As we were struggling to figure out how to get the spare off (it was bolted pretty securely to the underside of the bed), pushing off thoughts of succumbing to the same rusty fate as our new-found relic, another truck came by. They were from the County and were sent to look for a particular landmark or some other such business. They asked if we were shooting and would we please not shoot them until they had come back in about 15 minutes. We assured them that we would be occupied at least that long with the tire. We'd made no progress by the time they returned, and they offered to lend a hand. After banging around themselves, they were at as much of a loss as we were. They then offered to drive us into town to either get the old tire repaired or replaced. They seemed nice enough guys, but in Dad's words, we had four choices:
1. We could both get in their truck and leave our truck and all our munitions unattended in the middle of nowhere.
2. Dad could go with them and leave his daughter, the truck, and all our munitions in the middle of nowhere.
3. He could send his daughter with the two complete strangers and stay with the truck and all our munitions in the middle of nowhere.
4. We could send them on their way and be stuck with the truck and all our munitions in the middle of nowhere.
After some consideration and a glimpse of garments on stranger #2, Dad decided the guys were reasonably trustworthy and opted for choice #3. So the tire and I hopped in the rescue vehicle and took off down the road. I knew this was going to be even more of an adventure when I realized as we were driving away that I had left my phone in my car at the parents' house. So I had to content myself with sending positive brain waves back to my dad so he wouldn't worry too much and the consolation that I was armed.
About an hour later, I had found out quite a bit about Carlos and John - schooling, family, occupation, some entertaining anecdotes, and thoughts on travel and history. We'd visited 3 tire shops. At Walmart we learned that the tire was blown so repair was out of the picture, but despite 3 or 4 technicians blatantly sitting around, they were "busy" with 3 cars in front of us so it would take 1.5 hours to fix. No way were were going to sit around for that long, we moved on to a local Joe who, despite advertising "tires" on his building, actually orders in all his tires so he couldn't help us. Third time the charm, Big O Tires fixed us up with an $80 tire in about 10 minutes, the computer taking longer than the actual tire replacement. Back in the "limo," my chauffeurs kindly offered to stop wherever else I wanted - "drink? a show? the airport?" - and after a laugh were back on the road to the lake.
Meanwhile, Dad had taken shelter in the 14" of shade on the north side of the truck lying on the table we brought to put our guns on, worrying that getting back in the truck would cause it to shift off of the jack. I later pointed out that if the truck was going to come off the jack, all the banging around trying to coax the spare off would probably have done it. But water under the bridge. Carlos and John helped us get the new tire on and made sure we were all set before leaving. Come to find out, while we were gone, another car came up to shoot and had also suffered a flat tire. So Carlos and John trotted off to help them. I couldn't help but laugh; I guess they were destined to be the tow truck for the day. I didn't feel real sorry for the other car though - why would you drive a little lime Ford Focus into the wilderness?
Anyway, 2.5 hours later, we were finally able to get some shooting in.
(Yes, this was from a different shooting trip, and yes, my aim has much improved since then.)
~ Always prepare for the unexpected. Translation: have tools with you when striking out for the desert
~ Bring water (peanut butter crackers alone tend to do more harm than good) and
~ If you want to practice aim, it might be better to go to a range.
But if your goal is to make things explode, red food dye in water in a salsa bottle is a great way to vent any frustrations from life.