18 February 2007

4x4ing

I had a frightening, yet wholly exhilarating, experience yesterday in the Jeep. Everytime I go see Lukeman and co I look forward to doing a little off-roading. He lives out in farm country and right by his house is a race track. The parking lot of this race tracks abutts some trails, powerline access roads, and a huge field with giant mud puddles in it. I'm sure all of this is off limits to idiots like me who want to go splash through some puddles and drive around in the woods. So far I have been safe and discreet.

Well, yesterday the snow was melting a little and this meant that the ground was wet and sloppy out by Lukeman's. I tore it up in the field and then went to try to get a new radio installed (a whole disappointing debacle of a corporation trying to not take my money). After I left the Best Buy I headed to Luke's. On the way I spotted an access road for a new fleet of condos (there goes the neighborhood), and decided to investigate.

So, up I go, clicking the 4 wheel drive in, and eager to see if there were puddles or any muddy slop to get into. I like having the Jeep look like it's been doing Jeepy things. As I drove to the top of this access road I could see into the upcoming development: a road, a bulldozer of some kind and more piles of dirt. Nice. So over the top I go.

And drop the Jeep off a 3' cliff. Or at least the front half. The resulting bang alone should have had Emergency Service vehicles headed my way. It sounded like a car accident. I stopped with the Jeep on about a 45 degree angle, nose down. I tried to drive off the hill, but the back left tire was in the air. The back right tire was on dirt and sand, but the back bumper and bumperettes (you can see them beneath the spare tire in the top photo) were still sitting on what was left of the top of the cliff. So I jumped out and gave a hearty push. Nothing. The mouth was dry and my bones felt like they were made of Jello. I got up behind the Jeep, standing on the top of the ledge and pushed as hard as I could, and slowly the Jeep slid off the sandbar.

Deciding I had had enough for one day, and that I was lucky to be able to get the Jeep off at all, especially by myself and without a shovel, I headed down the road that the construction guys had built. At the only intersecton I could see houses and a real road off to the right. Off to the left I could see the road I had left to get to the new construction. So I went right and almost immediatelly realized I was in more trouble than I thought. They put up a gate and built sand hills all around the perimeter (probably to keep idiots like me from tearing up their site). So I turned around, hoping to avoid being spotted by the neighbors. Back to the intersection to find that straight ahead (what was a left turn originally) didn't access the road at all, and was in fact quite far away. I should have realized this since I didn't see it on my way past the site in the first place. And without jet power there was no way I was going to be able to get out the way I came in. I was trapped.

I quickly went through a gear list of what I had on board: dirty laundry (one bag); two recently-purchased books of poetry (the Norton Shelley's Poetry & Prose and Everyman's Library's Poems of the Sea; two hoses for Redwing's head; a bottle of water; and my work bag (pens, a pencil, and a few of my notebooks).

I thought of my options and this is what I came up with:
a) try to break the gate
This might/not: break the gate, constitute vandalism (to add to any potential trespassing charges), or break the Jeep

b) try to create a big enough gap in one of the sand hills near the gate to get through or over
I didn't have a shovel, or even a piece of board

c) call Lukeman (home with Rick and the kids)
I didn't know where the hell I was or even how to describe how I got here in a manner in which he could find me. I didn't know road names or any landmarks and I was mostly invisible from the main road I came in on.

d) call the cops
Not seriously considered because: 1) that's something someone from Wussbaggia would do; 2) I'd be in deep shit with the law dogs once they finally showed up; and 3) I didn't know where the hell I was or even how to describe how I got here in a manner in which they could find me (and still suggest I found myself here by accident or in an other legal manner). I didn't know road names or any landmarks and I was mostly invisible from the main road I came in on.

e) try to navigate the woods between the site and the road, if I could even get into them.
Offered the most hope, considering the cirumstances

So I drove around for a second trying to find a spot to enter the woods and I spotted a trail that pot-smoking kids (or as Selena noted, more likely crack addicts from the nearby trailer park) must have blazed (get it) before capitalists needed lebensraum. I didn't fail to note that at the cliff, if you looked at it fast enough and from the right angle it looked like the Jeep dropped in from space, the tire tracks appear to be just coming out of nowhere. Oh, wait, that is what happened.

I climbed the very high curb and tried to make my way out on the trail. Unfortunately it narrowed to the point to where I basically had to drive through the deep leaves and sand of the woods.

No problem! The Jeep is tough! We (the Jeep and I) popped out onto the road and tried to look normal, and headed right to Luke's without any more detours.

4 comments:

Mustapha Mond said...

That sounds like an awesome little adventure. Scary at the time, but it put hair on your chest.

Olman Feelyus said...

Sweet story! 'froadin'!

a stowaway said...

i wouldn't have been able to resist it, the access road, either.

dsgran said...

well, you got a good story out of it, mr. toad!