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…

grass_3027eI cannot begin to tell you how wonderful it is to see some GREEN in our landscape.  It’s BEYOND exciting. It’s bliss.

grass_3022 eDash decided he had a green thumb…

grass_3032eAnd cracked himself up.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Try to drive around – very soft at road edges and would definitely bog the ute.
  3. Try to break off ends of tree to provide space to drive around – attempted and failed.
  4. 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….


walk_3034No. Traction. WHATSOEVER.

I felt like kicking things again, but had two little faces looking up at me: What now Mummy?


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…

walk_3043eYup.  Thongs.

‘Japanese riding boots’.

walk_3047eNot ideal for a walk of several kilometres on a lonely gravel road…

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 walked.

And tried to ignore the possibility of snakes.walk_3050e

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).

walk_3055 eAnd as we hit the second kilometre, tried to see ‘fun things’..

walk_3059eLike birds’ nests.

walk_3053eAnd groovy reflections in puddles. (Third kilometre.)

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.

walk_3065eBetween these two shots was a hill. Quite a long hill with a sharp bend and final bit.

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…

walk_3067eThis sign also meant that we were nearly at a main-ish road. A bitumen one at least.

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.

  1. Make sure tools are in all vehicles to allow all drivers to get hubs locked in on old four-wheel-drives.
  2. Do not attempt to save others if your vehicle cannot even save itself.
  3. Wear walking shoes. You never know.
  4. Hats and water
  5. 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?


23 Responses to “Wet walk on the wild side…”

  1. WOW, an adventure & a half! I give you permission to have a lazy (yes I know, on a working farm, there is no such thing) weekend.

    By the way, what happened with the bus? I’m taking it that it & everyone on board was ok?

  2. Oh my – you certainly had an adventure, and a jump start on a new fitness regimen!

    We’ve had an afternoon/evening of severe storms including wind, rain, thunder, lightning, and hail. At least we’ve been spared tornadoes!
    Kelly´s last blog post ..E-readers vs. the real thing

  3. What “fun” one can have living in the country. Could say ” only in the country” but probably not.

  4. Good on you girl – great fun for the kids, great exercise on your weight loss mission and you’ll all get great giggles for many years to come with this story!! xox

  5. I think #3 new rule is the most important.
    “Japanese riding boots” – only for beaches, pool areas and house lawns.
    Well at least looks like you got a pretty good drenching with all the roadside water and some unexpected exercise.
    Rain has gone from BNE today – replaced by sauna conditions! (Yuck – so sticky).

  6. Wishing for rain girlfriend (wink). Lovely wet thoughts from Oregon.

  7. Gosh, this took me back to when I went to school before bus pickups. We rode our bikes 4 miles there everyday but in wet weather Mum would drive us.Then we had to walk home; it was so much more fun. All I can say is ‘at least you weren’t in your PJ’s’

  8. This reminds me of a now legendary family story. We grew up in the bush, my Dad was an on-station ecologist in one of the non-hunting areas near Victoria Falls. One Christmas, when all the family were staying with us, we took a “game drive” to see what we could see. December in that part of the world is the wet season and this had been a WET season. Dad did exactly the same thing, tried to drive round a tree the elephants had pushed over. And promptly sunk the Landy to the axles in thick black mud. A few hours, and many failed attemtps to extricate it later, the sun was setting and there was no choice but to walk down the road to the nearest ranger station. However, when we set off (I’m guessing it was 3/4 adults and us cousins, aged 6 and younger) there were lion pug-marks on the road ahead of us. So fresh the imprints were filling with water. dad had his rifle at the ready and never have Christmas carols been sung so loudly and with such conviction!

    Needless to say, we got home. The landy needed a team of men with shovels AND a tractor to excavate it and Dad has never lived it down!
    Tara´s last blog post ..Adventures in Cloth Nappies. Part 5: Our Laundry Routine & Caring for Your Cloth Nappies

  9. Well nmine is not a car breakdown but when I was about 8 years old (Im now 45) I had two pet goats that we had secured with long chains so they couldnt escape, well you guessed it they escaped and off they ran down the road. Now my parents had greyhounds and not alot of money and we lived on about 5 acres of land surrounded by cropping land north of Adelaide. We only had one car and mum usually got home after it was dark. The only solution was to walk and hopefully the goats hadnt gone far. So off down the dirt road we went Dad me and my brother. We walked for around 4kms before we came across them, luckily caught them easily enough, but we had to walk them home didnt we. Had a couple of local cockies come across us on the way home and my father was mortified as we looked like a right old crazy family on a late afternoon walk with the two goats!!

