The “Million Dollar View”

A friend reminds me about what I now take for granted.

Not sure if anyone is noticing, but I’m doing my best to blog every morning these days. That means keeping them short when I have other stuff to do. And believe me, I have a lot of other stuff to do.

Inbox
I’m ready to declare email bankruptcy and just clear all of this out.

After spending about an hour with my coffee and nightmarish email inbox, I looked up and realized that the sun had come up. I looked out my side windows — the ones facing the Wenatchee Valley and Columbia River — and was instantly rewarded with the amazing view I’ve come to take for granted.

My Amazing Morning View
Here’s what I see most mornings, right from my windows. Not too shabby, eh? Click the photo to view a much larger version where you can see the detail — including my “Lookout Point” bench in the bottom right.

I had a friend over for dinner last night. As the sun was setting, she remarked that I had a “million dollar view.” I looked out and agreed that it was beautiful. (I didn’t mention that it so often looked better.) I told her that it looked best in the morning in the golden hour light, when the low-lying sun cast deep shadows that bought out the texture of the mountains and hillsides. Like in the photo above. Same in the afternoon, when the cliffs across the river were illuminated just right. (Note to self: add photo of that.)

I’m a view person, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere in this blog. Looking out and seeing the world around me energizes me and puts me at peace — at the same time. Yes, I like tall pine trees and forests and canyons, but being surrounded by those things in tight quarters would stifle me, making me feel closed in and possibly smothered. Being able to look out and see for miles and miles makes me feel good about myself and my world.

The seasons are changing now; autumn is coming. The view changes with the seasons. Right now, the cherry orchard on the right has irrigation turned off and is being allowed to die; I suspect that when apple harvest is done, they’ll tear out those trees. Will they get new ones in before winter? Probably not; it’ll be a project I can watch in the spring. There’s still a tiny bit of snow up in the Enchantments, which are hidden in this photo by the low clouds on the left. The river bends as it makes its way into Wenatchee; in the evening, it reflects the changing color of the sky.

So much to see, right from my windows. Like an ever-changing series of paintings, a triptych with more than just three panels, separated by a few inches of wall between each view.

I cannot express how glad I am that my life took the turn it did back in 2012 when I became free to make all of my life decisions. That freedom made it possible to buy 10 acres of undeveloped land high on a cliffside shelf overlooking an amazingly beautiful valley. It made it possible for me to plan and build the home I wanted, a home that would meet my needs and bring this view into every room.

A “million dollar view”? That’s a bit of an exaggeration. But it’s priceless to me.

May Morel Mushrooms

I find and bag my first morel mushrooms.

Science Friday, an NPR radio show (also available as a podcast), did a show last Friday about mushroom hunting. It got me interested in mushrooms all over again.

Last October, I attended a weekend-long seminar at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center about mushrooms. We learned about mushrooms, hunted for mushrooms, identified mushrooms, and ate mushrooms. It was a fun weekend.

About a week later, I went mushroom hunting in the Leavenworth area with one of the other seminar attendees. We didn’t do too well, but didn’t come back empty handed, either: two chanterelles, some oyster mushrooms, and something else I can’t remember. I took home the chanterelles; my companion took the rest. I returned to the area several times since then but haven’t had any success.

I’d pretty much given up on doing any serious mushroom hunting.

And then Science Friday did their story, “Mushrooms: On the Hunt for Edibles.” And I started thinking about foraging for mushrooms all over again. After all, it was the right season for them and I knew places where the conditions might be right. So I emailed my hiking buddy Susan, who also has some mushroom foraging experience, and asked her if she was interested. Of course she was! We went out around 9 AM Monday morning.

We took the Jeep up into the mountains. That’s about as specific as I’ll get for the location. As any serious mushroom hunter will tell you, locations are never divulged. Morel mushroom hunting is serious business in Washington state; hordes of hunters cross the Cascades every weekend this time of year. Some are commercial hunters; Susan says morels are worth about $30/pound. Others are hobbyists like us who use a mushroom hunt as an excuse to get outdoors and walk around in the woods.

Although we were unable to take the Jeep as far as I’d hoped, we parked at a familiar parking area, grabbed our bags, and headed into the woods. Penny ran ahead. For the next three hours, we wandered around the underbrush on either side of trails or roads, looking for just the right environmental conditions.

Trouble was, I didn’t know the right environmental conditions. I’d never hunted for morels. The only thing I’d every heard was that they grew in areas damaged by forest fires. The Science Friday story said they grew under oak and apple trees, but we don’t have oak trees here and there aren’t any apple trees other than in orchards.

