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Bow down before the Mighty Jax, Destroyer of Trailers

June 15, 2019

On Thursday, at exactly 2,275 miles, just north of Waco, Jax’s trailer dropped to the ground, its aluminum tongue broken in two places. It has seen a lot of wear and tear… potholes, rumble strips, etc., but that moment, on a perfectly smooth road, is when it gave up the ghost. I made a splint with a chew bone (given to Jax by Charlie Bravo, the motorcycle-riding dog he met in Price, Utah), some duct tape and a couple of straps. Then we limped to a gas station and waited for the cavalry to arrive.

I think the trailer would have made it to Florida if Jax hadn’t flipped it upside down the day before. We had been cruising down a beautiful, straight, country road outside Cleburne, Texas, pushed along by a tailwind. Suddenly Jax barked, I felt a jolt, heard a scraping noise and found myself in the grass beside the road. Looking back, I saw the trailer upside down, with Jax still inside, also upside down. On a hill above us, a Kelpie stared down with a “You don’t see that every day” look on his face. I flipped the trailer back upright, let Jax out and checked him for injuries. He was fine. Ashamed of himself, but unhurt.

We rolled on. Thinking about it later, I concluded that Jax had been snoozing on the left side, startled awake when he saw the cattle dog, leapt a little too enthusiastically up and to the right and hit the roof, sending the trailer spinning into the air and onto its back. The trailer has a wide wheel base and is very stable, so the wheels would have to be in the air, or at least significantly unweighted, to flip the thing like that. But Jax isn’t talking, so I’ll never really know.

The “cavalry” I mentioned above were Mary (a cousin of my college friend Suzy) and Don, Mary’s husband. Mary and Don are angels, and so is Suzy for connecting us! They picked us up, took us to a bike shop to look for a new trailer and put us up in a (very) nice hotel. I couldn’t find any large dog/bicycle trailers in Waco, so I ordered another one from — this time, the steel version instead of aluminum. Fate permitting, it should arrive today, I’ll assemble it and ride to Marlin, Texas only two days later than planned.

Don and Mary, angels from Waco!

There have been moments on this trip, like when we reached the top of a mountain pass, navigated through miles of treacherous traffic, rode through a storm or pushed through hours of headwinds, that I’ve felt excessively proud. Chest-beating, sky-roaring, look-at-how-badass-I-am proud. That’s a gut reaction and I don’t beat myself up about it, but the truth is that Jax and I have been carried this far by other people. Should we make it all the way, it will totally be a group achievement, the result of a big, cosmic web of human kindness. K9s For Warriors is part of that web, giving our veterans and many helpless, hopeless dogs “a new leash on life.” That’s who Jax and I are rolling for and I hope you’ll support them in their mission.

From → Texas

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