All was going well traveling from Chippewa Falls to Ellison Bay last Wednesday afternoon until I stopped for gas in Valmy. That’s when I noticed one of my boat trailer wheel bearings smoking. Grrr! It was toast and I was stuck until it was repaired.
I sought help from an auto repair business across the street but was rebuffed by the owner who said he wouldn’t be able to help until Thursday afternoon. So I jacked up the trailer axle and removed the wheel myself. Not an easy chore at age 75, but I did it. But as soon as I unhooked the boat to get the wheel repaired in Sturgeon Bay, the trailer spun and the jack tipped, plunging the axle into the dirt. Now I was really in a mess and it was late afternoon to make matters worse. Cursing my bad luck didn’t help but felt good blowing off steam.
The Valmy gas station owner suggested I might be able to get roadside assistance from Institute Motors just a few miles away. I heeded his advice and drove there. After explaining my predicament to the owner, Rick Sternard, he said he would help. But first I needed to go to Sturgeon Bay for a new wheel hub repair kit which I did at an auto parts store.
I immediately returned to Institute Motors and Rick followed me in his truck to my boat, where we reattached my vehicle to the trailer to keep it stabilized. Rick then used his commercial size jack to lift my trailer axle only to discover I bought the wrong size hub repair kit. Dummy me! But I couldn’t unhook my vehicle from the trailer for fear of a repeat performance when the jack slipped. Now what?
Rick said to get in his truck which I did. He drove back to his shop and his wife, Rachel, hopped in and drove me to the auto parts store to get the right size hub kit. We drove back to Institute and Rick exchanged places with Rachel and we headed to my boat once again. In no time Rick had my wheel repaired and I was on the road. I couldn’t believe it! I thought for sure I would have been forced to leave my boat parked in Valmy overnight. Instead I made it home in time for supper with my boat. Wow!
It is uncommon these days to find such caring merchants as the Sternards. They went way beyond what is normally expected to make sure my travel would continue in spite of them being inconvenienced after closing time. A very big thanks to Rick and Rachel!
Chippewa Falls, Wis.