With the truck well buried and dusk upon us, I took the flashlights from the truck, made sure I had all my winter clothes on, and then Maisy and I headed out, on foot, back to the property. The snow was still coming down heavily, and there was already about an inch of fluffy stuff on the road I had just plowed. By the time we climbed the hill to our driveway, it was completely dark out.
When I dialed Mom and Dad's number to check in (just shy of my appointed two hours), Mom said, "You sure cut it close!" My reply was, "Well, I walked as fast as I could!" ;) So, my wonderful daddy promised to come to the aid of his only child and said that he should be out in about 1 1/2 hours (1/2 an hour to get ready with all the gear he might need and then an hour to drive out). That would put us at 7:00 p.m.
With what I figured was plenty of time, Maisy and I headed up to the trapper cabin for some food and drink for both of us. I didn't take time to build a fire - only melted some water on the propane single-burner. On the two-mile walk back to the garage I'd had plenty of time to put together a plan. Driving the 4-wheeler back out to the truck was the main part of this plan. However, GETTING to the 4-wheeler was going to be the problem I hadn't thought about.
After eating a snack and feeling a bit better, we headed back down to the garage to uncover the ATV and get it out. There were, however, a minimum of 24" of heavy snow sitting on every bit of the tarp that covered it. Then there was the small matter of the snowbank of plowed snow between it and the driveway from when I'd make my first plowing pass only hours before. Oh, and did I mention that I couldn't find the key for it, either?
After a few trips back and forth between the trapper cabin and the garage to find the key - and no small amount of shoveling to uncover the 4-wheeler - I had it running and warming up. Now, how it get it out without having to shovel more? (That should have been my clue: the "easy way" NEVER works!) No problem, I thought. I'll just throw it into low, hit the gas, and we'll pop right up and over the snowbank. So, I threw it into low. I hit the gas. We popped right up and ONTO (not over) the snowbank with all four tires off the ground, spinning away while the light machine sat, hung-up, on the snowbank. Okaaay, then!
Guess what? More shoveling (a lot) followed. Finally, the 4-wheeler was out, and I was ready to load up. I had a can of gas strapped on the back along with two buckets - one with ashes from the stove in the trapper cabin, and the other with sand (but which was mostly snow since the sandpile was frozen hard) to provide some traction under the wheels of the stuck truck. I dropped the plow on the 4-wheeler, told Maisy to follow me, and away we went back down the driveway and out the road. Now, mind you, it's still snowing to beat you-know-what, and, as I was plowing with the small plow on the 4-wheeler, the snow from that was flying up and over the top of it . . . directly into my face. (I just wanted you to picture the level of comfort we're dealing with here.)
We get back out to the stuck truck, and I begin shoveling again to make as much progress as I can before my dad arrives. Then, the shovel breaks. In half. ["FOUR LETTER WORD!"] AAAAAGHHHHH! Okay, breathe . . . I'll just put gas in the truck - do what I can. I unlock the gas cap, tip the gas can. Glug, glug, glug (good) . . . shsssssssss (bad). WHAT? It's spilling out onto the ground! What the . . . ?! Okay, breathe - we'll come back to this.
Meanwhile, I don't have my watch on, but I'm thinking that it's past 7:00: when my rescuer was due. Might be a good idea to plow the rest of the road as well as I can with the 4-wheeler and meet him on his way in. So, I put a pooped Maisy in the truck and head out again, falling snow and plowed snow battering my face and squinched eyes.
I am nearly to the main road when I see Zoey, my folks' dog, coming down the road. Then, not far behind her, my dad on foot - carrying a small banker's box of supplies. Huh? Where's the truck? Hollering, "I can't stop!" I plow past them both and out to the main road where I see his truck . . . snugged in the path I shoveled through the 5' high snowbank many hours before. He's been stuck and shoveling for the past half hour! His truck is now free but there's no way he'll try driving in in these conditions. Hence his hike in to help me. Ugh.
So now, with both dogs waiting in their respective suburbans, Dad and I load the both of us onto the 4-wheeler along with his box of supplies and another shovel balancing across my knees. And, the ever-present snow in our faces, away we go down the 2 miles to the truck.
