Oops and DOH !!!! Extemely Long
Friends, acquaintances, and folks who just donít like me,
At 5:30 this evening I had no intention of going wheeling. At 6:00 I was up the proverbial creek without a paddle. In the span of 30 minutes I had a bad idea that caused me to eat crow, give zuks a bad name, and look like a fool to the wife. OK, lets be honest I was indeed, a fool. After a ľ of a century of wheeling I believe I was too prideful.
But I digressÖÖ
About a mile as the crow flies from where I live are some railroad tracks. Along these tracks are trails that are pretty much exclusively the domain of neighborhood 4wheelers (the sit on, not sit in kind). I had played on these trails myself some 20 odd years ago on dirt bikes. So, though it had been quite along time, I knew what to expect terrain wise.
I was outside this evening and heard the 4wheelers in the distance and that is where things started going bad. I figured I would grab the wife take her over there and play a little bit. If things looked too ugly I would just turn around and come home. So I talk the wife into going for a little ride not telling her my true intentions. She likes to ride around in the open topped vehicle so she readily agreed to join her fool of a husband. Of course there was no trail preparation. What could possibly go wrong? DOH !!!!
So we hop in the zuk and head on over to the railroad tracks. We find the path that the 4wheelers use to exit civilization and enter the railroad tracks. I hop out and lock the hubs checking out my wifeís reaction from the corner of my eye and see a smile cross her lips. Excellent. Just the reaction I was hoping for. The entrance was a STEEP down hill then about 30 yards of heavy foliage that lead to the tracks. Then all I had to do was follow the tracks until I came to a trail which I knew was there some where. After about a half mile down the tracks I was beginning to think this was a bad idea when I found what I thought I was looking for. Being an experienced wheeler (Oh, how I laugh at that statement now) I hop out and check a trail leading into the woods. Looks like exactly what the doctor ordered. The entrance into the wood was a slight off camber uphill with a few small trees to squeeze thru then a slight off camber down hill that opened up nicely, for a 4wheeler trail. The trail was entirely a thin layer of mud and even though the tires where still aired up to street pressure I expected no problems. As I remind the wife to keep all appendages inside the vehicle at all times I shift into low low and turn into the trailhead.
And thatís as far as we gotÖ.
As soon as I hit the off camber hill the entire vehicle did a little pirouette in the thin layer of mud and we slid downhill into a copse of trees that basically trapped us on three sides. Since we are barely ten feet onto the trail I keep a confident look on my face for both my wifeís and my egoís sake. I try to get the zuk to work itís way back out but things just get worse. I am in immediate danger of loosing a mirror and the manner in which one of the trees got seated I can see the windshield is in danger too. I unbolt the mirror by hand but the manner in which the windshield is trapped I can not fold it down until I am in a better position. So against my better judgement the only thing I can see to do is give it heck and accept the body damage that I get. So I do. And do. And do. Nothing. I am going absolutely nowhere. This canít be happening. I get out to check the situation better. Though Iíve slid down hill on the driverís side Iíve managed to catch a tree about 3 inches in diameter between the front bumper and the passenger front fender. OK, I accept that I am in the doo doo. I have a Hi-lift jack but it is currently being borrowed by a friend. I have my fancy shmancy Warn X8000I on the front but the remote is in the winch accessory bag sitting in the garage. I know without looking that my bed box is carrying only what I carry when I using my zuk as a daily driver. Spare driveshafts and electric fuel pump and only the tools I would need to swap these in on the street. Now we may be only a mile or two from home as the crow flies I know there is no way we can make it home and back before complete darkness sets in. I know that finding the zuk in the dark is going be difficult at best. OK, Iíve been in tight spots before (no pun intended) I just have to use my head. If I can get the tree out from between the bumper and fender I know I can muscle my way out. But the tree ainít a budgin. First, the only way to get a tree that diameter in between the bumper and fender I had to insert it at about a 30 degree angle which I did with great alacrity. I need to find a lever. Hunting high and low I found all manner of branches and even a piece of pipe but the tree wasnít moving. I decide to climb the tree to get better leverage as it is approximately 40 feet tall and my over the hill butt weighs in at over 200 lbs. I figure this ought to do the trick. But alas, no. The higher I climb the more it seats the tree into the bumper/fender slot. Dagnabbit. Here is the part where I eat crow and give zuks a bad name. What do my ears detect but the aforementioned 4wheelers coming up the trail the opposite direction from me. At speed. Four 4wheelers come to an an unexpected and very abrupt halt narrowly missing the front end of the zuk. Now, those of you that know me have heard me disparage 4wheelers. I was a dirt biker of old after all and these things were not even invented yet when I rode so I never quite grasped the whole genre. My only real experience with them was avoiding them on the trail and disparaging them when they tampered with trail markers. I must eat crow as they were a great bunch of guys who instead of rubbing salt in my wounds were very complimentary of my distraught zuk even though it was ONLY ten feet into the trail. With four of us applying leverage to the tree we finally popped it out. Now I was only trapped on three sides again, with both driverís side tires were wedged between trees. With my knights-in-muddied armor pushing the zuk sideways up hill as I was spinning all four tires and rocking it back and forth. Finally freeing the zuk and having no choice but to drive downhill backwards thru dense brush I was free. Yippee. After thanking my new friends I took stock of the damage. Keep in mind I only went 10 feet up the trail. Two smashed fenders, one ripped off flare, one busted windshield frame, one busted windshield fold down hinge, one busted CB antennae, heavily damaged cowl area under windshield, and the entire rocker the length of the door opening caved in two inches, wifeís confidence in husband shattered, and last but not least I made zuks and/or their owners look incompetent. Please forgive me for that my compadres.
Morals to the story?? Lessons learned?? Oh yeah. Tons. But they are too obvious to bore you with any longer. Suffice it to say the wife will make sure I donít forget these lessons and time soon.
Scott ďNone too brightĒ Whitmore
"It's not that it's able to do the job. It's that it does the job so well"