johnny February 3rd, 2009
Internet connectivity has been spotty, but not as spotty as the sides of the truck. About a week ago, we stopped overnight at a horse trail in the national forest just off the Natchez Trace. On pulling in, we saw a rather deep looking mud puddle and in our infinite wisdom, decided to try and keep the truck clean. A few words of advice: in Mississippi, if the road looks bad, the ground around it is awful. Fifteen feet off the road, the ground sunk in bad enough that we needed to put the truck in 4WD and lock the hubs to get out.
Now this is the point where everybody tells you that 4WD allows you to get stuck deeper in. The smart course of action, would have been to back out. However, I looked at the ruts we’d already made and looked ahead. No big deal, just a little 10″ deep ditch. Nothing the truck can’t handle, right? At this point, the ditch, with water running through it, somehow, looked better than the foot deep mud behind us. I guess everybody that’s spent much time in the mud is giggling about now. I hadn’t taken into account that a ditch, WITH WATER IN IT, is likely to be at least as gooey as the ground around it.
So, long story short, another fifteen feet of driving put us in quite a bit of nasty crud and the poor, overloaded truck refused to budge any direction but down. I got out and started digging in some hope of flattening the area out. Jenn decided it was a great time to snap a picture. Women! I can’t fault her too much though, by the time the night was over, she did her share of digging.
Did I mention this was within sight of the highway? One of the good ole boys driving past decided this was good, cheap entertainment and pulled in to help us out. About this time, we discovered that the rear cargo carrier was pinned and was perhaps the cause of the problem. We jacked the camper up and were able to wiggle out the cargo carrier. However, by the time we ran the jacks back up, we’d sunk a bit lower. By the time the truck stopped sinking, we were a hair’s breadth from the fuel tank resting on the ground.
Well, Billy ran home to get his 4WD Bronco and we kept digging. We dug trenches under the tires and filled them with gravel we stole off the road. By this point, the rear jacks were in the mud. We dug trenches for the jacks. Eventually, Billy got back with a Bronco he uses for hunting that looked like it had actually sunk in quicksand and smelled like he’d spent the afternoon picking up three day old roadkill. After half an hour or so, we decided that no combination of the Bronco and our truck was going to budge us from that damned ditch.
Luckily, Billy had an ace up his sleeve. He called a buddy, who happened to run a tow company, who sent a different tow driver over since he was closer. While we waited, I made up a liter of whiskey for Billy to thank him for his time while Jenn kept him entertained talking about hunting. I’ve got to say, it was one of my best bottles yet and Billy and I enjoyed a few shots before and after the tow truck arrived.
Said tow truck, made the whole operation look trivial, of course. Hook up a winch, turn on the motor and two minutes later, you’re on dry ground. Jenn and I were actually considering a winch for just such occasions, but we never ran across one that was a reasonable price. Perhaps, it’s because we were looking for too big a winch. Anybody have an idea what size winch you’d need to move a 7 ton vehicle with a bit of help from the engine?
Oh, the total cost for the nights ‘entertainment’ as Jenn puts it? $45 and a helluva a good bottle of homemade whiskey. Jenn still claims it was the most fun she’s had since we hit the road. Women!