Friday, February 28, 2014

STUCK! ... HELP! ... (REALLY!)

So, into every life a little rain must fall.  And I guess into every dry camper's life a LOT of dusty sand must fall, too, and I drove right into it.

Yesterday late in the afternoon Katie and I took another walk and right near us someone had pulled out that day.   There was a perfect site for us.  Level, near the road, near the front of the Hot Springs area closer to the dumpster and vault toilets (for my family next week, if needed), and surrounded by large bushes, so a little privacy.

Excitedly, I went back to The Palms, took in the hummer feeder hanging in a bush nearby, and started the engine.  We drove around our neighbors and into the great site on the other side of their rig.  And into the sand trap.  Here's the front passenger tire:


But the real problem was with the rear passenger tires:


As you can see in the bunk window, we were having a beautiful sunset - yes, it was getting dark and we were stuck for the night.  This is the first time ever I couldn't have "escaped" if I needed to.  Thank fully we are camping among a very friendly group of RVers and had nothing to fear.


Front tire:


I noticed my neighbor outside bringing in his awning and I walked over to get his view on the situation.  He suggested digging out behind the rear tires, making a ramp, then pouring water on the area to damp it down and make the dust more solid.  At that point it was dark, and we both went home.

I immediately e-mailed Bea and Peter and asked if they had any suggestions.  I was going to try the neighbor's idea in the morning, but wanted a "spotter" to yell if I was digging myself in deeper so I'd stop.

Then I went on the Internet and searched for solutions.  I did a copy/paste from a few different websites to save as a Word document just in case this ever happens again.  The good stuff I got was that after digging out the trench/ramp, I could put a carpet piece down on the "ramp," or even the floor mats from the truck, material side down.  That sounded like a good idea, and I've heard of that solution before.

I got a couple of e-mails back from Bea, and she said they would be down around 8 am to assess the situation.

I set my two alarms for 7 am so I'd have time to dig before they got here.  After a surprisingly sound, though tilted, sleep full of good dreams, I woke up at 6:30 and got up right away. I had some digging to do.

This is what it looked like after I was done digging.  The tires on the other side were on solid ground, so they were okay.


A bit of a tilt - surprisingly, once I knew this was it for the night, the tilt inside The Palms didn't bother me at all.  I guess I subconsciously knew "it is what it is," and if I couldn't do anything about it, I might as well accept it.



This is my telescoping shovel - actually a small spade - but it collapses into a small tool and fits in my closet.  And it works great.  All metal, so no wood to dry out.


And Four Dollars???  If you don't have one, you've gotta get one.


In the morning, Peter arrived - and he had a big, solid chain that someone found out in the desert and loaned him.  He found a good spot to attach it to The Palms, then....


Attached the other end to their van.


I got in The Palms and started the engine, put it in neutral and sat there, waiting.  Peter started the van and slowly, slowly moved forward - in my imagination.  But in reality the van didn't move forward.  It started digging a hole with the rear passenger tire even though he seemed to be on solid ground.  The van just wasn't strong enough to pull The Palms out, I guess.

Next idea was the carpet.  So while Peter removed the chain, I got out my new $10 Costco carpet to lay under the rig, behind the rear tires in the ramp.  The photo below shows the rug, it's a "runner," so it's longer than a normal carpet piece and I thought it would be a longer area for the tires to grab and keep going.

This is the rug:



I went back into the cab, started the engine, and put it in reverse while Peter moved the van back out of the way in case I was able to reverse out and then he positioned himself so he could watch the tires and carpet and also be in my line of sight.  The articles I read said to move slowly, and if you started getting traction, keep going - don't stop!  I slowly pressed on the gas and we started moving - YEAAAA!  I kept moving and WE WERE OUT!   I kept backing up until we were on solid ground.

Thumbs up to Peter, and thumbs up right back at me.  :)   I got out of the truck and looked at the tire tracks. The rug was bunched up like an accordion in the rear tire hole, but it didn't wrap around the tires, thank goodness.

