Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Another One for the Road...

Did I ever tell you about the time that I helped pack a dead woman out of the middle of nowhere? I did? Oh...

Ok... did I ever tell you about the time that we picked up a couple of old folks destined to die? I did? Oh...

Ok... did I ever tell you about the time that I had to go save a guy's wife and kid from freezing to death? I didn't? Oh...

Here a few years ago, my dad and I were feeding our minions up at our field down on the Utah line. Now it was a Sunday, right before Christmas, and as I was feeding I noticed a black 4-runner drive by. It was odd enough that it stuck in my mind. There isn't a lot of traffic up there, especially with a foot of snow on the ground, so to see an outfit that doesn't belong... well... it stood out a little.

Anyway... we finished feeding and went home. Didn't think much more about it.

The next day, Mom and Dad had to do something, so I was feeding alone that day. I had just made it up to my minions and was in the middle of feeding my first load, when I looked out across the meadow and noticed a guy walking toward me on the other side of the creek. This too was a bit askew. He was carrying something in his arm, but I couldn't see what it was. I finished feeding and drove over to the creek bank to see what he wanted.

I drove over there and said "Hey, can I help you?"

"Yeah, I got stuck and was wondering if you could come pull me out."

"Where you stuck at?"

"Do you know where the Piney Cabin is?" he replied.

At this point, I picked my jaw up off of the snowy ground. Yeah. I knew where the Piney Cabin was. It's on our summer range and it's where we camp out when moving the minions around. It's also about 8 miles as the crow flies from where we were at. To walk it, with all of the ups and downs, it was more like 15.

"Yeah... I know where it's at. I've still got one more load to feed these cattle, then we'll go get it."

"Good, because my wife and 2 month old son are still in the car."

Well sh*t the bed Fred! So I sent him around to a bridge that I had to cross in order to pick him up, and drove around there and got him. So he gets into the pickup and the thing he was carrying was a bridle. Oooooook. And his pant legs are soaked and frozen solid up to about his thighs. I turned the heater up full blast and went back and loaded up the second time.

I hurriedly finished feeding and then we were off, but I'm smarter than your average bear. I wasn't going up alone because I wasn't going to get stuck and have to walk out too.

I knew that my cousins were up preg-checking their cattle, so I pulled into their yard and rounded up some help and another vehicle. I told my cousins the story and they said about the same thing I did.

He went into the house and loaded up on lunch meat, potato chips, and something hot to drink, then we took off. It turns out it was a good thing that we took two outfits, mine was a dually and I got stuck and couldn't make it all the way. We had to chain up my cousins 4WD to get there too.

But here's the whole story... as you've already guessed, the black 4-runner was this kid and his wife and baby. He actually had to work like hell to get as far as he did and then he didn't really get stuck... he said he burned his clutch out. That turned out not to be the case, but more on that later. Once his vehicle wouldn't move anymore, he left the wife and baby with one bottle of formula and a small bag of cinnamon bears, and started walking toward our field because he remembered seeing me feed there.

I've always been told that God looks out for fools and small children, and he fit into at least one of those categories. First, he didn't know that trout creek was there, so he walked right into it and got soaked up to his thighs. Then he had to climb up and out of trout creek and over the hills, a climb of about 2000 vertical feet, and then back down the other side, but by now it's pitch black and he can't see a damn thing.

There's only one cabin within 5 miles of where he was walking and you almost have to know where it is in order to find it. He walked right into it. Literally. Head first. So he broke the window on the door and lit a fire in the cookstove and raided whatever he could find to eat and spent the night. Of course all he had on was a windbreaker and tennis shoes, so at daylight he raided the cabin and put on about 3 layers of coats. Then he saw a horse running around outside of the cabin, so he grabbed the bridle to try and catch him and ride out. The horse took off like a shot, and for some reason, he kept ahold of the bridle and walked down to me.

So we finally make it to where his vehicle is stranded and the wife was ecstatic to say the least. I think she said, "I'm so glad to see you guys!" about 300 times. She just knew that her husband had died of exposure and that she and the boy were going to die. So she'd written her will out on the back of a grocery sack, and had kept cutting the bottle of formula with snow in order to make it last as long as she could. She was also smart enough to run the car when they got too cold until they warmed up. Then she'd shut it off so they didn't die of CO poisoning and also to make the gas last as long as she could. I hate to say it, but she was the brains of the outfit.

Now they guy wanted us to tow the car out, so I jumped into the front seat to see if I could get it to move. There was nothing wrong with the clutch. If there were, I'd have been able to put the car in gear, start it, and the wheels would move. As it was... I could go through all of the gears, including reverse with the car already running. The transmission was fried, and that sucker was stuck.

We said, "forget this" and decided we'd better get out of there while we could before the wind blew our tracks back in. Then I looked at the girl. She had a broken leg and was wearing a zoot boot. Great googly moogly. That's just the exact combination you want when you go out 4 wheelin' in the back country. A car with a dodgy tranny, a wife with a broken leg, a 2 month old baby, and no winter coats or shoes of any kind. Oh... and they hadn't told anybody that they were going, nor where they were going either.

