we decided to take a little detour on our way south and hit a couple more pct crossings and resupply points.  we headed east to see tehachapi and mojave, but missed where the trail crosses the freeway because it was dark and snowing.  we continued east attempting to stay the night at a rest stop and wouldn't you know it, in all of the governments wisdom, they have closed a high percentage of the rest stops.  we were tired, it was late, we just needed a rest, and it was no where to be found, so we had to press on.

we came to a small hwy. intersection and stopped at a gas station to use the  bathroom.  parked along the sides of the roads were a bunch of semi-trucks, so we decided that we could find some place amongst them for the night.  we pulled across the main road onto a gravel road  and as we pulled around back onto the paved road, the right front tire starts making  a loud grinding noise.  at this point i'm tired and just want to sleep, so i keep pressing on ignoring the noise, but cassandra wants me to magically fix it...right now.  i have no idea what is making the noise, i have no idea how to fix it, so i do what has worked best for me in the past, i keep driving and hope that it goes away.  needless to say, this doesn't work for my wife.  i pull over, get out, look at the tire, kick it once or twice, squat down looking for some obvious log in there or something and then get back in the van with no solution.

without many words, we turn around and sleep for the night among the large trucks and head back to the gas station the next morning to the same sound of grinding.  i was really hoping that it was going to go away.  at the station, i crawl under and look better, but see nothing.  cassandra says that there are a bunch of men inside and surely they must know something about vehicles and can help us.  now it may just be pride, but this seems like an attack of my manhood, so i humble myself and go in there and ask if there is a mechanic in town.  (hey at least i went in and asked something)  i came back out, told my wife that the mechanic can't be trusted, so i'll look again.  this time i pull the tire off and just as i am about to look, my wife comes walking up with a big trucker named toro.  he's twice the size of me, so i do anything that he asks.  i turn the wheel for him and sure enough, it still grinds, he gives it a little kick and says some stuff i didn't understand and then says that it might be that there is a little rock in there and that from his angle he can see one.
long story long, i push the little tiny pebble out and make a silent rotation.  unbelievable, this puny little pebble caused so much aggravation and strife, almost ended our road trip and our marriage (well not really the marriage, but it did get heated).  the bible talks about keeping the foxes out of your garden as a metaphor to keeping a healthy marriage, but now i think it should be keep the pebbles out of your tires.

the tire goes back on and we continue south towards the border, another road trip stopper avoided.

sorry this is a long entry, we do eventually get to adzpctko, i promise.