It's been raining off and on around our neck of the woods for several weeks now. Yesterday (Tuesday), things finally caught up to us.
I hopped in my truck, truned it on, and watched as Shan pulled her van forward through the yard and tried to make the right turn that leads up the hill. And then I watched her go nowhere fast. Nowhere except DOWN into the ground beneath the tires.
As the rain fell, I tried to get her unstuck, but it was no use and we were all running late at that point, so everyone hopped in my truck and off to work/school we went. The rain kept coming and coming. Flash flooding broke out all over the state, and schools were sending their kids home early. bus routes that normally take 45 minutes were taking two and a half hours, if they were completed at all. The roads were washed out, trees were down from sinking soil, cars thought they were boats (and were proven wrong).
I was working at a district inside an all-stone structure, so I missed the many calls from Shan, asking me to come get her from school. By the time I got done at the district, she had decided to ride with Valerie and take the kids on to gymnastics for the evening. Tyler and I would get her van out of the mud.
That was the plan, anyway.
Shan's Dad was home when Tyler and I drove up and we talked a little about how to get the van out of the mud. He got called out to work on some of the county roads, so Tyler and I ate supper then headed outside to see what we could do. I picked up the ramp Shan's Dad uses to load his four-wheelers into his truck and I placed it in front of Shan's front tire. A little back and forth and I managed to move the van. Notice I did not say "free the van." I moved it from one stuck position to another.
Tyler and I pondered that for a few moments and eventually Shan's Dad came back. At some point during this, my Mom came out to help us. We tried to push forward, backward, whatever we could do, but nothing was working. Finally, Junior (Shan's Dad) called a friend to see where we could attach a chain to the vehicle. We opted to try and pull the van backwards onto "drier" ground.
Junior got his tractor behind the van, hooked up the chain, and hit the gas. There are no good words to describe what happened next, but I will try. The back tires spun in place, churning up mud. As he tried to remedy the situation, Junior alternated driving the tractor back and forth on the ground. This only made the tires dig deeper into the ground. He tried to use his front-end pick (I have no idea what it is really called, but it's a spear with which he can haul one round bale of hay), to add leverage to the situation. This simply made holes in the ground in front of him while the wheels spun in the back, and the tractor sank lower and lower into the ground.
By this time, Shan's Mom (Kay) came out and asked if that was where we had decided to put the swimming pool. I think we are halfway there!
Finally, tired of ditch digging with tractor tires, Junior called Janette's husband, Bill to see if he would bring his four-wheel drive tractor to get everyone out. A few minutes later, Bill came up with his tractor. We debated quite a while before finally agreeing to hook up the front of the van to the chains. There is a bar that runs front-to-back under the fornt end of the van, but we weren't sure if it was something that could be pulled on. We were about to find out.
We had about 50 feet of various chains linked together between the van and the tractor. Tyler and I were covered in mud and muck from our varied previous attempts, and from putting the chains in place. It was still raining, and everything felt like we were walking on recently-Zamobinied ice. Tyler hung in there though. Junior said, "That's the most work I've seen that boy do since he got here!" It was good to see Tyler was earning his keep in Junior's eyes. It's always good to know you've done something that makes your grandpa take notice.
Bill looked at me and said, "I'm going to ease you out of there. You won't even know I'm pulling you." I didn't see how that would be possible, given just how stuck the van was. He was right. I got behind the wheel, put it in drive and pushed on the gas. At first, the van didn't want to come out the mud. It liked being there, all wet and cool and all. This was no time for a spa treatment! Without so much as a lurch, I slowly came forward, then slowly came up out of the ground as I moved, and finally, I could drive on my own. It was as if I had driven out all by myself.
We got the van out of the way, and now it was time to get the tractor. Bill backed up and we hooked Junior's tractor up, then got out of the way as Bill pulled forward and Junior made the tractor tires spin backwards. He was doing his own version of the moonwalk, only he wasn't going anywhere. Bill's tractor lurched, and suddenly he was no longer restricted by the weight of the other tractor. The chain had tightened, then like a piece of thread, it snapped! Those of us watching saw what was happening and we got out the way fast! The chain broke at a weak link. Luckily, the tractors were not going fast enough or pulling quite hard enough to make the chains do much slinging about, so no one got hurt (or even touched).
We got rid of the broken chain, and Bill repositioned his tractor for another go of it. This time, Junior's tractor pulled out of the mud backward. As it did, the front end dipped down into the valleys made by the rear tires. I thought the whole front end was going to fall into some abyss! But, Bill kept pulling slowly, and Junior's tractor came with it.
Bill had saved the day! Junior said he would take his bucket loader and smooth things out after the ground dried up. I said, "You mean in March?" And we both chuckled a bit. He said, "We sure made a mess," to which I replied, "Yeap, but we sure had fun doing it!" We sure did.
Tyler took pictures with is phone, so I hope to post those sometime soon.