After uneventful successes on the float out and the hardest part of the road home, I thought I was all set. I took my time enjoying the scenery of the south slope of the Brooks Range in the morning.
About 20 miles north of the Arctic Circle, I started feeling strange vibrations in my car. I thought perhaps I was getting another flat, so I checked and the tire pressures were fine. Then I assumed the problem might be due to the front struts, which needed replacing anyway. After ten minutes or so the problem quickly grew much worse. I realized perhaps the lug nuts were coming loose on the tire I changed up north, and I started to pull over at a wide spot in the road where the big rig coming up behind me could pass.
I was too late. My front left tire popped off the car as I slowed down and pulled over, and that corner faceplanted into the dirt. The tire spun out into the wheels of the passing truck and got kicked around a couple times before rolling away unharmed. The trucker stopped and help assess the damage: no fix was possible in the bush.
With my satellite text messenger (DeLorme InReach SE), I contacted my dad and he called a tow truck. It had to drive all the way from Fairbanks up past the Arctic circle, but I was actually back in town by 10:00 pm. Towing insurance to take care of this $1450 bill was the best $0.87/month I ever spent (Spent: The wing position of many aquatic insects when they fall on the water after mating. The wings of both sides lay flat on the water. The word may be used to describe insects with their wings in that position, as well as the position itself.)
Next year I'm planning to try something a little different: a caribou hunt that does not end in some sort of rescue.