What a great feeling!  I was so stoked, and Peter had a huge smile on his face, too.


That's when I noticed my neighbors standing next to Peter. I hadn't met them yet, but they had come over for moral support and bearing a piece of lumber in case I needed it.  Thanks, Jim and Maryon!  Peter got back into the van and went home, where Bea was probably wondering what was going on.  Thank goodness he went home with a good report.  Maryon and Jim stayed for a while and had a really nice conversation. When they left to walk over to their rig, they said, "Well we haven't solved all the problems with the world," and I said, "Yeah, but we solved MY problem!"  :)   Very nice neighbors!

I got into the truck and backed up further to the hard packed area behind our site and moved The Palms over to the other side, where there's a nice, level, hard packed drive-through which is in the midst of large bushes and opens up on the motor home entry door side to a large "living room."   Perfect.  I filled the hummer feeders and my homemade dorky seed feeder and put them out and within hours I had some Costas hummers and some White-crowned Sparrows.

There is also a little critter here in our area - it's either a Prairie Dog or a light colored squirrel.  My camera battery was charging when I saw him, so I wasn't able to get a photo.  That's usually how I identify critters, snap a photo, blow it up big, and then look it up.  So, I'm waiting to see what he is, but I'm thinking a light squirrel, the color of the sand.

So - this is our new, and I hope last, campsite here at Hot Springs LTVA:



Around 1:00 after resting up and fooling around inside The Palms for a few hours, I went outside with my rake and leveled the area where we were stuck.  It's quite an eyesore in the middle of one's campsite.  With all the hard packed ground surrounding this area, though, I decided top put my American Flag in the middle of the soft sand area.  Just in case.  Maybe someone else driving over to visit, or just driving too close, might be saved from the indignity of getting stuck in the sand!

And now...  it looks as if it never happened.
 

Yeah, it never happened, you know what I mean, it never happened?  Yep, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.  :)

And here's the sunset on that fateful evening, very pastel:


From me and Katie - have a great Friday, everybody!  :)

38 comments:

  1. Well, it's not like you drove off into a ditch or something, as there was no way to see if it was soft right there. Good for you for keeping your cool. It's easy to get rattled in those situations. So you not only have to "keep it between the ditches", but on solid ground as well.
    Enjoy your day.

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  2. Yup - Been there - done that. My first year on the road when I had my Class C. Guy comes along with a honkin' big chain and a honkin' big truck and I was out in no time.

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  3. Out and safe and sound. Is your muffler, etc okay?

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  4. Alls well that ends well! Its good to be surrounded by good helpful people.

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  5. Does your critter look like this?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Round-tailed_ground_squirrel

    They're all over the place in Tucson this year. They appear to be exceptionally well fed.

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    1. Yes! I think that's what he is. I got some photos yesterday and will post them. You can see for yourself, but I think the Round-tailed ground squirrel looks about right. Thanks, Allison! :)

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  6. Glad you were able to get out. It didn't look good.

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  7. When we lived full time in a big rig, we always put the jacks down onto big chopping blocks to stabilize them. We learned this after having a situation similar to yours! The blocks were $10. each at Target, but they probably were worth their weight in gold! While not a perfect solution in your case, it might have kept your tires from sinking so far down and provided something of a good surface for getting yourself out.

    Virtual hugs,

    Judie

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  8. Good job....many people wouldn't think about looking on the Internet because their mind is stuck in panic mode. I've seen some good YouTube solutions to many a problem dealing with our previous Class A and now our Class C (some call it a B+). And with your posting it just adds to the data of solutions for people to try. sure glad you got it out of there. By-the-way, Skruffy is officially a Service Dog now, living in the Condo with us. :) --Dave (GoingRvWay.com)

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  9. Smart girl for extricating yourself that way! Thanks for posting - it's a lesson for all of us.

    And aren't you glad if it had to happen it was in a safe place with helpful people around?