Well... we got the frell out of Dodge, and I drove them back to town where I dropped them off at one of their relatives houses. I've never seen them again, but I can't drive by the place they were without thinking about the experience.


Blogger Kathleen said...

Holy crap! Even in Detroit, not exactly unpopulated, I have a blanket or two in the car all the time, plus I carry my hat and extra stuff with me when it's this bloody cold and there's even a threat of snow.

1/23/2008 8:28 AM  
Blogger LL said...

You would be smarter than he was then...

I don't know if he learned his lesson, but I did give him a bit of a lecture. If stuck... always walk out the way you came in. That way you'll have tracks to follow and you'll be on some sort of a road. The odds of somebody else using the road and finding you are far greater than somebody stumbling upon you in the back country. That's needle in a haystack territory.

1/23/2008 8:35 AM  
Blogger fermicat said...

Fate was very kind to that poor sap and his family. But taking the gimp wife and a little babe out four wheeling... I dunno. Maybe Ma Nature is trying to weed him out. He's very lucky you were there and willing to help.

1/23/2008 8:41 PM  
Blogger LL said...

What was I going to do? Say no?

Some people rescue cats, others rescue the less intelligent...

1/23/2008 9:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very brave, great story!

In Phoenix we know not to drive w/o water and something for shade. And that's just to go to the grocery store.

Hey, what part of Id are you? I have relatives in Boise, Eagle, Idaho Falls and Wilder.

Debo Blue

1/23/2008 10:56 PM  
Blogger LL said...

Welcome to the End of the World, Debo.

I live in Southern Idaho, but I have been to all of the towns you mentioned. I'm sure that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Boise, Eagle, and Wilder are all in the same area and IF is in Eastern ID, so... I'm actually somewhere in between.

1/23/2008 11:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're right, I am feeling all warm & fuzzy. But that's because I'm still in the bed :-)

Anyway, I never thought about using ammonia to scare away psycho kitties, I just thought you were being a cat hater


Debo Blue

1/24/2008 10:55 AM  
Blogger ctheokas said...

Dodgy tranny? What the hell are you people up to out there!?!


1/24/2008 1:07 PM  
Blogger LL said...

You blog from your bed? Ok... now I'm officially jealous.

So tell me... how exactly did you find this place Debo?

CThee... what seems to be the problem? Dodgy trannies are not exactly rare out in these parts. Of course neither are dikes and chinks or hoes. You try to stay away from dodgy trannies, but there's a lot of us that use dikes, chinks, or hoes on a daily basis. Truth be told... I used a pair of dikes just this morning, my chinks are in the back room, but I keep my little hoe outside...

1/24/2008 5:17 PM  
Blogger Tink said...


People like that should be fixed so they don't breed! Sheesh. I'm glad you were around to rescue them!

1/25/2008 6:51 AM  
Blogger LL said...

Hey! Welcome back Tink!

The ironic thing is... if I wouldn't have been there to pull them out, they would have been removed from the gene pool. Now they've probably got 4 more kids... *shrug*

1/25/2008 8:48 AM  
Blogger Debo Blue said...

I found you through Fermi's blog.

A long, long time ago my aunt and uncle had a diary farm over in Wilder. After their divorce my aunt moved to Wilder, my ex-uncle moved back to the big city-Boise. Now, my brother lives in Boise and pastors one of the few Black churches there. I usually go up there maybe twice a year.

1/27/2008 2:05 PM  
Blogger LL said...

Few? Hell... I didn't know there were any black churches in Boise...

I guess you learn something new every day.

1/27/2008 6:17 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

This story could be told by my husband again and again and again. He's always rescuing people and even fixing the cars to get them back on the road. At this point, I can't stand it ... even though I know that's wrong. He says it improves my karma and I must admit, I haven't been stuck without help yet. (fingers crossed)

1/28/2008 6:47 PM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

Here in the northeast, where questions of survival come up daily, we never venture anywhere without a package of Ring Dings and a bottle of Yoohoo. I always keep in my car the following articles: dental floss, a corkscrew, a pair of mismatched argyle socks, cross country ski wax, expired coupons for a variety of Frito Lay products, a book on polo etiquette, a guide to Gallo-British heraldry, a well-thumbed copy of "Yes I Can," by Sammy Davis, Jr., Canadian lynx urine (a natural attractant), and, of course, a chart showing the semaphore flag signaling system.

1/29/2008 10:44 AM  
Blogger LL said...

I don't know about the rest... but the heraldry book probably comes in handy!

Beth... I don't even tell anyone about the dozens of times we stop and help somebody out. Just the few that stand out in my mind. The rest are just like your husband says, you help because you can. Not much more than that.

1/29/2008 1:13 PM  
Blogger Ben O. said...

I 'd like to hear about the time you rode bareback across the frozen tundra.

Oh wait, that was me . . .

Oops, sorry.

Ben O.

1/30/2008 8:00 AM  
Blogger LL said...

Erm... was it the horse or you that was bareback? 'Cause that could get mighty chilly on the frozen tundra...

1/30/2008 8:12 AM  
Blogger magnetbabe said...

Wow! That was amazing! What an idiot that guy was. Somebody must have been looking out for him. (Still cracking up over "dodgy trannies" - I love it!)

1/30/2008 5:58 PM  

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