The Scenario:

You and a buddy arrange to go trout fishing on a favorite isolated stream. You load up your two-wheel-drive wagon with all your fly-fishing equipment, a cooler full of canned soda, food, and ice, and a second cooler of ice for the fish you plan to catch. The spot you’re after is about 25 miles off the highway, down a drivable but pitted and rocky dirt road. But it’s worth the trek, as the stream itself is a shallow meandering slice of paradise, with perfect sand and gravel bars punctuated by whitewater zones of stream-polished boulders that always make for the best fishing. And, as expected, the day of fishing goes great — at least, that is, until your friend slips on a wet rock and falls hard, breaking his arm.

The Challenge:

The immediate swelling, pain, and developing bruise tell you it’s a nasty fracture that needs real medical attention. But your friend is still able to walk back to the car, and you assure him that help is only a short drive away. When you get back to the car, though, you discover that one of the front tires has gone flat, with a tear in its side, probably from a sharp rock. Like most people, you haven’t checked your spare tire in as long as you can remember — and then you realize that you took it out to check it … and never put it back.

You know the vehicle will never make it out on this road on only three tires. And the sun is getting low, meaning night will be here soon. Your friend trusts you to get him out of here, but he’s looking more pained and concerned by the minute — and you’re worried that if left alone for too long, he might go into shock. So what are you going to do?

Here’s what you’ve got:

In addition to everything mentioned above, you have a sharp and sturdy fishing knife among your gear, as well as a basic tool kit in the car: hammer, screwdrivers, wrenches, Swiss Army knife or Leatherman tool, duct tape, etc. And, though you don’t have a spare, you do still have the jack and wrenches needed to change a tire. Do you have a cellphone? Of course. Does it work this far out? Of course not.

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Lee D. Zlotoff

Lee D. Zlotoff is a writer/producer/director among whose numerous credits is creator of MacGyver. He is also president of Custom Image Concepts (

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