Do we hurry our road? Or help where needed…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn the exciting drive to Copper we saw a silver-grey van stopped, stacks of backpacks and 6 or 8 college students waving as we slowed, but drove just beyond.  Realizing they were waving for help, I thought, they probably have Verizon too (no service here between towns).  I backed up along the shoulder.

The first question was, “do you have any different tools”?  “Our lug wrench is slipping”.  First glance showed 7 loosened lugs on that big right-side, rear van wheel.  My “lug wrench” is part of a pared-down toolbox tossed into a lightweight Homie’s Orange plastic box.  A Craftsman breaker bar and deep socket; it fits both the Tramper and Marfa the 4 Runner.  It did NOT fit the Colorado Mountain College van.

After allowing tries with several other size sockets, it was clear this was a stubborn lug nut.  My “hammer”  is a camp axe, but is in the cubby of the Tramper, back at the campground.  I smacked the offender a few times with the heavy breaker bar.  Shock is your friend against friction.  A small vise grip was quickly tried, broken and abandoned (I gave permission to break or abuse anything as needed).

My next attack included a little trip back into my toolbox and some “creativity”.  I grabbed a hacksaw blade, bent it at about the depth of a socket, 3/8″ or so.  Then, a student handed me the key:  A Bigger Hammer!  This was no ordinary hammer, it was his ice axe.   I pounded the socket over the lug nut with the hacksaw blade wedged  into one flank of the hex.  Pounded some more.  I pushed down with all my weight and pressure inwards to keep that socket on.  Not a budge, despite a few grunts and cuss words.


Then, I recomposed myself, flipped the wrench to give me the best torque, pulling upwards and grunted some more.  I think it was a Scottish heritage grunt; a Grant Grunt!  And so the lug turned.  Advising them not to worry about driving with 7 out of 8 lugs, I threw my tools back into the box, shook a few hands and ran back to our car.  (Had it not yielded, I would have added a few drops of oil or transmission fluid from a dipstick, and asked if anyone had a camp stove.  Heat, your other friend against friction.  The other, priceless tool is persistence: remember, “The mechanic will have his way”.)

Off to Copper.  They, in turn were soon on their way to ice climb at Vail.

10 responses to “Do we hurry our road? Or help where needed…


    savvy dude. heat, lube, innovation. makes the world go round. the DIYS attitude is the best!

  2. I can think of no other person I’d rather see slowing down to help me on the side of the road than David Grant. Dude, you so rock.

  3. Way to go Dave !!! “Do unto others as you would do to yourself” You go above & beyond this in helping strangers !

  4. For the many years that I have known you David i have to say that you inspire me with your persistence And your drive to get a job done with whatever is within reach. I have seen you perform tasks As intricate as replacing a motorcycle muffler with an aerosol Can drilled and filled with shrapnel, To literally machining parts from steel, wire, duct tape, bubblemgum, Or whatever is available with your bare hands In order to keep a vehicle, bicycle, motorcycle, pair of skis or sporting goods equipment functioning long enough To finish the day and make it home safely. Way to go David, I am truly inspired by Who You Are in the world!!

    • Thanks Thor,
      right back at ya! Sure do miss sharing the fun and work… (I think about our brief connection at the SPY MUSEUM OFTEN) We still don’t know which path we’ll take come Spring and Summer…but I really want to drive through and visit you. By the way, persistence is the only way. The only thing that REALLY stops any of us from anything is when we concede failure. shoulda’ seen the gatorade cap that held a bearingless freewheel from rubbing the frame to finish a bike ride…


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