Red Dog Down

Last Monday here in northern Utah was beautiful! The transparency was just incredible. My friend Mat had sent out an email that he was heading out and I had every intention to join him. I had to finish a paper for a class and I did that and prep for the next day of teaching when BAM, it hit.  I have Celiac disease and I had one of my students break my classroom rule of no food (I have another student that suffers from life threatening food allergies) and as a result, I got very, very sick.  To make a long and unpleasant evening short, I'll say that after the first hour and a half, my body was worn out and as the intestinal issues reside, the joint cramps and foggy thinking (see, I have a reason I can blame for foggy thinking besides age!) settled in, so did the severe fatigue. So at around 10:20 as I was settling into bed, the phone rang. On the other end was another good friend who had tried to meet Mat but felt it was too muddy and went out to the Pit.  The main dirt road to the Pit was good, but the side dirt road as full of deep ruts causes by trucks or ATV's that had been out in the area.  One set of ruts was deep, ice covered and on the way in, our friend was okay but on the way out, the ice broke and his two rear tires were mired and stuck in the mud.  I let him know I would be coming out and got my son who is almost 19 to go with me.

We loaded up some essentials in the back of the Pathfinder, a regular shovel, my small shovel, kitty litter, some wood and carpet. One always should have some spare carpet around when going to areas  that are wet as it makes a good gripping source for tires.  The one thing missing was a tow cable as I couldn't find mine.

On the drive out, it was great to spend time with Nathan. For those who don't know Nathan is leaving on March 20th for 2 years to be in Italy. During this time we won't see him and we'll have email weekly and talk to him several times a year but his focus will be on what he is doing over there. So I am trying to soak up as much time with him as possible.  One of the things Nathan and I did when he was younger on long driving trips was to pretend the car was a plane and I was the pilot (driver) and he was the co-pilot. To keep him occupied I came up with pretend tasks for him to do.  Yeah, admit it, if your a Dad, I sure hope you did something similar with your boy(s) because its something my Dad did with me and that I passed on to my son. So this night was we were driving Nathan and I talked about how the black Pathfinder could be a B2 and we were heading into enemy territory. Why? Because Red Dog 3 as we called our stuck friend was down.

I asked Nathan if I should stop and check if Mat was there, and Nathan felt we should go directly to Red Dog 3.  I didn't so I pulled over at Five Mile Pass where the dirt road ran south to where Mat and I now observe in the winter.  I started honking the horn because I was tired and poor Mat. He heard the horn, saw the lights and thought I'm sure what Wazoo is coming down the road drunk on a Monday night at just after 11:30pm or so.  Well, it was me and luckily Mat had just finished packing up, and he had a tow cable with him. We then went together, Red Dog 1 and 2 to the Pit n Pole.

At the Pit, I stopped where we turn off the main dirt road and walked down to where Red Dog 3 was. Mat followed me and we saw that the road wasn't that muddy, but just had water filled ruts.  I pulled the Pathfinder up to Red Dog 3's car and we hooked up the Pathfinder and I tried pulling him out. Nothing but a smell of a burning clutch. We stopped, and Red Dog 3 and Mat dug the mud out in front of the tires, we put the 2x4 under one tire and the carpet under the tires and then I went back and started to pull him out. Slowly, ever so slowly Red Dog 3's car pulled forward and cleared the rut filled mud and water and became free.

The ride home was uneventful except for the conversation between a son and his Dad. It was enjoyable. While out I noticed how beautiful the open sky was out there and loved viewing the stars and constellations open eye. I also realized how much the weather this year has robbed me of viewing so many winter objects. The moral here I guess is to be very careful when using a car in the desert in winter with melting snow and ruts. But if you are stuck, to call those who will help you out without hesitation and to me, the fact that Red Dog 3 knew they could call and I would come out made me feel very comfortable inside.  The fact that Mat was equally willing without hesitation to do the same speaks to his quality (and I already have a very high opinion of Mat as he is one of the highest quality people I know). Its that bonding and friendship that makes those who share this hobby a unique and wonderful class of people. Luckily, the Celiac issue had run its course.  Bed time now became about 1:30a.m.  As I came to bed after getting back my wife Lynda stated, "Too bad you were sick because this is just like you had gone observing"