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Sometimes getting back is more fun
Honey did you remember to pack the anchor?
Should have rented the 4wd?

Sometimes getting back is more funTim Constance
My daughter borrowed the Montero to take her friends canoeing. She called me on the cell phone from the bottom of a mud pit. You know how mud is, the ditch only had a little water in it, but the mud was bottomless. I rocked it back and forth and got it moving but couldn't get it out. Oh yeh, another thing - she parked behind a gate that was now locked and it was dark.

Scouted around and found a way to get the TJ a mile or so down the creek - so much for the gate. Strapped the Wrangler to it and on the third snap, jerked it out. I led the way back in the Montero since I knew the way. Got the Monty high centered and strapped it out again. The last obstacle was a climb up a sand/mud bank that was easy to get down - harder to get up. Nice thing about sand and mud is that you can get a running start. The approach was a straight away and then a sharp 90 up the hill. Now I realzed there was a big hump at the turn, that if you hit too hard you'd roll, too slow and not enough momentum to get up the hill. Took a few runs at it and only got 3/4 up. Took a few runs at it with the TJ and got up the second time, bounced it and dropped the front wheel into a washout - another foot or two and would have rolled it into the ditch. Strapped out the TJ and ran it up again. Ran the Montero up as far as it would go and strapped to the TJ again. Three big jerks later and we were all on top of the creek bank.

Usually the Montero saves the TJ, but this time the TJ had the right combination of weight, wheelbase and tires. I know it wasn't the driver, since I was driving both vehicles in the gnarly spots. I could have waited till the morning, but that wouldn't have been nearly as much fun. BTW, the mud flaps tore lose, but are held in by those square plastic anchors. Instead or tearing out, they just push back in. Now if I can just get all the grass and mud out of the undercarriage. I got a digital camera that very day, but didn't bring it since I didn't expect to have an adventure. Only got pictures of the aftermath.

Sorry I didn't get action pictures, but this should give you an idea of what we were into....
 

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Honey did you remember to pack the anchor?BanditX Musta been the full moon... I was going out to my ants beach house in Saquish, the tip of Duxbury beach (MA) at night with my girlfriend and two other girls and 2 dogs... brought my girl and my dog out first (you can only get out w/ 4wd) left her and my dog to start the fire and light the propane lights, open the wine etc, and headed back for the other two and their dog. After picking them up from where they had to leave their car I began my second trip out. All was fine and dandy for the first few miles out to Gurnet point and beyond, but when it came to deciding whether to take the "fun" open side of the beach or the boring back way I made my critical mistake... I had just taken the fun beach way not an hour earlier with my girl and had no problem. The full moon looked so pretty reflecting off the waves that I decided to take it again. Once you make this decision you're committed. Usually at high tide there is a vehicles width of beach left before the dunes, and there is a fence of half buried half length telephone poles preventing access to the dunes. To turn around you would have to turn out into the ocean. You would only get stuck if you stopped to back up, so you have to go for it if there is water infront of you all the way up to the fence. If I had the auxiliary lights I need, I would have seen ahead how high the tide was and maybe been able to back out in time, but by the time little waves were rushing under the truck it was too late.

I had no choice but to go forward skirting the pole fence. The water kept getting deeper and the truck kept sputtering more and more until 200 feet into serious blind water it died... Oh no,...salt water up to the frame rails and getting worse... Ok... what to do... nobody is getting out in the foot and a half of of water and what would be the point? At the time I believed water went up the exhaust or in the carb, now Im thinking wet distributor (wish I had an electric fan I could switch off for water crossing). Any way so what could happen.. monteros float, so either we could be swept out to sea or it could just tip over onto its side because of the three foot waves broad siding the drivers side and the fact that we were already sitting at 10 degrees according to the inclinometer (much comfort to the girls)... sure we could just jump out into the freezing water, but I was not ready to abandon my baby. So I took my keeper strap and lassoed a nearby post (old half length half buried telephone pole) and lashed it around my passenger side pillar between passenger window and rear passenger side slider. This let in the cold night air, but what can you do...it gave us peace of mind. I called my buddy on my mobile and had him look up the tide on the internet. He reported it would be an unusually high tide, due to full moon and spring equinox, and it would be in at 10:17 pm. Guess what time it was? Oh well nothing to do but sit it out. Waves continued to pound the driver side for at least half an hour, splashing over the hood and rocking the rig. I was sure the truck would be buried to its rails in sand by the time the water receded. An hour and a half after the point of no return only every 20th wave was reaching us and I decided to get out and look around. Expecting the worst I popped the hood and got out. To my surprise the 33/12.5 wheels where only buried up to the beginning of the rims (so like 6-7 inches) and less on the uphill passenger side... guess the little light truck's weight was well distributed on its big paws. I lifted the hood expecting to see sea weed where my engine was supposed to be, but again not so bad, wet, but not drenched or dripping... Ok what the heck, I ran down the battery pretty good trying to keep moving, popping the clutch, but I have two and hopefully some charge left I closed the hood, removed the keeper strap, and hopped in, tuned the key... room room roooooom !!! good girl!!! OK not to shab... But this doesn't mean where not walking the remaining mile to the house girls... we may still be stuck. Now I get to try out my new LSD and manual hubs...I drop from 4H to 4L and give it a little gas, balancing my CF DF clutch... eeehehe heee the truck just sorta jacked up vertically like 8 inches and we were free and moving "I luv this truck!!!!" The next day I washed behind her ears at a self serve carwash back in civilization and checked the rear dif lube for salt water that could have been sucked in while it cooled down under water, but it was clean. I don't know if this has taught me a lesson or encouraged me to try more stupid things with a new found confidence in my truck - just need to waterproof my distributor before splashing around in the water again...


Should have rented the 4wd
Tim Constance I went on a surfing safari in New Zealand with my daughter and the 4wd's were so expensive that we rented a Toyota Camry instead. I didn't think we'd be driving offroad anyway so why pay double? One day we drove down to a beautiful beach that had about 100 yds of beach backed by 500 ft cliffs, kind of like Blacks beach in San Diego. I walked down and checked the sand and it seemed really hard after about 30 feet of loose stuff. We drive on most of the beaches in Texas with passenger cars and I have lots of experience driving is sand. The sand looked and felt packed enough to wheel the Camry over it.

I got a running start to clear the loose sand but you guessed it. Got about 29 feet and got stuck. No problem - get out the jack, jack it up, put rocks under the wheels, drive it a few feet back, and repeat. Did that for 30 minutes and realized the tide was coming up fast. I usually try to do everything myself, but knew I needed help now so sent my daughter for help while I continued the jack and rock routine. She found two teenage boys, but their parents went for a walk, wouldn't be back for hours, and took the Cruiser keys with them (smart parents.) I asked them how far the tide came up and the answer was all the way up to the cliffs. The waves were upwards of 15 ft. great for surfing, but lousy for rental cars. Now I started freaking - it was a rental, but we were hundred of miles from a rental office, in a remote area with only a few houses, and it still meant a $500 deductible. The boys started helping me jack and rock while my daughter walked back up to town to see if she could find anyone else. Occasionally a wave would come close to getting the wheels, but just stopped short each time. She found a guy with a Trooper that pulled us out just in time - very anti-climactic. Looking back on it I'm glad we weren't in a 4wd. We could have been miles down that beach, sitting in the truck, getting bashed against the cliffs, and drowned. I'm not usually that reckless, but we all have our bad days.

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Tim Constance
tconstance@usa.net
Date Last Modified: 1/26/98