Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Day 9: Oh Lovely Mud
It was the middle of a very rainy spring which was following a very snowy winter. To say that it was muddy outside was an incredible understatement. I'd been traveling the dirt roads to my parents home since before I was born. I knew these roads forward and backward, in the dark and with my eyes closed. I knew where every mud puddle, chatter bump and large stone were in the road. But...I had never, in my life, seen mud like this before.
As the last stretch of pavement came to an end, I stopped the car. At this point, I had two choices. My house was on the road that was directly in front of me - that is, if I could have driven straight ahead, through a mile of thick forest, marshy swamp and a small gravel pit. To get there, I had to turn and go the three miles around the block. I could go to the right, the path most traveled, where I knew every dip and bump like my own face. I could go to the left, the path less traveled, where I knew there was always a wet, swampy area that encroached on the road in good weather, but the rest of the path was a more smooth passage.
These were the days when a cell phone resided in my glove box for emergency use only. I had used it exactly three times in as many years. My boyfriend was coming home from college with me for the weekend. He knew the roads well also, having made this trip many times himself.
As we sat, stopped at the end of the pavement, we looked at each other. Neither of use could believe what we were looking at in the road. It was as if someone had left the sprinkler on in the sandbox. For a month. The mud looked deeper than any I'd seen on any road before. Being the "man" of the situation, my sweetie hopped out of the car, grabbed a stick and started poking to see if he could determine which way I should turn based on the depth of the mud. Both options were equally terrible.
I decided to pull out the emergency cell phone. I called my parents and assured them that yes I was fine but that I was stopped at the end of the pavement and couldn't decide which way to go. I honestly thought that it didn't matter because I was sure I would get stuck in the mud in either direction. My dad assured me that I would be fine. Turn right and take the normal route. Don't go too slow or you will get stuck. Don't go too fast because the mud will pull you around on the road and you'll end up in the ditch. You'll be fine, he said.
I looked at my boyfriend, "How about you drive? Dad says it will be fine as long as you don't go too fast or too slow."
Not a chance, he said. He absolutely didn't want to be the one responsible for getting my car stuck in the mud. So, I took a deep breath and floored it. It was three full miles of mud-spraying, fighting-with-the-steering-wheel action. There were muddy trenches to stay out of, puddles that looked like small ponds and ducks swimming in the ditch along side of us. But we made it!
As we pulled onto my parent's road, I was finally able to loosen the white knuckled grip I had on the wheel. Our eyes must still have been huge when we arrived home because my mom and dad both burst out laughing when they got a look at us. I vowed to stay home until summer. I was NEVER driving again until the mud dried up.
The next day, my parents decided we should go visit their friends for the afternoon. The friends who lived about four miles away, over the same muddy stretch of road we had just traveled. My dad said since my car did so well in the mud, we should drive that and since I did so well managing the roads, I should drive. I didn't say a single word. I'm sure my face said everything that was needed as I handed him my keys and climbed firmly into the backseat.
He laughed at me and climbed into the driver's seat, all the while shaking his head at my craziness. We were able to make it to their house and my dad made every effort to be sure I knew the road wasn't really that bad. If you were an expert driver, like him, then it was really no big deal. He delighted in telling everyone about our faces after we managed to drive through the mud the day before and spent a great deal of time picking on us throughout the afternoon.
When it was time to leave, Dad offered to let me redeem myself by driving home. I, of course, declined, but the mud was nothing that my dad couldn't handle, so he was happy to drive. We piled back into the car and off we went. On the way, I told him in that one certain extra nasty point, I had tried to stay to the right side because it looked slightly more firm. He just shook his head and told me he had this under control. He went to the left side.
That was his one fatal error. We were immediately immersed in mud as deep as the center of the hubcaps in my little blue Cavalier. At this point, I suggested pulling out the ol' emergency phone to call for help. He decided we better just get out and survey the situation. He was sure we could push the car out of the mud.
The mud thought otherwise.
The car sat so deep into the mud that the bottom of the car was resting in it. And, since we were all out of the car and standing in the mud anyway, we might as well just walk the last mile home and get the truck to come pull it out.
If driving in deep, sloppy mud wasn't wonderful enough...now we had the pleasure of walking through the ankle deep muck. Good times.
When all was said and done, it took two trucks, a tractor and 6 men to finally get my little blue car out of the mud. My dad was kind enough to give my car a topside wash in the yard that day and sent me home with $10 so I could get the super duper underside car wash on my way back to school the next day. I may have been kind enough to give him a few little jabs about his amazing mud driving skills.
And yes, I was able to make it through the mud to get back to college the next day...without getting stuck.