide shoulder. Best of all, it was away from the rocks.
Even more good news: coming down from the top of the pass, we noticed a snow plow truck sitting on the southbound side of I-25. We wondered what it was doing out—of course we found out the hard way—he was going up and down the road moving rocks out of the road. It wasn’t long after we stopped that he pulled up behind us. Not only did he use his huge truck to help keep traffic away from us as we changed the tire, he also helped change the tire, which was a huge help since we were in the rain, and my nerves were pretty frayed. We didn’t even get his name: thank you, whoever you are!
After slowly making our way the last 5 miles down the pass on the undersized and under-inflated spare, were able to exit and get some air in the spare, before finding a place to stay for the night.
Believe it or not, there’s more good news: About 2 hours out from Trinidad, we’d called around to a few hotels, one of which was a brand new La Quinta, but we decided not to book anything until we got into town. It turns out that the La Quinta is right next to the tire store. It looked nice, they still had rooms, so we headed in. As we were waiting, I jokingly asked the manager if they had a “rock slide” discount, and told her what we had just gone through. She said “oh, we have a great ‘rock slide’ discount,” and proceeded to give us a 20% discount off of the rate we had been quoted when we called from the road. How nice is that?
So I’ll be up bright and early to see about getting a new wheel and tire. Hopefully that is all we’ll need.
We were right behind you with a blown out left front tire, just like you. We got off at the exit and parked down off I-25.
Posted by Randy on 9/16/2013 7:46:41 PM