Getting Unstuck in Arizona

The day dawned cool and a a little wonky feeling. Then I remembered. I was sleeping the other way in the bunk to have my head uphill in the sort of level spot I was sitting on, having gotten stuck last night. I wasn’t sleeping anymore at that point – was already thinking about how we were going to tow my rig 400 feet back to the known solid ground at the entrance to area we were in.

Larry evidently had had an early wake up too, as I was just finishing breakfast when I saw him appear, walking around the disaster of ruts we had created just getting me ten feet out of the hole I had been in last night.

We looked at the situation. Straight behind me was a churn of sand where Larry had dug in in the process of getting me out last night. Back on the drivers side was an open area that looked better to maneuver to. Back in the direction of the passenger side was more sand and scrub.

Straight back would have been easiest to tow me to, but also would take me through the churned sand. We decided the tougher pull to the driver’s side on firmer ground, but slightly uphill had the best chance of me getting going. There was going to be no trying on my own, we had learned last night that just trying to move got me sinking into the sand. I really don’t know how I managed to get as far down the track as I did without getting stuck; I must have stopped on firmer, or downhill bits every time coming in.

We hookup, and try to go. I go a foot and sink in. Dig again. Try again – this time getting a little further before sinking in. There is no feel for the amount of power you are putting to the wheels in something this big as an automatic. We get me out again and try just putting the RV in reverse and seeing if the Jeep could pull with that small assist. The RV shudders, and moves but a few inches for all the sand Larry is churning up trying to pull me. We get moving and dig in again when I turn the front wheels too sharply the wrong way and they dig in like snow plows.

Finally, with adding just a little bit of gas on my part, we get moving. At some speed. I’m trying to navigate just with my mirrors, the wide angles showing me the upcoming brush. But we get going too fast, not to mention I can’t really see anything behind me. We clobber one smaller shrub. I manage to get going forward enough to set myself up on the road again. There is no place I can just turn a circle and go forwards, so back it is again!

The Track Back to Unstuck IMG_20200112_134159

We go back this time a long ways, I see the road entrance ahead, we’ve almost made it! Then the RV shudders and I come to a halt. Uh oh. I do have a reverse beeper, but it is useless at the speeds we are going; beep-beep-beep-beeeeep-crunch! in all of a second. I get out and inspect the damage. I’ve run over another shrub. I see bits of it sticking out underneath. Doesn’t look too bad, go forward and get it out from underneath. No go. I’m digging in again.

We’ve learned that as soon as I start digging in, stop even trying to get out and start digging out underneath – resistance to this is futile. I dig out a path – I’m not down too deep, this should be easy – then I’ll even be able to turn around right here and head back for the gate and the firm road. I inspect the underside. Crap. Pull out a couple of branches. Oh, crap! What I have run over is , er, was a pretty big bush – the base is the diameter of my arm, rather than the diameter of a broom handle the previous shrub was.

There will be no driving out with this thing under me. “Got a saw Larry?” I ask, thinking this is going to take a while. He fortunately does, so the wood cutting begins, me taking a shift, Larry taking a shift, and me finishing it off. The shrub gets cut off as close to the ground as we can in the tight space under the rig. It’s a thorny thing too – manages to cut up my hands pretty good getting it out. I only think to borrow Larry’s gloves after I’ve already cut myself up.

Bits Lost Getting Unstuck IMG_20200112_133521

As I take some of the last bits out I see my sewer storage pipe is hanging off in two pieces. So much for the damage deposit. Once I get the whole shrub out, I take out the sewage pipe and just rip off the remaining sewer storage pipe. I throw the bits to the side to dry out. We’ll come back for those later and figure out a new storage area.

Now that the shrub is clear, we need to get me out from the soft ground where the scrub was. After some discussion, we decide that backwards pull to get out from under the shrub onto solid ground was best, then I could go forward and circle back to the firm ground. Finally, success! I am truly back on terra firma as of lunch time! I drive down the main road and park in the best, most firmest spot near Larry’s camp. It is still not without potential issue, but as long as you don’t go forward ten feet, and make sure you get a bit of speed right away backing out (without spinning the tires!) you can get in and out of this spot without issue.

In hindsight, it would have been easier and just as quick to get a towing service to pull me out. Probably cheaper too. But I’m ornery, I like to get myself out of my own messes, even if I make more of a mess of it in the process.

Jeep Ride SR602094

For the afternoon, we decide to head down the main road here and across a wash that definitely is not passable by RVs to see some of the pretty desert country beyond. The country side is quite pretty – the whole area is low and has a large wash in it. The greenery is tapping deep down to the moisture that remains under the wash when they are dry. We head down the road, turn onto a cart track, then end up in the main wash. The Jeep is definitely the vehicle for this kind of terrain – big tires and light to float on top of the gravel and sand. But don’t think you can’t get stuck in one of these out here – there are soft enough areas where you could dig in. A dune buggy type vehicle is really the best for not getting stuck in these sand traps.

Red Bluff SR602097

We encounter a pretty red rock bluff, and decide to get out of the Jeep and go over and explore it a bit. It’s back across from the wash we climbed out
of earlier, not even two minutes walk over.

Me on top of Bluff SR602100

I climb to the top, getting Larry to take a picture of me up there. I keep pointing the way to my next adventure.

Bluff Separation SR602110

The bluff is loose sandstone; some large boulders the size of a house have come off and sit tilted, slowly eroding away to nothing in the wind and infrequent rains.

Sunset at Larrys Camp SR602116

We make our way back to camp and enjoy the sunset over some beers. I’ve decided I’m going to have to quickly find a better camp for Patreons tomorrow – will be leaving Larry here as he likes his spot, and has found he doesn’t mind the solitude of being on his own. But for the moment there is laughter and good times out enjoying the desert evening after a trying day.

About ralph

Just another blog to share some thoughts with the world.
This entry was posted in rant, RV, travel and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply