Another great piece Eric. I read it a few days ago.
I wouldn't say shuttle 'disasters', but here a few highlights (lowlights?) of 30 years of shuttling and being shuttled.
1) on the way to Cataract from Idaho. Toyota pickup disintegrated it's tranny in SLC. We then had to borrow a much older and less worthy Toyota pickup that should have blown up but didn't.
2) A friend brought in my rig to Cache Bar and my, new to me, trailer had sheared off a spring perch. A sat phone call to a good buddy in Darby who just happens to be a welder fixed that one. Thanks spider. About the only booze we had left was a handle of rum which mostly disappeared before spider arrived and repairs were completed.
3) Stopped for road construction in the Sawtooth valley on the way to the Middle Fork and my Explorer refused to start again. I am pretty good at bumping the contacts to get the solenoid going again. But no dice. Left it there for the week and jumped into two other rigs. We didn't have the right connection for the wiring harness for the rig that we swapped the trailer to, but found one laying in the junction at the left turn in Stanley. So that was not a disaster, but some sort of shuttle serendipity.
4) Twice I have destroyed bearings on the same trailer. Once on the way in to Boundary. We flipped it upside down on the top of another one and sent it out. I made arrangements to leave it in Stanley, but the shuttle company took it to Salmon had it 'fixed' there and gave me a large bill for the repair.
5) Same trailer and hub. Got back to Stanley late at night after a Middle Fork trip to find the bearing completely gone, like hub starting to fall off. I guess we are camping here. Thanks shuttle company for the sub-standard repair. And I check those bearings a lot. Have to say I'm a little gun shy of that trailer now.
6) Another trailer bearing (not mine) destroyed on the way to the Selway put in. About half way up Nez Perce Pass. Another double trailer ride back out to Darby for new hubs.
7) Not too bad, but hit a deer with fully loaded Explorer pulling a trailer with way too much stuff on it and six people inside. Thanks for keeping it on the road Dave. I know you felt bad, but I didn't. I think the headlight still worked too, even though it pointed pretty far North. Insurance payout was $1,700 and let me afford to go one another river trip that I didn't think I could. Turned out to be my daughters first Middle Fork off the top and it was awesome.
I always insist on hearing from everyone who has to travel that they made it home safe. I got the next day check in from one buddy who was doing the midnight drive home who had fallen asleep, hit a road sign with his mirror, which smashed the drivers side window with basically no other damage. He reported he did not have trouble staying awake after that as it was pretty chilly even with the heat full blast.
9) I was out cruising around Idaho one spring and went to meet some friends coming off the Middle Fork at 8 feet plus. There was carnage for sure. The paddle boat flipped and one other boat late in the day and people were scattered. A couple of them had to camp with another group and join up the next day. They got back together and finished in good form, but I am sure that night of not knowing was hard.
There was another group at the takeout with them that once they saw my relatively empty Tercel wagon begged me to help them. Apparently they had six or seven flips on the Middle Fork and were done. But they had planned on a Middle Fork Main. So their cars were at Spring Bar. So I packed five men and gear in with all my paddle stuff and off we went. I was bouncing off the walls with excitement for the runoff we were having and couldn't wait to get on the water.
And in a 10 hour drive you have to stop a few times. So I would stop at rapids I wanted to see like Sunbeam Dam, Kirkham, Big Falls, Amphitheater Hole and a couple of places on the North Fork. They dutifully got out and stretched trying to be excited with me, but they were over it. So maybe I was their shuttle nightmare.