Thursday, July 12, 2007

"Just Back Up Over That Tree!"

When we last left our heroine and her faithful companions, they were starting on a long, slow ride in the back of a sheriff's truck, away from a jeep our heroine thought she might never see again.

The sheriff dropped us off at our campsite with nary a lecture, and we moped around (or at least I did) trying to figure out what the hell we were going to do. We had trapped the Jeep on a path that couldn't even be called a road; there was almost no track, meaning that anyone we got to bail us out would need both a car that could get back there AND a towing winch.

We took a walk down the camping road, more for something to do with Titan than for any other reason, and lo and behold: we saw a great big rig with a towing winch being loaded onto a trailer. The three of us looked at each other, and agreed that even though they (the people with the four-wheeling rig) appeared to be leaving, they were our only shot, and we might as well try. As we approached, I asked the LT to ask them, and he looked at me. "You'll have a better chance," he said, a serious compliment to a woman who hadn't showered or combed her hair in four days.

We approached. I had no idea what to say. How DO you ask strangers to give up their plans and drive forty minutes up a mountain road to bail YOU out?

I stated our case, finishing by saying, "So, I was wondering if you could drive us back up there and help us tow out my Jeep."

The two guys looked at each other.

"Sure," the driver said, the sweetest sound I had ever heard. "We can do that. Give me a few minutes to set up and come on back."

LT, Dave and I ran back to our campsite with Titan, tied him back up, and ran back down the road. We did our best to make ourselves useful and complimented everyone effusively, and before too long, we were riding in the back of another pick up truck, pulling a four-wheeling rig behind us and praying the Jeep was still there.

Me, standing next to the rig that became our savior. The guy who owns it is under it. Notice the pretty sunshine and how cold I am--the mountain altitude bites through a sweatshirt in a hurry.

The rig, in position, with the winch.

LT and I watching the Jeep's progress. Notice how the rear passenger tire is actually floating. This is NOT optimal.

After a few minutes, we realized that the ground under the Jeep was so soft that, as the winch pulled, it was simply eroding the ground under it, not climbing back on TOP of the ground as we hoped it would. The Jeep was just scraping out the hillside like a big shovel. This was putting extra stress on the winch and compromising our leverage, none too strong in the first place. New steps had to be taken.

The guys backed their rig up OVER a tree, to solidify its bracing, and someone had to get in the Jeep and steer--and apply the brake--as the boys rearranged the winching. That someone was me. LT offered, but it was my Jeep, and if it was going anywhere, I was driving it.

LT giving me helpful instructions like, "Let the clutch out veeerrrrry slowly. If you pop it, the sudden stress on the winch could--although it's unlikely--snap it."

Coming around...

Success! (No picture.)

Posing with my rescuers, and my boyfriend.

Off the mountain WITH Jeep.

And that, ladies, and gentleman, is how you get the donkey to come down the minaret.

Moral of the story: don't get the donkey up there in the first place.

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