After wandering around the woods off to one side of the road, Susan climbed back down to the road. “I think there’s an easier way down over here,” she called back from up ahead.

Morel Mushrooms
From my first find. Aren’t they gorgeous?

Morel Mushrooms
Can you see all five mushrooms here? Hint: two of them are together.

Morel Mushroom
Here’s a closeup of one of the last morels I found. As you might imagine, from a distance, pinecones look similar.

I made my way through the underbrush. I was about halfway down the steep slope when I looked down and saw it: a very large morel mushroom. Within seconds, I’d seen three more.

They were beautiful — I mean, really beautiful. Perfectly shaped, popping up through the dirt looking clean and brown and exactly the way a morel should. I took photos. I marked GPS coordinates on my phone. And then I cut them and put them into my canvas bag.

Susan found the next batch not far away and packed them away in a paper bag she’d brought for the purpose.

We talked about the conditions they were growing in. Plants growing nearby. Moistness. Amount of sunlight. We found things in common between the two patches. We began getting a real idea of what to look for.

We continued wandering around, on and off the road, for the next two hours. We took turns finding mushrooms. At one point, Susan found a huge one about three inches from my foot and I spotted a smaller one nearby. At another point, I found five of them within a square foot of space. Much later, the two of us, working within 15 feet of each other, found several patches of them.

Now I don’t want you to think that the mushrooms were all over the place. Well, mushrooms were all over the place — mostly shiny brown round ones — but the morels were elusive. One of us would find a patch and then twenty minutes might go by before the other found a patch. We were out there for three hours and we each brought back maybe enough for a meal. I weighed mine when I got home: 9 ounces.

It was fun and, because we weren’t getting skunked, it never got frustrating.

It was nearly 1 PM when we called it quits. We’d only walked a little more than a mile according to my GPS tracker.

I drove us back to Susan’s place and took a quick tour of her backyard rose bushes and gardens. We talked about the mushrooms we’d found and how we each planned to double-check that we’d found morels and not false morels, which were not recommended for consumption. Then I headed home.

Later, I laid out the mushrooms I’d brought home to take a photo. I also weighted them on my postal scale: 9 ounces even. Good thing we weren’t hunting mushrooms for a living.

Morel Mushrooms
Not bad for a first time out, eh?

Dinner tonight or tomorrow: Pizza with Ramps, Morels, and Eggs. I might also try one of the recipes I found for fried morels.

And since mushrooms grow so quickly, there’s a pretty good chance there will be more to pick later this week in the same places we found them today. I’m game for another outing on Friday. I hope Susan is, too.

The Turtleback

Downsizing…because I can.

One of the great things about being single — and believe me, there are lots of great things — is the fact that you simply don’t need as much living space. While two might be able to live as cheaply as one, two can never live comfortably in as little space as one. So not only can I live in a smaller home (1200 square feet vs. 2400 square feet), but I can also travel with a much smaller RV.

And travel is something I love to do. Whether for a weekend, a week, or an entire season, nothing beats hitting the road and exploring new places or revisiting old places with friends. That just wasn’t as easy as it should be when I was towing a 36-foot fifth wheel with four slides. Yes, when I parked, I was extremely comfortable, with enough living space to throw a party for a dozen friends. But getting the damn thing parked took a lot more effort than I wanted to put into it. And finding a place where it could fit wasn’t always easy.

I bought the Mobile Mansion back in 2010, after my then-husband promised he’d hit the road with me during the summer months when I came north for cherry drying. I needed enough space for two full-sized people and a mid-sized dog to live comfortably for four to six months. The Mobile Mansion was perfect for that use. Unfortunately, I wound up not needing all that space, since my husband apparently had no intention of joining me as he’d promised. In 2012, he started the wheels turning to become my wasband. (That turned out to be the best thing that happened to me in a very long time.)

I lived in the Mobile Mansion while I built my new home — so it was a very good thing I had it. It was comfortable, except during the winter months when I made other arrangements. Last summer, after moving into my new home, I used it as an AirBnB rental parked right on my driveway, getting $79/night with a two night minimum almost every weekend from July 4th through October 15. Then it went on a sale lot in East Wenatchee.

Quartzsite CampsiteThe Mobile Mansion parked in the desert near Quartzite in January 2016.

