The damage was pretty bad. My rim was horribly bent. The steering rack was once again split in half and this time the passenger side mount had been ripped off the cross member. The brake line was destroyed and so was the CV axle and the bleeder valve on the brake caliper. I knew that I needed my dad. We had just gone through this and we knew how to fix it and how to trailer it. But he was 500 miles away back in Wyoming. It would take him at least a day to get to us.
We had to decide the best way for him to get to Frankenstein as there was no room for him to turn around close by. So the options were have him drive 10 miles down the highway more and 10 miles on dirty to just drive in facing the right way. Or, take the shorter route and back the trailer up to Frankenstein for a mile.
We sent lead-foot Ben off to Lolo to call my dad to bring a trailer and the FRV, the only rig we knew of that could tow Frankenstein the speed limit. He set off in a cloud of dust and a phone number to make the rescue call.
Then Mike had a good idea.
Using my shovel we placed it under the lower ball joint. Timmy held on to the handle to semi “steer” Frank and Mike got in his rig and pulled me while I used the clutch as a brake to not kill Timmy. Using this method, we dragged Frankenstein about 20 yards down the road to a sort of wide spot to get him off the road with plenty of room for my dad to either pull by or back up to. The shovel barely had a dent in it after. Quite the shovel!
We then jacked up the truck and put some wood under the lower ball joint and Frank was good! At least good enough for me to camp in. We then set up camp, right in the middle of the road. Luckily it was not a popular road so this wasn’t a major issue, butt we had no place to go really. So I took my frustration out on splitting logs and we had a fire in the center of the road before long.
Ben finally showed up with a rather humorous story on how the phone call went. It went something like this:
Ben: ”Hey Steve, this is Ben, from Tacoma world?”
Dad: ”Oh yea! Hows it going, bud?”
Ben: ”Not…not great. We need you to come tow Monte. He broke another lower ball joint on the trail.”
Dad: ”………………….Are you kidding me?”
Ben: ”What? No sir, he broke the other one this time. We are at the end of the Lolo and he wants you to bring the trailer and everything from last time. Its real bad. Worse then last time.”
Dad: ”I told him to replace the other one! There is internet proof! I posted it on the internet!”
It was a great bit of humor to hear in the situation and to me really was nice to hear my dad having a bit of a sense of humor about it. Anyways my dad said he would leave the next morning and would be there sometime in the afternoon. Despite my frustration. We had another fun night under the stars. It wasn’t the worst camp site. Then again it never matters when you are with good friends in an great place with good drink and a campfire. And an awesome dad for that matter, one that I can always call out SOS to and know he will always respond.
The next day was a slow one. Very slow. It was a day of waiting. Luckily Timmy came prepared and taught us how to play dominos. And for some reason Ben was very good at, which bothered Timmy. Eventually we wasted enough time away for Ben and Timmy to hop in Bens truck and head off to Lolo to try and meet my Dad to show him the way to Frankenstein. Mike and I stayed and blasted some tunes from Frankenstein while monitoring my HAM radio waiting to hear from my dad.
Over the fire the night before we were all pretty much decided that Frank was out for the count. There was no coming back from this in the few days we had till our scheduled run up the Morrison Jeep trail. I had been pretty adamant about not riding shotgun as I had done that before the first time Frank broke and I could barely stand it. Everyone else was set on me coming but we hadn’t come up with a compromise yet as I wasn’t to the point of being ready to ride shotgun for the next week and no one wanted me to drive their rig after the track record I had been building up this summer.
Can’t say I blame them…
It turned out Ben had spotted my dad driving down the highway towards the Lolo and they passed each other on the highway. Luckily, Ben recognized my dad’s rig, the FRV, short for The Frankenstein Recovery Vehicle, but its pretty easy to spot too, especially with a trailer.
Of course it wasn’t the first time my Dad had been sucked into a tacoma meet via me breaking stuff. So he was rather jolly about being out in the hills and showing off his truck. It was great to see him. We sprung into action getting Frankenstein on the trailer as we had a lot of ground to cover to get to back home to Powell.
Overall, it went pretty smooth as my dad and I had just done this a month earlier. The “technique” of winching up a wheelless truck was still fresh in our minds. Mike Timmy, and Ben all stood back and let us do our thing lending the very much appreciated hand when needed.
Amazingly, we had Frankenstein out of the woods within an hour of my dad showing up. Now it was the real test of the FRV. We had just regear the FRV so the 34” tires weren’t as big an issue as last time we towed Frankenstein. However, the mountain passes we were about to cross were going to put a strain on the supercharged beast.
Needless to say our caravan of Tacomas led by the trailered Frankenstein got a lot of looks as we drove through Lolo and Missoula, MT. And continued to on the interstate. It was all rather humorous.
The good news is that Frankenstein is now repaired, and back on the trail.
You can read the full SOS thread on the Expedition Portal thread [HERE].