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Old 08-20-2013, 17:58   #1
mac66
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I Effed Up last week

I was at my hunting property and drove into town about 16 miles to pick up supplies. On the way back I decide to take some back roads i.e., forest two tracks back to my cabin. Was driving a small 2 wheel drive SUV and got stuck in the sand about 5 miles from nowhere. No cell signal, nothing.

The bad....
No winch, no help, no communications, no shovel, soft sand, only water I had was about 16 ounces I found in a water bottle under the seat. Bright sunny day about 80 degrees, no shade.

The good...

I did happen to have a bunch of tools with me including a Ryobi electric chain saw and sawzall and three fully charged batteries. The weather wasn't cold and wet.

The bad...

Took me 7 hours to cut trees, build cribbing, dig sand, jack the car up move it a couple feet and then do it all again. . This was my wife's car and I wasn't prepared.

The good
...
I eventually got out and didn't die trying. I've had 4X4 vehicles most of my life was was fairly experienced with getting unstuck.

The bad...
I was dehydrated and exhausted to the point where I was dizzy and could hardly stand up. I was so groggy and lethargic I could hardly drive. I got a little sunburned and my arms, legs and hands were cramping up badly.

The good...
I got to a store and chugged down a couple quarts of sports drinks and then a quart of lemonade I had back at the cabin.

The bad...
I know someone may wonder why I didn't leave the vehicle and walk out. I happened to have had 6 rifles and a couple thousand rounds of ammo with me. Two of the rifles were high end Ar15s. It turns out that nobody came along but generally if you leave your car in those woods and some locals come by they will break into it, steal everything and then trash the car. I didn't want to leave the vehicle because of that.

The good...

I only did finally get out by unloading everything out of the car including the guns and tools and airing down the tires once I got to less sandy soil.

Lesson's Learned..

Stupid hurts- I was stupid to go back roading in that area with a 2wd vehicle by myself.

Overconfidence can kill you-While I stopped short of the sand, at least I thought I did, I was backing up when I got stuck, I thought I was smart and skilled enough to get myself out of trouble.

Be prepared-Even though I shouldn't have been where I was I could have/should have been better prepared. It wasn't a car I drive much so I wasn't prepared. I always carry a 100ML camel back as a GHB. I always carry a couple of Nalgene water bottles in my vehicles. I always carried a tow strap and come-along (hand winch) in my 4x4s and/or my full size van as well as a shovel, and a good off road jack and cribbing blocks. I always carried a small compressor for airing up tires. I had none of that stuff in my wife's car. Did I mention that I keep a small hand held multiband ham 2 meter radio (I have a ham license) in my GHB for emergencies? My GHB was in my van, at home 200 miles away.

Know your limitations...I am 58 years old, young at heart and in decent shape. However I am no longer ten feet tall and bulletproof. Beside knowing better than to try, I can't do the things I used to do. I should have left the vehicle and walked out to the highway and gotten some help.

And yeah, my wife's vehicle is now equipped with all kinds of stuff in it just in case I get stupid again.
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Old 08-20-2013, 19:57   #2
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Glad you made it out okay. Thanks for sharing the experience. You are absolutely right about overconfidence being a killer. So can complacency. Great reminders.
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Old 08-20-2013, 20:02   #3
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Pro-tip:

Keep rope in 2 wheel drives; Run rope from bumper/frame, around tree back to tire with drive. Wheel spend, turns tire into a winch. Use low torc gears, gentle on gas.

Car will pull itself out.

Last edited by Aceman; 08-20-2013 at 20:03..
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Old 08-20-2013, 20:13   #4
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Good lesson. Glad all is well that ends well. Thanks for posting so we may learn.
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Old 08-20-2013, 20:17   #5
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Glad you made it out!
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Old 08-20-2013, 20:37   #6
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Originally Posted by Aceman View Post
Pro-tip:

Keep rope in 2 wheel drives; Run rope from bumper/frame, around tree back to tire with drive. Wheel spend, turns tire into a winch. Use low torc gears, gentle on gas.

Car will pull itself out.
if you do not have a locker, that will absolutely not work..
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Old 08-20-2013, 20:43   #7
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I am glad that you got out. We are never too old to learn. I am sorry that it was a 7 hour lesson, though. Thanks for sharing that we might all learn!
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Old 08-21-2013, 00:10   #8
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Thank you for sharing.

If telling the story motivates a person on this forum to better outfit his car or to address preparation of other family members' cars, your lesson will have been learned by someone else.
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Old 08-21-2013, 11:16   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mac66 View Post
I was at my hunting property and drove into town about 16 miles to pick up supplies. On the way back I decide to take some back roads i.e., forest two tracks back to my cabin. Was driving a small 2 wheel drive SUV and got stuck in the sand about 5 miles from nowhere. No cell signal, nothing.
Be prepared-Even though I shouldn't have been where I was I could have/should have been better prepared. It wasn't a car I drive much so I wasn't prepared. I always carry a 100L camel back as a GHB. I always carry a couple of Nalgene water bottles in my vehicles. I always carried a tow strap and come-along (hand winch) in my 4x4s and/or my full size van as well as a shovel, and a good off road jack and cribbing blocks. I always carried a small compressor for airing up tires. I had none of that stuff in my wife's car. Did I mention that I keep a small hand held multiband ham 2 meter radio (I have a ham license) in my GHB for emergencies? My GHB was in my van, at home 200 miles away.