  10. A HUGE adventure – bet the kids loved it! And think of the conditioning of your legs. You’re doing SO well!
    Fleur McDonald´s last blog post ..Standing on the brink…

  11. Oh dear. At least we had horses one fateful New Years Day…
    jeanie´s last blog post ..Ten things – the whipper-snippers / adolescents comparison thing-ie

  12. The closest that I ever came to that was the time that I was driving home from work and gotten a flat tire. I’m couldn’t get the lugnuts undone. I walked home. It was a long way.

    Tim is always warning me that one day I’m going to slide off the road in a snow storm and be improperly dressed for the walk. I have a tendency to leave the house in a jacket and sneakers. He is a careful man who leaves the house appropriately dressed for the weather.
    debby´s last blog post ..This and That

  13. Gretchen in KS March 29, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    Speaking from experience, in the morning, go slow, but no matter how bad your feet ache, move around some, stretch out your sore calves, and do some GENTLE exercise. Starting out your new exercise regimen this way is… well… the first three days or so will not be fun, but after that, you may start thinking it was worth it.

    I’ve done the “getting stuck” routine, and the “going to town inappropriately shod” routine, and the most recent one, just last weekend, was volunteered to be designated driver, and missed the turn coming home (not MY home) in the dark on a gravel road and overshot my turn a mile or so. Try not looking foolish with two drunks in the car jeering at you. ;-)

  14. It’s not going to school, it’s an adventure. Who needs Indy Jones when BUSH BABE is on the scene.

  15. Oh man, what a day. I bet those little feeties of yours are crying the blues. Such dedication to school-not sure I would have made those same choices. Glad it’s all back to rights again-hand strength is a quality to be envied, isn’t it ?~!

    So glad to see that bit of green and the big old puddles. Happy Rainstorms.
    Lynda M Otvos´s last blog post ..She’s Very Difficult to Resist !~!

  16. Now that is one exciting way to start the day! Glad to hear you did finally get a lift after a while. I bet you put your feet up for a bit once you got back home. It’s wonderful to see the grass showing and the puddles lying around. It’s amazing how quickly the landscape turns green after a bit of decent soaking rain.
    Bushbernie´s last blog post ..The Things You See Sometimes!

  17. A bit late to the party, but soaking your sore feet in hot epsom salt water will make em feel better.
    Yesterday my dear husband had to go to work and told me I needed to move the cows. I reminded him of the heavy rain we received all night while pointing out the rain splattered window. “just put your truck in 4WD, you will be fine.”
    Gathered and loaded cows while ignoring the voice in my head that refused to stop repeating…this is a bad idea. This is a bad idea. This is a BAD idea!
    Put my trusty ol Dodge in 4WD and promptly sunk in the mushy red clay. Did I mention that it was still raining? Had to hike to the closest farm house to enlist the help of a tractor to pull me out. Good times.

  18. Well there was that time I followed instructions and followed the tracks and got bogged having to wait it out until some nice lady came along with a winch which was broken (she knew that then too) who then dropped me at a neighbouring station. Or there was that time when there was a nice new creek made across the road and I didn’t want to turn back to go a different way (again) and gave it a go … that lead to really bogged and being found by the boss at 9pm-ish, and yes I had a uhf but everyone close was in town. Or all the times I locked the keys in the car in my first car or …. Well at least you got your fitness part in for the day. Thanks for sharing and your lessons are great ideas! Glad it is all wet and getting green and you were lucky to get to enjoy it up close :)
    Anne@GritandGiggles´s last blog post ..Mining

  19. Ouch. Andrew (High Riser) sent me to visit, and you have stirred up some memories.
    In a previous incarnation we lived in rural NSW. Which was almost always dry. Except when it wasn’t. On one of those other days my partner skidded on the clay and took out a gum tree. Which took out the car – the roof was level with his seat. He ‘saw it coming’ and ducked and emerged with a half inch cut on his little finger. And a looooong, wet walk.
    Great post – and thank you.

  20. I admire you living in the bush is a real challenge for me as a European person. Take care.

  21. I’m a real city girl and although i love walking and the outdoors living in the country is not for me. I can’t believe you think yourself unfit!

  22. Just think of all the calories you burned Amanda :) Still, thongs.. man that would have made the ‘adventure’ tres difficult!