By December, I decided to spend the winter snowbirding and fetched it off the lot for a trip south. I spent a happy six weeks in Arizona, Nevada, and California, living mostly off the grid along the Colorado River with friends between stays in another friend’s guest house. Truck problems got it stuck in California for a while, but I brought it home again last month, cleaned it up again, and put it on a sale lot in North Wenatchee.

Over the winter, I’d been thinking hard about options for replacing the Mobile Mansion with something smaller and easier to travel with. My first inclination had been to go with a small — think 16 to 20 feet — bumper pull trailer. Then I happened to take a look at a truck camper for sale in Quartzsite. I struck a deal to trade the Mobile Mansion for the camper and pocket about $12,000, but I hesitated. I hadn’t wrapped my brain around the huge downsizing yet. By the time I was ready — only a week later! — the rig was gone. So I stuck with the Mobile Mansion for the rest of the winter.

But that truck camper had planted a seed. When I got home and placed the Mobile Mansion in the sale lot, I started looking for a truck camper I could live with.

My truck is huge. It’s a 1-ton diesel with 4WD, a crew cab, and a long bed. They don’t get much bigger than this and still fit in a regular garage. Because of its size, I could get a large truck camper. In fact, I sort of had to get a large truck camper.

I looked at a few dealer lots in the Tri-Cities area, then started combing Craig’s List. And that’s when I found the 2005 Lance in Moses Lake.

I went down to look at it. Moses Lake is about a 90-minute drive, although it’s only 55 miles away. The couple who owned it were the original owners and they had taken very good care of it. It was parked in an RV garage when I saw it. It was clean and it was loaded.

The Slide
The dinette and refrigerator are on the slide.

Storage
There’s plenty of storage beside the bathroom.

Want a list of features? Here are the highlights: slide for dinette and large refrigerator with separate freezer, queen sized bed, double sink, convection microwave, three-burner stove, television, satellite dish antenna, regular antenna, AM/FM stereo with CD/DVD player, landing gear with remote, two awnings, 2500 watt generator that can be started with the push of a button, tons of storage, skylight in bedroom, lots of windows, day/night shades on most windows (they’re not allowed in kitchen areas, probably due to fire hazard near stove), outdoor shower, wet bathroom (that’s where you shower in the same space as the toilet and sink), air conditioning, heat, two 7-gallon propane tanks, ladder to roof, solar panel that keeps the batteries charged. These are just the things I can think of off the top of my head. The slide is quite large — when it’s open, there’s a ton of floor space. So even if I did happen to go camping with a friend, we wouldn’t be tripping over each other.

Kitchen
The kitchen is small but functional.

Wet Bath
“Wet bath” means you shower in the same space as the toilet and sink.

The price was a bit more than I wanted to spend, but it was in line with Nada RV Guide pricing for a unit its age. And it was in very good condition. The couple was nice. They clearly loved the RV and had made a lot of memories in it. They were sad to sell it. But they’d just bought a fifth wheel almost as big as mine and although they thought they’d use the truck camper once in a while, they realized they wouldn’t. After a year of owning both, they’d decided to sell.

We talked money. I suggested lower price. I hate haggling but he accepted my offer. I got the feeling that they wanted to sell it to me.

I told them I needed to sleep on it and research the truck modifications I’d need to get done to get the camper fastened down on my truck. On the way home, I stopped for dinner at Cave B Winery. Before I was done, I’d decided.

It took me two weeks to get the hardware I’d need on the truck installed. In the meantime, I built a small trailer for the 100LL fuel tank that was in the back of my truck and had the tank moved to it. The tank would come in handy in Quincy, where two pilots would be working for me in June. Then more delays as I had a multi-day aerial photo gig for a favorite client in the area. Finally, with rain forecasted for Wednesday, May 4, I called the owners and made arrangements to meet with them.

The owners were just as gracious to me that day as they were when I first came to see the camper. The husband spent at least an hour with me, showing me how to hook it up and pointing out all kinds of things I’d need to know. (Of course, they had all manuals for the camper gathered up in an envelope under one of the dinette benches.) He backed the truck up under the camper, gave me a wooden rig he used as a spacer to prevent himself from backing up too far, and showed me how to retract the legs. Then we pulled it out onto his driveway and fastened it down to my truck, using fasteners he threw in at no extra charge. Then, while I was doing the paperwork with his wife, he checked my tire pressures and even added air to the airbags at the back end of my truck. Before I left, he took a picture of it — he said he wanted to show his friends the truck he’d put it on. Oddly enough, he has the same truck as me — just one year newer.