Seeing the situation "fresh" again and knowing there is no second truck with which to pull me out, I suspect that we will have to leave the plow truck (stuck) and ride the 4-wheeler back out to the road where we'll leave that and then Dad will take me home. Thinking this, I realize that I have left lights on and everything "open" up at the property (previously assuming we'd soon be returning to it once the truck was out). So, leaving Dad to do more shoveling in the dark, I once again head out - back to the property - on the 4-wheeler to close up. By now it must be late, I haven't eaten any real food since my English muffin for breakfast, and I've had just about enough of this snow being forced into every crevice of my head and down every gap in my clothes. I make the 4-mile round trip as quickly as I can (with yet another shovel balanced across my knees), but I feel like I've left my poor dad out slogging in the snow forever.
When I get back to the truck he has good (falsely positive?) news. "We'll get it out," he says with assurance. We shovel. We shovel some more. Then he says, "Well, let's give it a go. Do you mind if I drive?" DO I MIND? PLEASE DO!!!!!!! He gently puts it into reverse. He softly steps on the gas. The tires grab. The truck moves. We're making progress! Then the tires start spinning. We stop.
We shovel some more. And more. Both our backs are breaking. We're snugged between the leaning side of the truck, in the ditch, with a whole lot of snow next to us . . . trying to shovel. Finally we have the truck completely clear again. We've removed snow down to the grass and twigs. We use the precious little ash and sand we have, and I throw handfuls underneath the tires. Dad gets in the truck and repeats the ever-so-careful process. This time, the tires keep grabbing, and slowly, slowly . . . he backs the truck all the way out onto the solid road! I am speechless. Happy beyond words! In his ever-quiet way, he gets out of the truck and says, "Well, I think we got it." In mock hysteria (or was it?!), I fall at his feet, throw my arms around his legs, and say, "Oh, thank you, Daddy! Thank you, thank you, thank you!" (That gets a little smile of satisfaction out of him.)
But now, with three vehicles and two people, we are outnumbered.
With the plow truck on level ground (there had been an air pocket) I try pouring the gas into the tank again, and it runs smoothly in. We are both wet and exhausted and climb in. (Oh, had I mentioned that the driver's side door stopped closing during all of this, and I have to now hold it shut with one hand while I try to plow one-handed?) So, plowing as we go, we head back out to the main road and Dad's truck (the only place to turn around). I rig a rope to somewhat hold the door closed, and we then drive (plowing, of course) back in to where we'd left the 4-wheeler. We clean everything up, Dad jumps on the ATV, and we both drive up to the property where we park the machine and call Mom. Then, it's back out to his waiting truck again and down the 12 miles to our house where Miss Kitty has been locked in the house all day and not gotten her 5:00 meal. And, the chickens haven't been closed up. We do a quick version of chores and then both head down the slippery highway into town.
Dad turns off at their driveway while I continue in to town to fill up with gas - thinking all the time of what junky food I'll buy at the gas station for dinner. When I pass the credit union's clock I almost fall over: it's 11:57 p.m. No wonder I feel the way I do!
I pull into Mom and Dad's on my way back out of town because I learned, during our panting breaks from shoveling, that they haven't been plowed out yet. Fortunately, a friend did come by in the evening and plow their driveway, but their yard is still full of deep snow. I make a few passes and then Dad, who was out doing his own late chores, takes over and sends me in the house.
Mom has stayed up to bake two pans of blueberry-raspberry muffins, and I can't shove them in fast enough. I am too tired to even relay the day's experiences. I call Tom to calm his worried mind that left 8 messages at home before finally calling Mom at 11:00 p.m. Dad comes in and Mom says that she ought to take a picture of the two of us because we look so awful. I finally, with more thank-yous to my dad, wearily head home.
The cold house needs a fire started, and the chores need to be finished. When I'm done with that I start eating my dinner - gas station pizza fresh out of the oven - at 2:00 a.m.
See what fun Tom missed out on? Oi vey. "There's never a dull moment . . . ."