Know your limitations...I am 58 years old, young at heart and in decent shape. However I am no longer ten feet tall and bulletproof. Beside knowing better than to try, I can't do the things I used to do. I should have left the vehicle and walked out to the highway and gotten some help.

And yeah, my wife's vehicle is now equipped with all kinds of stuff in it just in case I get stupid again.


You and I are about the same age, but I know that I can't carry a 100 Liter Camelback. Come to think of it, I did not even know they made one that large!
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Old 08-21-2013, 14:33   #10
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You and I are about the same age, but I know that I can't carry a 100 Liter Camelback. Come to think of it, I did not even know they made one that large!
Ok, you caught me, I meant 100MLs, I will change it.

I just thought someone would appreciate knowing that even if you think you know it all, you can get into trouble. If that was a bug out situation and the main roads were blocked and one had to use two tracks and back roads it could have been a bigger problem not being prepared.

As I noted I have a full size van and even though it is not a 4x4 I have it set up with all the stuff I used to carry in my 4x4s including a come along, rope, hi-lift jack (which can also be used as a come along/hand winch) cribbing blocks, shovel, saw, axe, the whole nine yards. I didn't drive it that week because it doesn't get as good gas mileage as my wife's small SUV.
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Old 08-21-2013, 14:44   #11
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Glad to hear it worked out & reinforced preparedness for you. I live in a 536 Sq Ft Cabin that is 9 miles from the nearest small town year-round, so I understand being prepared. Yet, spring before last I decided to go for a little ATV putt to exercise the 4x4 quad after a long cold winter.

Got carried away and ended up stuck in still drifted snow about 3 miles away from the cabin. I walk with a cane & was dressed for only a short ride ( jeans, hiking boots & flannel shirt ), I looked and found my survival box empty ....

" Oh Crap, I moved all that stuff to my Rhino ..."

To my credit I was smart enough to throw a shovel on the rack and the quad did have a winch and a tow rope under the seat. Took me 4 hours to run a series of winch pulls along with shoveling to get out. The drift I had tried to bulldoze through was on the North side of the mountain and was 200' long ...... I found out the middle was 3' deep and soft due to the warming weather & bright sunshine ......

Like you, I re-learned a valuable lesson about dressing properly & being prepared in the back country. It was hard work for an old bad legged FAT man ....

BTW, I have lived here since April of 2000 and really, really know better than to do that ....... No, really ........
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Old 08-21-2013, 16:54   #12
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Very much appreciate you sharing. Something in there for everyone to learn from and glad you made it through the experience.
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Old 08-21-2013, 17:00   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mac66 View Post

Stupid hurts-

Overconfidence can kill you-

Be prepared-

Know your limitations...
I effed up a few weeks ago too.

Mountain biking, broke my wrist.

Learned all the same lessons.

I'll add:
If living from pay check to pay check, don't go breaking your bones.
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Old 08-21-2013, 17:31   #14
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Sounds like you got caught up in a less than optimal PITA situation. ..

..& worked the issue logically to a satisfactory conclusion!

Congrats!

I know of similar situations not handled nearly as well that had a very bad ending!
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Old 08-21-2013, 19:48   #15
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Should have dropped tire psi to about 12-15 psi Probably would have creeped out of your rut.
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Old 08-21-2013, 22:31   #16
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Never go off roading by yourself. Always have a two strap/chain. Always fill up a cooler full of ice water and keep it in the truck before heading out. Always have a 4x4. Guys who don't like getting stuck put their truck in 4x4 as soon as they leave the road, waiting until you are stuck to switch into 4x4 doesn't always work. If you are in 4x4 you can often get through with enough momentum to avoid getting stuck.
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Old 08-21-2013, 22:53   #17
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Good thought provoking post!
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Old 08-22-2013, 09:03   #18
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I don't see this as bad as some of the others.. In the end you realized that you can make it a little easier on yourself in the future but ultimately, you took charge of the situation and got yourself out. Yes you are tired and yes you may have risked injury a little more than you otherwise would have with a little planning BUT.. you didn't quit, cry, give up or make someone else do it. So good job man. The truth of the matter is that we cant always be prepared for everything. You may have been able to be better prepared but the facts show that you were prepared "enough" to deal with it and that a heck of a lot more than most of the people.
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Old 08-22-2013, 13:41   #19
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What surprised me is how tired I got. I've done a lot of high stress, high impact physical stuff in my life and have hit the wall many times but have been able to rest a bit and recover and go on. This is the second time this summer that I hit the wall, totally and utterly exhausted and was on the edge of collapse i.e., call EMS.

I am probably in the best shape I've been in 10 years in terms of health and fitness but man-o-man my age is catching up to me. That's disappointing.
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Old 08-22-2013, 16:50   #20
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Should have dropped tire psi to about 12-15 psi Probably would have creeped out of your rut.
This!