When we were all done, we parted ways and I started the long trip home.

The camper, which probably weighs about 3,000 pounds, rides well on back of my truck. I can definitely feel its weight and the higher center of gravity. But my truck gets much better mileage than when I towed the Mobile Mansion and parking it was no trouble at all.

After a stop for lunch in a neat little bistro in George, WA, and a quick trip to the supermarket, I drove over to the RV dealer where I’d left the Mobile Mansion. Way back when I first bought it, I’d replaced the mattress and I wanted to swap them out. That done, I made a stop to pick up some oil for the helicopter before heading home.

The Turtleback
The Turtleback, parked in my driveway with the slide out. And yes, it will fit in the RV garage. After all, the Mobile Mansion fit in there and this is a heck of a lot smaller.

I spent a few hours loading some of the Mobile Mansion’s gear — hoses, cords, cookware, dishes, etc. — into the new RV, which I’d christened the Turtleback on the long drive home. I still need to make the bed and store some extra linens. Most of what I needed from the Mobile Mansion fits into the Turtleback — it has a surprising amount of storage space.

At this point, I’m thinking about taking it up to the National Forest at Leavenworth for a few days on a maiden voyage. There’s a nice campground about 17 miles up Icicle Creek with a good 3-mile loop trail running through it. I’m sure it will be mostly empty mid-week. If I go, I’ll report back here.

Dawn Time

When first light is first light.

For the past 20 or years, I’ve lived in a place where I could see the horizon and watch the sun rise and set. This wasn’t the case when I lived in New Jersey or New York, in places surrounded by either tall trees or other buildings. It’s nice to see the horizon, to greet the sun when it makes its first appearance for the day, to see the way first light touches the landscape around me, to watch weather move through, to see last light and watch the sun dip below the horizon at the end of the day.

The sun, in a way, is my clock. Not having a scheduled life, I let it tell me when to get up in the morning and, during long summer days, often go to sleep not long after it sets.

I live at the base of some tall cliffs on a hillside overlooking the Wenatchee Valley and Columbia River. The cliffs are to the south of me — the view from my home is about 180°, basically from east to to north to west. To the east, the cliffs rise up from the east to their full height due south.

Pre-Dawn Horizon
The horizon, as shot from my front deck before dawn this morning. The E marks the point that is approximately due east.

During the winter, when the sun is low in the sky and rises more to the south — remember, I’m in Washington State at about 47° latitude — there’s a 6-week period when the sun doesn’t even clear the cliffs at my place (although it does shine down in the valley). I call that the Shadow Time and blogged about it here.

As the days get longer, the sun shifts north, eventually, at the spring equinox, rising due east. As long as it rises behind the cliffs, I don’t get direct sun until after it clears the tops of the cliffs. But this week, about 3 weeks after the first day of spring, the sun began rising far enough north that it appears at what I think of as the true horizon — the place where the horizon isn’t blocked by nearby hills or cliffs. From that point on, I see the sun when it makes its first appearance of the day — and will continue to see sunrise until about three weeks before the autumn equinox.

If all this is meaningless to you, you should explore some of the excellent articles on the web that explain the sun’s movement in the sky and seasons. Here are a few links to get started:

Astronomy is a lot more than stars and constellations. Just saying.

Since I have a name for the time when there’s no direct sun (Shadow Time), I thought I needed a name for the time when I can see the sun rise out of the far horizon. I’ve decided to call it Dawn Time.

If there’s a corresponding Sunset Time — the time I can watch the sun set into the far horizon — that would probably be a bit before the spring equinox. I can see due west from my home — the snow covered peaks of the Enchantment Range out beyond Leavenworth — and that’s where the sun’s setting these days.

Western Horizon
I shot this photo at first light from my side deck a few weeks ago. The sun touches the mountaintops to the west before it rises high enough to shine into the valley. This is probably my favorite part of sunrise.

But for some reason, I’m more interested in sunrise, the start of the day, than sunset. I’m a morning person, through and through and get my best work done before noon. By 5 or 6 PM, I’m pretty much spent. That’s when it’s nice to sit out on the deck with a glass of wine and watch the sun set — and the light show that often goes with it.

Why It Took Me 6 Days to Change a Tire

Hey, at least I finally got it done.

Yes, it took me six days to change the tire on my cargo trailer. But before I explain, let me give you a little backstory. (Regular readers of this blog should expect that of me.)

About the Trailer

I own two cargo trailers.

