Wet walk on the wild side…
Yesterday was quite a day. A day to remember. Actually, it’s probably one I’d rather forget. Or at least learn a few lessons from…
Backstory: if you don’t already know, I am currently overweight and very unfit. I haven’t always been this way, but after an accident while I was pregnant with Dash, I had to have three complete knee reconstructions on my right knee (PCL and lateral corners for those with knee know-how) which is still very unstable, and resulted in me taking the easy way out in inactivity over the past few years.
Two big things happened this week. One: I started a weight-loss and fitness program FINALLY. And I have been VERY good with it, and finding a few dozen muscles I had quite forgotten I owned. And two: it rained. FINALLY.
Yesterday I took the kids to the bus stop, as usual when the weather is wet. We were early so took time to take some photos of the puddles and new grass…
He’s a comedian, this one.
Now one thing you need to know about dirt roads and rain, is that they can become a little trecherous. Slippy. Slidy. Boggy. Unfun.
So when our school bus was 20 minutes late, and when I couldn’t raise the driver on the two-way radio I imagined the bus slid off the range along our red gravel road, or bogged… so I decided to go for a drive. And maybe take the kids to school myself if necessary.
We had just driven down a steep range when we came across a tree down over the road. I could see a vehicle (I assumed it was the bus) had driven to it from the other side, then reversed back down the road again.
I stopped the ute (an old and fairly gutless dual cab that is usually used just to potter around the place) and contemplated our options.
- Reverse up the range – impossible with ute’s lack of ‘grunt’. Also, if I didn’t keep it exactly on track and started sliding, quite dangerous.
- Try to drive around – very soft at road edges and would definitely bog the ute.
- Try to break off ends of tree to provide space to drive around – attempted and failed.
- Try to turn vehicle around with lots of short turns on gravel and head back up the range forwards – hmmmm.
I reluctancly went with option 4. Attempted to put ute into low range 4WD – unable to get hubs in (darn my girly level of hand strength). Kicked tyres. Didn’t help.
Attempted 240-point turn. ALMOST made it but then clay on tyres building up on tyres creating lack of traction stopped any further progress.
Gathered as many sticks as possible in front of and behind vehicle to create traction. No solid result.
Decided to try for option 2.
This was the result….
I felt like kicking things again, but had two little faces looking up at me: What now Mummy?
Well kids… ADVENTURE TIME!
That’s came out of my mouth anyway… my internal conversation was a little less sunny. Especially when I remembered what footwear I had on…
‘Japanese riding boots’.
We took my camera (hey, I wasn’t leaving it in the car for someone to nick – on the off-chance someone I didn’t know came down there!) and the kids’ school bags and started walking to school. I am yet to actually measure the distance from our stranded car to school but it would be close to 8km.
And we walked.
And laughed off the curious steers that galloped down to the http://taminternational.com/cheap/ fence to inspect us. (At least we did after they skidded to a halt at the fenceline).
I was thanking the Lord it was overcast but not quite raining.
I certainly hadn’t thought to bring hats (remember, I was only originally going to our bus stop!).
And I was cursing myself for failing to have breakfast before leaving home.
I had two backpacks on (one slightly lightened after I removed a huge fishing almanac from Dash’s bag, which he refused to leave behind and carried seperately) and was wearing thongs on bruised feet (gravel isn’t kind on feet through 1cm of soft rubber). I was not stopping to take photos up this hill!
At this point my heart was almost pounding out of my (unfit) chest and sweat was pouring down my back and from my elbows.
And my legs were about to do this…
A USED road.
We could HEAR traffic.
Then I started worrying about who would come along, and hoped for a local that I knew.
Someone drove by and waved. Exhausted and bemused, we waved back. They kept driving.
Right. We needed to look more ‘in trouble’ obviously.
A purple ute pulled up with a lovely young lady at the wheel. I grinned the sweaty relieved smile of a woman on the point of collapse.
I think I said thankyou about 32 times. The kids just revelled in our groovy ride and the fact that walking those last 4km was no longer our challenge.
We arrived here, one and a half hours late but safely.
Mr Incredible came to my rescue, having just walked into the house when I rang from the school.
He chainsawed the tree, got the hubs in (with a little bush bloke effort) and drove the ute out. (Which made me fume at myself even more).
And while my ego and bruised, aching feet are still recovering, and my calf muscles and toe muscles (hey YOU trying walking a few km on rough roads in thongs) may protest for a few days yet, I have learned a few things.
- Make sure tools are in all vehicles to allow all drivers to get hubs locked in on old four-wheel-drives.
- Do not attempt to save others if your vehicle cannot even save itself.
- Wear walking shoes. You never know.
- Hats and water
- Have breakfast before leaving home.
So that was my walk on the wild side yesterday.
Make me feel better… have you done something silly with a ‘stranded’ story to share?