I’m up well before the sun and sit on the front steps of the cabin watching the dogs play in the dim early morning light. The air is very warm for this time of year and smells.. of spring, strange for January. I go back into the cabin, light a fire and climb back upstairs and back into bed. The phone rings. Unknown Number. I answer, and it’s B calling from far up north. He wants me to bring up more tools and supplies for a project there. “YEA!!” I reply, a little bit too enthusiastically. I get up and start putting on layers, rescue mission, rescue mission.. I keep repeating happily. It’s not a rescue mission, but I feel important. Cabin-girl to the rescue!
I head to town and pick up sandwiches and snacks from the cafe and pop by the shop to grab the tools and supplies needed. The mechanic is at the shop and asks me to find a dozen of two kinds of giant sized screw looking things that have names I can’t remember. I didn’t even know what they looked like. Following the description I set out to find two dozen needles in a barn full of hay. I totally freaking found them. Next, go rent a cement drill from the hardware store. Yus and I strut in that hardware store and we mean business. “Hi, I’m looking to rent a cement drill & a 3/4″ bit,” I ask. “I’m not sure if we have a 5/8″ bit,” replies the kid behind the counter. “I said 3/4” I respond with a hint of attitude. Cabin-girl means business.
I finally get everything together, fuel up and head out with a post it note filled with confusing directions and radio channels, copied from a napkin of even more confusing directions. I’m a bit warm in my unnecessary amount of layers and roll down the window. The napkin gets sucked out the window and flies God knows where. “NOOOOOO” my heart nearly stops. I quickly realize I had copied them onto a post it note and from here on treasure the post it note as if it is my first born child.
I get to checkpoints quickly and am able to follow the directions. I’m doing damn good for never having been here before and making great time. I feel the water and coffee pooling heavily in my bladder and I look over at Yus, of in which is also doing the squirmy “I gotta go now” dance. I think about marathon runners that pee their pants. This makes the pain worse and I look for a pull-out to stop at. This road, is not maintained like the road I usually travel. This road, has sneaky pull-outs. Sneaky pull-outs that look fine to drive on but really are snowbanks pushed too far over, with nicely graded snow hiding a foot or so of soft ditch. Long story short, I slowly pulled into the ditch.
At this point I started going through phases.
1st phase. Denial.
2nd phase. Anger.
3rd phase. I’m sure someone’s close..
4th phase. Defeat.
I stare at the rain pouring down the windshield and pray for a miracle. Someones got to be worried by now.. right? I always thought if I was ever broken down in the bush or stuck that I would feel crazy anxious. I was surprised at the calm I felt and felt a little bit like I was at home? At home deep in the snowy, rainy woods.
I find a shovel in the truck box and start attempting to shovel myself out. I put the truck into four low and make a strip about 5 feet long on both ends of the truck in attempt to get the ditched wheels back on the road. I work at this for a while and realize I’ve been stuck for two and a half hours at this point. I feel as though I’m close though and get so consumed in my shoveling that I don’t notice a pick-up pull up behind me.
What looks like a Dad, Mother and son pull up beside me and tell me what a horrible place this is to be stuck. Hardly anyone travels this bit of road. They look like they’ve had to do this too many times before and have a system sorted out. Son pulls out and attaches chains while Dad backs the pick-up to mine. Both father and son have piercing blue eyes and both look like they’d rather be home, deep in the forest. Mom doesn’t leave the truck.
7th phase. Freedom.. ?
I get back on the road and I watch their pick-up disappear ahead of me around a corner. I go to put the truck back into four-high and realize the truck is stuck in four-low. For real. I tried every trick I know to get it out. Foot on the brake in neutral, shifting into reverse and driving slowly backward. Driving quickly backward. I did everything but get out and do a dance for the four-high Gods. Nothing.
Well. Let me tell you, the rest of the trip in four-low took a very long time. I took the scenic-scenic route. I get onto the second last road of my journey (finally) and hear B come over the radio.
“Okay I’ll meet you at 65”
I hesitate, “okay”
*10 minutes later*
“Go ahead there”
“Uhmm… I’m stuck in four low.”
“*Huge Sigh* ..You have to come to a complete stop.”
“Yea, I know that.. I’ve tried everything. ”
“Alright well I’ll look at it when you get here.”
*20 minutes later*
“Ok I’m going to meet you at a closer junction.. see you at 59.”
We meet at 59 and B sees that it really is stuck in four low. We get on the satellite phone with the shop’s mechanic and ask him what we do. B has lunch (dinner at this point) ready for me and the sight of food makes me happy. I devour lunch and watch B work on the truck, trying to desperately fix this strange phenomenon.
“Okay.. is it back in four high?” he yells from underneath the pick-up.
“YESSSSS!!!!” I’m so relieved.
We chat for a bit as the last bit of light leaves the sky.
“Well there is a bit of a view here.. if it wasn’t cloudy.. ” says B.
Soon I’m back on the road headed home. A mere three hour drive. On getting back in the truck I find the cinnamon bun I had brought up for B from this morning. I’m so excited I forgot to give it to him, and really enjoy working at that the next 40 kilometers.
I finally get home and it’s almost 9:00pm. Not as late as I thought I’d be but not as early as I had originally hoped. I go to bed almost as soon as I get a fire going and in the morning pack up to head out to the road I’ve been working on.