One of them is a little 4×8 trailer I bought to haul my bees around in the summer months. Lately, while my truck is in California, I’ve been using it to haul pavers and mulch and anything I don’t feel like shoving into the back of my Jeep. It’s a nice little trailer, but isn’t really suitable for hauling anything that weighs more than 600-800 pounds.

Cargo Trailer
This cargo trailer really came in handy when I moved from Arizona to Washington state and needed to haul an extremely heavy helicopter landing platform and 600cc Yamaha Grizzly ATV.

The other one is a big 8 x12 trailer I bought back in Arizona in 2000 to haul furniture and other things related to the rental properties I used to own. It has a wood plank bottom, low metal rails, and a drop down ramp. In the past, I’ve used it to haul just about anything that wouldn’t easily fit into the back of a pickup.

I should mention — only as an amusing point of interest — that this is also the trailer that got swept downstream in a flood when I lived in Arizona. A dry wash ran through my property there and, for most of the year it was completely dry. I used to park this trailer in it. Bad idea. This trailer was washed a full mile downstream one day. I needed my neighbor’s backhoe to pull it out of the sand. (I just spent 30 minutes looking for the buried trailer photo I know I have somewhere and came up empty. Ugh.) Years later, before I moved to Washington, I replaced the tires, had the bearings repacked, and repaired the ramp, which was damaged in the flood. The trailer looks beat to hell but it’s actually still very sturdy and useable.

Parked Trailer
Here’s the trailer right after I offloaded it and parked it on the west side of my home.

When I got to Washington and my building was completed, I off-loaded the helicopter platform that had been on the big trailer for about two years and parked the empty trailer on the west side of my building, out of sight. Somewhere along the way, it got a flat tire, which isn’t too surprising given the number of construction nails that were still scattered around. But I didn’t need the trailer for anything, so I just put the repair on my list of things to do and promptly forgot about it.

Over the winter, I decided to store some extra irrigation hose and wooden pallets on the trailer — again, to get them out of sight. So I moved everything onto it and secured a big, white tarp over the top. It was ugly from the road, but I didn’t care too much. Winter was coming and I was leaving town anyway.

When I got home from my winter travels and the snow melted and the land started getting lush and green and beautiful, I decided I didn’t want to see the ugly trailer and its ugly white tarp parked next to my home, even from the road. I’d been storing my little trailer on the far east end of my property, near my bee yard. I can see it from my home, but it isn’t in my face. I figured I’d move the big trailer out there with it.

But first I needed to get that flat tire fixed.

Removing the Flat

On Thursday, I figured it was time.

I started by pulling off the tarp and offloading the nice, dry pallets I’d stored beneath it. The extra irrigation hose was light and could stay, at least for now.

Then I used my ATV, which has a hitch on the front end (for pulling the helicopter platform) to pull the trailer out of its spot beside my building and into the driveway in front of the last two garage doors. (One garage houses my absentee truck and the other houses my boat, which isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.) It was a tough tow, mostly because of the way the land has been sculpted there by my earth moving guy, Jeff. There’s a bit of a dip that the very flat tire had to “roll” through. But the ATV, in 4WD, managed it.

I took the trailer off the ATV hitch and put it on its support wheel. Then I used the jack from my Jeep to jack up the trailer where the bum wheel was. I didn’t lift it much — I knew enough about changing tires to know that you loosen the lug nuts while the tire can’t spin.

I grabbed the lug wrench from the Jeep and attempted to fit it over one of the bum tire’s lug nuts.

And that’s when I hit my first (of many) hurdle: the lug wrench wouldn’t fit. It was too small.

I didn’t even bother trying the one for my Honda. Instead, I pulled out my socket wrench set and tried the largest one I had: 3/4 inch. That didn’t fit either.

I hopped on my ATV and drove the half mile to my neighbor’s house at the winery. They were in the middle of building a new tasting room and I knew they had tools. After a nice chat with Kathy, I headed back with three different sizes of sockets, from 13/16 through 1-1/4. 13/16 was the right size, but the socket attachment was 1/2 inch and the largest wrench I had was 3/8 attachment.

At this point, I figured I may as well buy my own socket for the tire as well as the attachment I needed to use it with my impact driver and/or drill. So I headed down into town with the little cargo trailer behind me. I bought the tools I needed at the local Ace hardware store, then went to Costco to buy eight bags of potting soil for my garden. One thing I’ve learned living 10 miles from town is that when you need to go into to town for one thing, you should take care of a bunch of errands at the same time.

