As we rolled down into the Twitya River Valley, the trip nearly came to an abrupt and final end. We were a tire valve away from a helicopter evacuation, a fix so simple, yet impossible without the right stuff.
We were almost at the Twitya River when we hit the steep, cut banks of a small tributary. Wanting to get to our destination we hastefully pulled out our ramps and casually drove them down. They seemed secure but “seemed,” we soon learned, wasn’t good enough.
Mike drove his quad to the ramps, but at an angle, as we later realized in the video. Normally we¹d ease the bike down in neutral, but in a rush, overtired and hungry, we weren¹t entirely clear. Mike punched it. The quad rolled. Both went ass over teakettle into a bush, which broke Mike’s fall and the quad, too.
A tire was flat. We righted the quad. I immediately dropped to my knees to look for cuts on the sidewall. We had no spare wheel, as I had used it when I unseated a tire a few days before. There were no gashes, but the valve was gone, leaving a gaping hole in the rim of the tubeless tires.
We panicked. I said “oh no” forty times. Mike was white-faced and pacing. “Let’s find the valve,” I said. “If we can find the valve, we might be okay.” It seemed like a needle in a hay stack, but then amazingly, I threw away a rock and there it was. A little bit of color seeped back into Mike’s face. With a Leatherman, I got the valve back in the tire.
Still a little shaken up we drove over the large rocks of the riverbed and had to winch out several times. My winch broken, this involved Mike riding ahead, tying off his quad, and running his winch to me. We ended this long and stressful day at the bank of the Twitya. With the midnight sun slowly setting, we both hoped things we get a whole lot less memorable.