Thank you to a few good Samaritans....
I try to be prepared as much as possible as I too have experienced near disasters when traveling with the boat. Spare drain plug, spare tire with wheel hub and bearings, bearing grease, full size auto jack and a small tool box go wherever I go when pulling the boat.
Also kudos to the dealers that helped you out. Its rare these days to find dealers that would drop everything to take care of a walk-in customer needing emergency repairs.
So I went to Tires Plus and got new tires. Issue fixed. Very happy that it wasn't bearings. Much less expensive to get new tires.
And catching the bearings on the Ranger when only 5 miles from home and about 3 miles from a dealer? What are the odds of that? A buddy of mine just emailed me and says those kinds of issues usually happen in the absolute middle of nowhere.
So yah, bad things happened, but thanks for many, many good people along the way, we managed them.
Food for thought. The next time anyone sees something "fishy" about a wheel on a trailer, don't be afraid to tell the driver. And when at a launch? If something isn't going right, offer to help. Could be that your experience helps diagose a problem and lead to the solution.