When I got back, I set up the new socket with my impact driver and went to work on the lug nuts.

They wouldn’t budge. None of them.

I tried my drill, which I thought might have more torque. Same result.

I sprayed some lubricant on them. The only thing I had was silicone. No joy.

By that time, it was getting late and chilly and I decided to call it quits for the day. I left the trailer and jack right where they were.

On Friday morning, I did some work on another project while I was smoking a rack of ribs on my Traeger. At lunchtime, I packed up the ribs and drove to my friend Bob’s house with that little trailer in tow. He was going to help me with a trailer wiring issue on my Jeep. We finished the ribs with sauce on his grill, ate them with some broccoli slaw I brought from Safeway, and took care of the Jeep wiring issue (which still isn’t quite right). Then he handed me a socket wrench with a 13/16 socket, a long handle, and a bar that fit over the handle.

I let him keep the leftover ribs and took his socket wrench home with me.

I gave the socket wrench/handle combination a try and it worked like a charm. It’s all about leverage. I loosened all the nuts, jacked up the tire a bit more, and removed the nuts with my impact driver/socket combination. Then I loaded the tire onto my little cargo trailer.

Fixing the Flat

On Saturday morning, I headed back into town with that little cargo trailer. I dropped off the tire at Discount Tire, then went to Lowes and bought 30 pavers and 30 edgers for another project. When I went back to Discount Tire, it wasn’t ready so I went home and got to work on other things.

Discount tire called later in the day to report that the tire was too far gone and would have to be replaced. Although the tire had been new when it had left Arizona in September 2013, it had spent more than a year sitting flat at the side of my building. What the hell did I expect? I told them to replace the tire and that I’d come get it on Monday.

The trailer sat there all Saturday and Sunday, jacked up on one side with my Jeep jack. I was glad I hadn’t parked it someplace where it would be in the way.

On Monday, I went down to town to fetch the tire. I left the little trailer behind; it still had pavers on it. I had the back seat out of the Jeep, so there was room there for it. They charged me $42 for the new tire, which I thought was quite a deal. Until the guy went to carry the tire out — it wasn’t my tire. It was a tiny tire, like one for my little trailer.

That led to confusion and a search. They asked me what size my tire was and, amazingly, I knew. They found one that matched, said it had been patched and not replaced, and gave me a refund for the $42 I’d paid for the wrong tire. Then they put it in a big plastic bag and loaded it into the back of my Jeep.

I drove to the local garden shop and bought eight lilac bushes that barely fit in back of the Jeep with the tire and drove home.

I did a bunch of stuff, then got around to putting the tire on. It was heavy. I rolled it over to the trailer, got the trailer jacked up a little more, and put the tire in place. Or I tried to. No matter how I positioned the jack, I couldn’t get the lugs lined up with the tire. I worked on it for at least 20 minutes, struggling with the weight of the damn thing.

The Correct Tire
I took a picture of the matching tire in case I had to show it to the guys at Discount Tire.

And that’s when I got the bright idea to look at the other tire.

And that’s when I realized that the wheels didn’t match.

Discount Tire had given me someone else’s trailer tire.

Fixing the Right Flat

I called them up and reported the problem. More confusion. They had to investigate. I gave them the make, model, and tire size of the right tire — I’d bought the two tires at the same time so they were a matched pair. They said they’d call back and they did about 20 minutes later. They’d found my tire, which had not been fixed. Again, I authorized the replacement and I told them I’d be back the next day.

On Tuesday, I went down into town with my little trailer and the mystery tire. I bought another 30 pavers and six bags of mulch at Lowes. Then I made the tire swap. I made them show me the tire before I settled up with them — it was the right one. This one, however, cost me $90. When I complained gently about it taking me three trips, they gave me a $30 off coupon for my next tire purchase. (Since all of my vehicles currently have new tires, I’ll likely never use it.)

Putting on the New Tire

I got home, parked the little trailer, and set about putting on the new tire. It’s amazing how easy the job is when you’ve got the wheel that lines up with the lugs. (Duh.)

I used my impact driver/socket setup to tighten up the lug nuts, then gave them an extra bit of tightening with Bob’s socket wrench. Then I lowered the jack and moved it out of the way.

I hooked up the big trailer to the Jeep and rolled it out my driveway and down the road. My bee yard is very close to the road down there. I found a spot clear of sagebrush and backed it into position. Then I disconnected it, lowered the front end to level it, and locked the hitch.

It only took six days to get the job done.