Thursday, 7/22

We went into town last night to cool off after dinner and have a cold drink at my favorite place, Old Skool Brew pub. Unfortunately, when we pulled into camp, Jason got out and heard a distinct hissing sound from one of the truck’s tires. What to do? Not much. Made sure it was parked on a level spot for tire changing duties in the morning.

Got up early Thursday morning and got to it. Struggled to figure out where all the tools secret hiding places were but soon enough got going. Definitely did NOT set any speed records for tire changing but got done. Felt like it was going to be a hot day again.

We had breakfast then headed into town to a tire store I’ve used before. Rolling Rubber certainty took care of me again. Dropped off the flat and mentioned like to take the truck with me into town for a coffee break. The nice counter person said, no, just leave it here; you can take our “puddle jumper” just don’t fall in love with it! Very nice of them to just hand over the keys to their vehicle so we didn’t have to walk the 1/2 mile into town. They fixed the flat, removed the spare I had put on, put spare back under the truck and mounted the tire back in place. Here’s the ride I was not to fall in love with –

While doing a few chores in town I noticed that the gas gauge showed much less than zero gas left. So put $10 worth in the tank and went to collect our repaired truck. When she heard me mention that I threw a little gas in their car, she would not accept any $ for the tire repair. Absolutely would not. She handed me the zeroed out invoice that was only $22.95 for all that they did. So very kind. Thanks Rolling Rubber! I offered to trade straight up, my truck for her little orange car, she declined.

We drove back to the ranch, heated up and went back to the established dig site. We worked hard to remove a wall of overburden as we worked “back” into the hillside to see if any more bones happen to be here. After 2 or 3 hillside removal sessions we started to explore at the newly exposed bone layer and we found more! Appears to be several more bones beginning to show. So cool. We started hearing rumblings in the distance and darker skies growing. Jason has cell signal on his phone and could see a weather report that looked a little ominous. He nicely walked back to the truck to roll up the windows while I contemplated our next best move. Rain won’t melt us, we have shade covers and tarps to protect the newly exposed bones – what we don’t have is the ability to drive on the rough trails and to climb hills in my truck once the local soil trails we drive on get wet. The soils are a clay-like substance called “gumbo.” Once wet, the gumbo is more slick than the worse ice I’ve ever driven on in Indiana. I’ve been stuck out on a ranch before in the rain with no ability to get my 4-wheel drive vehicle to move an inch! Do not want to go there again. So I gathered tools, covered up the dig area and as Jason & I headed out it started to rain, then rain harder, then the wind blown rain started at us completely horizontally. We left! Got back to camp just fine but felt bad for Jason having to jump out in that driving rain to undo then redo 2 gates on our path back to camp.

Back in camp after the rain had stopped – still pretty ominous skies. Heard on the local radio station about 70+ mph winds & hail in the general vicinity. We did fine and just relaxed around camp for the rest of the evening. Weird to sit in the camper with the windows rolled up tight and listen to the thunderous rain fall on the roof. First real rain I’ve witnessed since I got here on July 10th. The rain is a blessing so badly needed by everything and everyone out here. (I’m not supposed complain to anyone about being rained out from fossil digging – ranchers need the rain!)

Me relaxing during the storm and …

… Jason posing with his new prized possession – coffee mug from my favorite coffee shop in town (while sucking in his tummy!)