It has been said time and time again that the work is much easier when we have the right tools for the job. The same rings true when it comes to my transport vehicle. Not only does the Jeep that I got transport people in luxurious comfort, but it pretty much saved my life. I had been warned several times to avoid 285 when traversing between New Mexico and Texas, but this last trip I returned and took 285 at night despite the always constant oil field traffic consisting of heavy machinery and 18-wheelers.
The drive back from this last trip was as expected. I rode along a torn up highway with 18-wheelers barreling past me as oncoming trains sometimes passing in groups of up to 25 in a row with very little spacing between groups. Oddly there was not much traffic headed in the same direction as me, but as fate would have it there was the one vehicle behind me who insisted on traveling at the maximum speed limit on these torn up roads at night when oncoming glare from these high riding 18-wheelers could cause difficulties seeing obstacles ahead on the roadway.
It was because of just this circumstance that I did not see the tremendous pothole just past the entrance of one of the many inlets for the oil workers. Those are always the worst areas of highway. It seems that where the 18-wheelers begin turning onto the highway and accelerating, that is where the asphalt gets torn up the worst. Sure enough a gap twice the width and maybe three times the breadth of my passenger side tire was dead ahead, a stream of 18-wheelers screaming by in the oncoming lane... Zero shoulder to pull off onto in order to avoid the gap, and the one vehicle behind me so close that it was impossible to slow down very much...
BOOM, BOOM!!! I ran dead over the gigantic opening in the roadway at full speed. The car shook violently and all I could think was that this had happened before. I was in a Grand Am GT, it was a 2002. I bent both rims on the passenger side and had an immediate loss of tire pressure because I had burst one of the two tires. My car had run off course because I had an imbalance and was traveling at a high rate of speed. Thankfully this was only a fleeting flashback and the two booms and a quick shudder were all that I experience in my vehicle. It did not hurt that I had JUST swapped out the recently worn out first set of "shoes" for this vehicle and added some stellar 10-ply sidewall reinforced tires made for extreme conditions, but it also helped that I had the Trailhawk version of the Grand Cherokee. The off road suspension is built for a beating.
Although I will never subject my vehicle to this kind of beating again, I am fortunate to have survived this type of situation. The reality is that even in this vehicle I could have quickly been erased by a screaming stream of 18-wheelers after hitting that pothole had I experienced a sudden loss of tire pressure. In this case I did not suffer such a fate and instead I returned with a lot of insight into what it is that I will bring to the table video-wise going forward. Thankfully I already know that my transport vehicle is up to the challenge, even with the occasional extreme pothole thrown into the mix. No matter what the case though, it isn't just the right tools that make for easier work... It is also the right decisions. I will never take 285 at night like that again, and I will certainly consider any alternate route rather than taking the most direct route when it consists of such poor conditions all along the way.
If your path is littered with pitfalls and trouble, don't forget... Vehicle or not, taking the RIGHT path is also the quickest way to successfully arrive at your destination!
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