A few years ago I buried my shiny new 4x4 Jeep up to its axles in fine sand waaay down at the southern end of Pismo Beach. After about an hour of slowly making matters worse, a guy in a trashed 15 year old 2WD pick-up arrived and pulled me out. When I asked how the hell he had the traction to do that he said "simple, you should drop your tire pressure to ~15psi for sand".

2 days later, I helped a crew of Park Rangers extract their SUV and another truck (after they had buried theirs trying to extract the first one) from similar conditions using the same trick.
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Old 08-22-2013, 17:09   #21
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What surprised me is how tired I got. I've done a lot of high stress, high impact physical stuff in my life and have hit the wall many times but have been able to rest a bit and recover and go on. This is the second time this summer that I hit the wall, totally and utterly exhausted and was on the edge of collapse i.e., call EMS.

I am probably in the best shape I've been in 10 years in terms of health and fitness but man-o-man my age is catching up to me. That's disappointing.
Been there done that and walked/crawled out to tell the tale more times than I should have.

Its not about your fitness level (as measured in non-stress conditions). Its more about recognising the situation and how you plan to use what fitness you have than how fit you are.

We are all pre-programmed to react to a bad situation by dumping adrenalin and using a burst of activity to fix it. If that works, great but that energy spike only lasts 5-10 minutes. After which you can be totally spent.

What I learned is to use the adrenalin dump only for a very limited period and only if there is a viable "muscle through" option.

You have to make a conscious decision to throttle back and plan for the long haul early - well before you are spent. Then figure out what your critical resource is (daylight, water, heat management, etc.,) then most importantly pace yourself against the availability of that resource.

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Old 08-23-2013, 16:42   #22
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HEY!

Thanks for posting this.

It reminded me of a few weeks ago, out in the woods, flat tire on my 06 GMC 4x4.

I had never actually changed a tire on this truck.....that's what towing insurance is all about.........

It took me about an hour, when it should have taken 15 minutes, because I had to read instruction book......DUH!

I didn't have the "Normal" bottle hydraulic jack & sockets I normally have used.

This thread reminded me to be a little more prepared......NO, a LOT more prepared.

LUCKILY, I had some beer.
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Old 08-23-2013, 18:56   #23
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Yes, you guys are relating some valuable lessons.

Prep - a few years ago experience. driver had bought a 4 wheeler and had spiffed it up. He bragged about having some kind of pump/tank on board that would allow him to refill the tires when we got back to the highway. He made sure that we caravaned in and back 1 hour off road in the Mojave Desert. So, we get back to the highway.

He forget to refill the special tank! So they we creep on about 20 pounds of pressure to the nearest gas station about 20 miles away!

Hilift Jack discussion. I own a hi lift jack, accessories and so forth. I don't go off roading (one or twice in the last 10 years). I have triple A. A couple of months ago, I took a class in hilift jack, just in case someday, there might be a bug out situation. Two weeks ago, I had the auto mechanic use hobby paint under the family car where a hydraulic jack could be used instead of the scissor jack that comes with the car. Using the wrong kind of jack on tabs designed for use with a wimpy scissor jack will bend the tabs.

Lessons:
1. check the equipment periodically;
2. make sure that you know how to use the equipment;
3. emergencies are unplanned events - remember that you are one of the few who tries to anticipate them and have the confidence that you will succeed.
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Old 08-24-2013, 06:41   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aceman View Post
Pro-tip:

Keep rope in 2 wheel drives; Run rope from bumper/frame, around tree back to tire with drive. Wheel spend, turns tire into a winch. Use low torc gears, gentle on gas.

Car will pull itself out.
Cars have open rear differentials and you would need two ropes (one for each rear wheel) to accomplish this if possible.
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Old 08-30-2013, 14:24   #25
mac66
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Originally Posted by bdcochran View Post
Yes, you guys are relating some valuable lessons.

Prep - a few years ago experience. driver had bought a 4 wheeler and had spiffed it up. He bragged about having some kind of pump/tank on board that would allow him to refill the tires when we got back to the highway. He made sure that we caravaned in and back 1 hour off road in the Mojave Desert. So, we get back to the highway.

He forget to refill the special tank! So they we creep on about 20 pounds of pressure to the nearest gas station about 20 miles away!

Hilift Jack discussion. I own a hi lift jack, accessories and so forth. I don't go off roading (one or twice in the last 10 years). I have triple A. A couple of months ago, I took a class in hilift jack, just in case someday, there might be a bug out situation. Two weeks ago, I had the auto mechanic use hobby paint under the family car where a hydraulic jack could be used instead of the scissor jack that comes with the car. Using the wrong kind of jack on tabs designed for use with a wimpy scissor jack will bend the tabs.

Lessons:
1. check the equipment periodically;
2. make sure that you know how to use the equipment;
3. emergencies are unplanned events - remember that you are one of the few who tries to anticipate them and have the confidence that you will succeed.
A high lift jack will mess up a regular car if you don't know where to put it. It can however be used very effectively as a ratcheting come along. The problem with them is that they are big and heavy and don't fit inside most vehicles.

That reminds me to double check my list of stuff to put in my wife's SUV.
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