Except for having been nearly eaten alive by mutant Alaskan/Canadian crossbreed monster mosquitoes the first part of our journey was uneventful. The truck rumbled along loyally and we admired the wilderness scenery. Whitehorse Alaska was our next scheduled stop and we pulled in there to do some recreating.
After leaving White Horse we began to hear a muffled “ka-thunk”, “ka-thunk”. We turned toward each other. “Tell our kid to stop making noise back there.” I turned around to settle her down but she was already asleep in the back of the truck. “Not her”, I informed him. “Oh my, I hope the rear end transmission isn’t going out!” I listened carefully. No grinding noises and no problems shifting led me to think it was a wheel bearing. “I think it’s a rear wheel bearing”, I said. My honey gave me a condescending chuckle. “This from a woman who didn’t know how to read a map when we got married? Look , I know you worked on helicopters when you were in the Army, but this is a truck. I think you’d better leave the diagnostics to me. “
Well talk about mood altering conversation! “Fine! Figure it out yourself!” I harrumphed. “Now Now hun,” he condescended to me again as we pulled into a parking lot. I know what I’m doing. I’m going in there to ask the way to a dump and with any luck I’ll find a rear end that matches this one. After getting instructions we headed to the local dump. He parked the truck and we scouted for parts. “Look! I think there’s one that’s our year and make!” I couldn’t believe it but it was true.
“Now”, he said, “The guy said the most important part is to watch out for bears.” “What?” “Watch for bears, he said to keep a look out so you sit here in the drivers seat and honk the horn if you see any coming while I remove that transmission.” “Are YOU INSANE?! ” I yelled. “No, I’m serious. Now if you don’t want your only husband eaten alive while trying to repair our rig I suggest you pay attention.”
I sat in the drivers seat with the window open scanning for predators and biting my nails down to the quick. Every crackle, every noise made me jump. What was I doing out in the middle of nowhere, pregnant, a 6 year old, two house cats in the back of the truck and an insane man scrounging for parts in a wilderness dump?! An hour and a half later he came back to the truck grinning and carrying what I assume was a transmission. But what did I know? I had only worked on helicopters.
We drove back to the one restaurant combination bus stop, post office and general store. In the parking lot he began jacking the truck up and taking the rear end apart. He seemed bent on dismantling our whole vehicle and we would probably end up stranded here forever. Watching him I grew a little more than irritated. “Sweetie, wouldn’t it have been more prudent to change the wheel bearings first?” Sighing really big he said, “Have you ever worked on this type of vehicle? No! So just let me get back to work please. Go do something.”
So I started to pray. Not your basic, “God please help my husband” prayer. Oh no, let’s be honest here. I was praying the “God just let me get a chance to say, I TOLD YOU SO! prayer.” It is such a good thing we aren’t God. Do you know how many bolts of lightning I would called down by now?!
Anyway, I left with our daughter to go get a bite to eat, and at the same time a greyhound bus pulled up. People began to walk over to see what my man was up to. I listened just before going into the restaurant as my hub described the symptoms to a man who had asked if he could help. “Well” said the newcomer, “I’m not a mechanic but you know what it sounds like to me? A wheel bearing.” Then he walked away and left my man sitting on his knees, covered in grease with a half torn apart truck and a scrounged transmission that he realized didn’t fit. I went and hid in the restaurant praying, “God PLEASE don’t let me say I told you so!”
Six hours later it was dusk and he had gotten the rear end put back together. Now what to do about a wheel bearing. We drove to the only gas station in this not quite big enough to be a town place. Getting out we found the sole proprietor underneath a vehicle repairing it. My husband asked if he had any truck parts. “Maybe,” he said, “If I got anything it would be in that little white cabinet on that wall.” Walking over we opened the dusty cabinet and peered inside. The cabinet was completely empty except for two small boxes, both wheel bearings, both for our make and model truck. Really!
The next day we were on our way. No more “Ka-thunks” from the rear and the truck ran smoothly along. “Wasn’t that a blessing those two wheel bearings being there?” said hubby. “Yep” I replied. (please God don’t let me say I told you so!) “Nice job on the repair.” I said. We rumbled along quietly for a while. All of a sudden he said, “Sorry I didn’t check the wheel bearings first.” (Hold my tongue God) “Oh that’s ok. I’m just glad we didn’t get eaten by bears.” I halfheartedly replied. I contented myself that I had resisted an enormous temptation and probably avoided a terrible argument. Would that I could have held my tongue as well on other occasions.