D&L’s troubles multiply, and the Jeep breaks again…

A few minutes before noon, just as I was getting ready to feed Tobie, I got a voice call from Neighbor D.

Neighbor D just got back home last night from knee replacement surgery. While he’s healing, the plan was for L to do … well, basically all the driving and chores. Which is why his surgery was delayed till she started to recover from her round of chemo. That plan didn’t last the first morning, because L took a header in the barn and broke her hip.

I found them both in the middle of the driveway, with a third guy I’d never seen before. He apparently was there to help D set up some physical therapy equipment, and happily he had some medical training which none of the rest of us do. Unhappily the ambulance was late, and shortly after I arrived D got a call from the dispatcher explaining exactly how lost it was somewhere in our maze of dirt roads.

Tobie and I jumped back in the Jeep and went looking for the ambulance. Enroute I got another call from D saying the driver had directions to a road number that was not only wrong but miles deep in the nothin’. If the driver actually followed the given directions, the ambulance would also need rescue. So I changed routes and charged off into the nothin’ as fast as my ramshackle Jeep could take me.

Faster than was advisable, as it turned out…


There was a bump and a BANG…


…and what seemed at first like a big problem.

There’s nothing really wrong with the shaft, though we’re going to need a new u-joint. What happened, apparently, is that one of the shackle bolts backed off and fell out, and with all my bumping and bouncing the u-joint separated company from the rear diff. The Jeep coasted to a halt, miles and miles farther from home than the old one-legged guy was willing to walk through rough country.

At first I thought I was in real trouble, just when I was supposed to be working on a neighbor’s much bigger problem (wife lying in agony in the middle of a driveway is big.) Then it turned out I could still get the Jeep to go in 4-wheel, it was just now a front-wheel-drive vehicle. While I was gingerly heading back to the bulldozed roads, I got another call: The ambulance had found its way to D&L’s and would I please get my ass back there.

By the time I did make it back I saw a heart-stopping sight: L was not only still lying on the ground but was also apparently unconscious. Turns out the EMTs had knocked her out with a shot of no-pain. And that was good because it took all four of us to get her on a backboard, thence to a gurney and into the truck. She came to halfway through the process, demanding that I shoot whoever was causing her so much pain. I didn’t admit that that would involve suicide.

Then I borrowed D’s Jeep to lead the ambulance on the least-bumpy route back to the county road, and I’ll be doing all the horse feeding for the foreseeable future so I hung on to his Jeep.


When I got home to finish my own designated chore, I noted with dismay that D’s Jeep doesn’t have a trailer hitch. So I took my second-best chair off the trailer and up to the porch, where I’ll wrap it in a tarp for a while. I need to get the yellow Jeep to the shop in town as soon as I can arrange it.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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9 Responses to D&L’s troubles multiply, and the Jeep breaks again…

  1. Mark Matis says:

    Do you have the capability to replace that U-joint yourself? If so, which of these would you prefer:
    https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/jeep,2001,wrangler,4.0l+l6,1373723,drivetrain,universal+joint,2392
    recognizing you wouldn’t get it until the next LL trip to your vicinity…

    Or do you have a cost estimate for the job so your tip jar could be hit?

  2. Joel says:

    I’m pretty sure I can get a u-joint in town. Not sure about a replacement bolt. Won’t know what the job will cost till I limp the Jeep to the shop, and I’m not sure when that will be since D can’t drive right now. I’ll make arrangements with another neighbor.

  3. Tree Mike says:

    Wow, shit be happenin’! I try to think of times like this as “accelerated learning experiences”. Wish I had some extra ducats, you really need em, but alas, I’m trying to keep my own homestead going on not enough money. Things always manage to squeak by. You have some great reader’s(fans) helping out. You’re handling things great, keep it up and good fortune to you.

  4. Terrapod says:

    Joel, in a pinch, any u bolt close to needed size from a hardware store will work for a while, they are usually not grade 5 or 8 but softer steel. Still, putting a pair of those on the U joint will hold if you snug down one nut per side then add a second nut to lock each leg. of the “U” and drive it with a bit of finesse. I have seen trucks in turd world countries fixed with baling wire when a U bolt fails. The spicer universal is probably pretty common,

    Like Marc says, might even be able to overnight from Amazon or Rock Auto. Just sent a new radiator to my daughter from Rock Auto – No one had the item in Chandler AZ, Rock had it and delivered in 3 days.

  5. Stanley says:

    Might want to put some duct tape over the shaft openings to keep dirt out while transiting to repairs (any dirt will be abrasive and negatively affect dust seals) although it’s probably too late now to prevent all contamination, what’s there

    And, Matis and Terrapod are right – replacement parts by internet and brown truck are only a few mouse clicks away. Your “last mile” however…….

  6. coloradohermit says:

    Holy crap! Prayers up for D&L and hopes up for the jeep.

  7. Steve Walton says:

    Wow, this really extends and fills out the meaning of “Shit happens!”
    A heartfelt “good luck” to all of you.
    That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

  8. Mike says:

    Joel, your friend’s broken hip is going to be a while healing up, if it does. It all depends upon the response her body has to the break. One think I do know, your friends are going to need you now more than ever during the next year.

  9. Kentucky says:

    Hate to say it, but . . . it may be getting to be time for D&L to move to town.

To the stake with the heretic!