A Flat Tire and a Fat Lip

In the last few weeks Duke and I have taken two three day camping trips in the Nevada Outback. The first trip to Berlin Ichthyosaur State Park and Columbine Campground I described in my last post. The second trip was northeast of Reno and directly north of Winnemucca.

When we headed north from Winnemucca we were on pavement until we reached the little town of Paradise Valley, Nevada. From there we took a good dirt road north about 6 miles to a Forest Service campground called Lye Creek. I think there was only one other camp site in use. We had a wonderful steak dinner and enjoyed the evening. 

  The next day we headed north again on more remote dirt roads. We stopped to have a look at an old mine site. The entire route must have fantastic views but unfortunately it was very smoky because of several northern Nevada wild fires.

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 When we were about 30 miles from the nearest paved road we ran over this remnant of a fence post in the road. There was a loud whoosh as the air blew out of our right front tire.

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The spare tire is stored under the bed of the pickup. You are supposed to crank it down to get it off the truck. But the secondary latch on the mechanism that holds the tire under the truck wouldn't release. The instructions include steps to take if cranking the tire down doesn't work. We went through those steps several times… jacking the spare and the release mechanism up and down again and again but nothing worked. We always carry lots of extra food and water. I was beginning to think that we might have to use it.

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Surprisingly we had enough cell phone coverage so that we were able to get through to GM OnStar. They connected us to a maintenance guy at the Chevy dealer in Reno. He had no suggestions for how to get the secondary latch to release the spare. But he asked if we had a air compressor. As I was thinking " Who carries an extra air compressor?" I was amazed to hear Duke respond "yes, why?"

The maintenance guy suggested that letting the air out of the spare might give us enough room to maneuver the spare off the mechanism holding it in place. We said we would give it a try. Duke let the air out of the spare. There was still no way to release the spare but we now had room to access the piece of metal what was holding the tire on the truck. So Duke pulled out his bolt cutters. They are about three feet long. I described them as big but he says they are small bolt cutters.

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Duke and I laid on our backs under the truck for over an hour while I held the piece of metal with channel lock pliers and he used the bolt cutters to  little by little cut through the metal and bend it enough to get it off the truck. At one point the bolt cutters slipped and slammed into Duke's lip just under his nose. Although it must have hurt like hell and the swelling gave him a very fat lip he was very lucky not to break his nose or lose a tooth.


 During this whole process the jack was holding the spare up out of the way. We were finally able to get the spare released and lower the jack. But the jack no longer worked. It wouldn't go up or down. Duke also carries a spare jack!! He used the air compressor to refill the spare tire. He used the spare jack to jack up the front right side of the truck and then he replaced the blown tire with the spare.


The whole process took us over 5 hours but thanks to the patience, preparedness and ingenuity of my wonderful husband we were exhausted but on our way again. 

We camped for the night along the Quinn River and made it home to Reno the next day.


All our pictures from this adventure are on Flickr here.

Author: marionvermazen

I am a traveler, hiker, avid reader, Sun alumnus, computer geek, Spanish and French language student, knitter and genealogist. I am retired after working for almost 30 years in the Computer Industry. I live in Reno, Nevada with my husband Duke.

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