    Whew!!!

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  10. Dang, you had a busy, tiring day, but at least you got unstuck and into a better, more solid spot. Putting that flag up was a good idea.

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  11. Like I told Peter - one of the best things about this life is that people will come to your rescue in any way they can. I am so glad you got out of there with no damage. What did Katie think of all this stuff going on?

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  12. Oh My! never had that happen before! Glad you were able to get unstuck!

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  13. When I first got my big fancy pants 4 wheel drive truck.... I backed up into soft sand and high centered it in a ditch... at dark.... with no tools (I hadn't yet packed the new truck) It was a humbling experience for sure!! I ended up calling my Good Sam Towing Service and they had me out in no time. I however had a bruised pride.... I definitely liked your plan to deny it ever happened.... Lessons learned ARE PAINFULL!

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  14. ^5! You did an amazing job of researching, keeping your wits about you & using the available resources! Well done! Would you put a link to the shovel on your blog--we will definitely be ordering one of those from our pals at amazon. Thank you!

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    1. Thanks, Dawn! I went on-line searching for the trowel I have. I don't remember where bought it, but thought I'd leave a link as you asked so it could be purchased through my site.

      The ones I found, which looked and sounded exactly the same as mine, were much more expensive and had terrible reviews All "one stars." So I guess I can't recommend my trowel. I've used it in dirt before, and this was a very dusty sandy material that I was stuck in, but I haven't given it a good workout in hard soil. Sounded like the reviewers on Amazon.com had it break on them - so, sorry. Look around, though, in person at various stores and you should be able to find an affordable one. :)

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  15. So glad to hear that you "didn't get stuck" and it never happened! Always a good thing to avoid. Happy that you've found such a nice new site there, too. It looks wonderful. Give our love to Katie.

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  16. You did good! Sand sure can be a lot worse than mud or snow!

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  17. You have to stop taking lessons from Sue! LOL
    Glad you didn't let it upset you and got out ok with no damage. Other than maybe a tiny bit to your ego.

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  18. Impressive! Especially for something that never happened . . . ;)

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  19. You handled all of that really well!!!! Way to go!!!! So glad you were able to get out and settled in a harder more packed area!!! I like your new site..and its level!!! :-)

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  20. You are the only one that has gotten stuck out in the BLM. We've had to assist with two others around Pilot Knob. Thank goodness Peter was close to help.

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  21. That was supposed to say you "aren't" the only one who has gotten stuck ...

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  22. Glad you were able to get out...nice to have neighbours willing to help if needed.

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  23. Everything's been said, but I'll add my "Way to Go!" For figuring out your own solution!

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  24. Great job, not everyone would have stayed so cool and collected about the whole problem. You were exactly right to sleep on it and tackle it in the morning.

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  25. That is such a "sinking" feeling when you get stuck. Be thankful it was only sand and not mud, like we did in Flagstaff. Glad you got out fairly easily!

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  26. It was very fortunate that you had others nearby that were offering their help. Sure beats being stuck in the middle of the desert with no one around for miles.

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  27. Funny how predicaments in a stick and brick are upsetting, but are adventure and an opportunity to meet new friends in an RV. Glad you got out.

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  28. Attitude....makes a difference. I remember the Escapade in Sedalia back in (2008 or 09?). Some people were throwing a fit about all the mud and how they were stuck, other people just waited for the tow trucks. Way to go!

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  29. Good morning, Barbara. I've clicked twice on your most recent post & I get a message that the content does not exist. Is that a problem on my end or yours? I was looking forward to reading about your granddaughter's new business venture.

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  30. Oh girl. Most of the time all l can think is how jealous I am of your travels. This time, I'm glad to be at home reading about it. You did good though - faced your problem and solved it. Way to go.

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  31. Wow.. you did really good!

    I think i will look for a little shovel like that!

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    Karen and Steve
    (Blog) RVing: The USA Is Our Big Backyard
    http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com
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