The bike trailer went lame on Friday morning and we almost had to have it put down but fortunately for us there was an outfitting shop that was close by which fortuitously had the right size tires. Jeff Lynch of Sawtooth Outfitters just shook his head when he saw both the worn out tires and our very full trailer and mumbled over and over again how we had it ‘way overloaded’. I told him that the manufacturer said it had a carrying capacity of 100 lbs. and we had 60 lbs tops.

We were doing axle maintenance before loading up so we had the trailer upside down that morning when I caught sight of cords peeking through on both of the tires. My first thought was ‘oh, shit’. But we finished tightening down on the left wheel bearings anyway and with a feeling of dread rode it over to the outfitters. Jeff was also seriously dismayed when he discovered that the left wheel didn’t turn freely and pronounced that we had way over tightened the wheel bearings to the point where the wheel would eventually explode or the bearings would melt; or something like that anyway. We had to stop a few more miles up the road to fix his work when I spied that the axle wasn’t grabbing the flange in the right place. So we had to unload the trailer and start all over again…

We got back onto the road an hour later only to continue our beat uphill into a stiff icy southeasterly wind for the remaining two hours to Grand Marais. The left wheel never loosened up which made the trailer pulling into more of a trailer dragging exercise. Sarah’s usually cheery smile was gone and replaced with a grim expression as we both knew that we’d be lucky to make the next dozen or so miles. We’d been dragging that damn trailer for 250 miles with nothing but problems and I figured that it was finally time to part ways. Jeff said that there was a pretty good bike shop up in Grand Marais so we concocted what turned out to be a pretty simple plan.

We boxed up the bulk of our stuff and sent it ahead via USPS to Duluth in care of Eric at Duluth Coffee. We gave away the trailer to the kind folks at Superior Bikes in Grand Marais and had them rig out our bikes with their least expensive panniers to carry the remainder of our stuff.

So we will be riding fast and light like wild Indians for the remainder of our circuit around the western part of Lake Superior. Wahoo!

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