Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Northwoods Adventures, May 2011

Here's the long-promised roundup of our Memorial Day at the lake.

Balloons for the birthday girl:

And for her big sister:

We walked in the woods:

And blew bubbles on the pier:

And played with the bubble-swords on the screen-porch (thank you AuntLO and UncleDO for the gift of bubbly entertainment!)

And enjoyed the heck out of pine-needles (so soft! so fragrant!):

We had unusually long stretches of independent play with the ring-stacker:

And lots of people-peek play with the pompom:

And the rocking chair:

Rose learned to cast with a borrowed fishing rod:

And caught a 20-inch northern pike off the end of the pier! (Actually, Rose hooked it, JoyDad landed it, and GrampaK de-hooked and released it. Rose was not interested in even get near enough to "her" fish to be photographed with it.)

Very tame, so far. Minor adventures only. Nothing nearly so eventful as last year...

Until we set out for home.

We'd decided to try & save some time by going out the "back way," down a remote logging road that had recently been widened a little by a new logging operation. We actually drove out to town that way on Monday, so we knew the road was passable (if a little muddy & exciting to drive.) We and GrampaK were the last ones out on Tuesday -- he went one way, we went the other.

And before we'd gotten more than a couple miles out, we zigged where we shoulda zagged -- and the passenger wheels sunk deep into soft mud at the side of the road.

"Everybody out," declared JoyDad, after the first attempt at backing up went nowhere.

I swung my door open... and it barely cleared the mud.

So we all clambered out the driver's side doors, and I spent the next 10 minutes holding Joy and getting bitten by mosquitoes while JoyDad got muddier and muddier trying to dig out (without tools) or toss something under the wheels for traction (a losing battle.)

Finally we decided that someone needed to hike out. Probably about 3 hours walk to the nearest house. We only had the one cell phone (mine) and of course no reception back-of-the-beyond as we were.

So the mud-spattered JoyDad set off down the road, glancing down at my cell for "bars" about every ten steps. I piled back into the car in the mud with the girls, out of mosquito range, to settle in to try & entertain them for who-knew-how-long. With no means of outside communication whatsoever.

Rose and Joy were two different entertainment challenges. Rose was aware enough of the situation to have some imaginative worries, and kept asking when Daddy was coming back. (As if I knew. He'd set out at 8:45. In my mind, the earliest he could possibly return with help would be 11am, and that was terrrrribly optimistic. But I didn't name a time.)

We snacked. I read chapter after chapter from Little Women. Joy watched DVD -- how long would the battery last? The sun started streaming through the trees onto the car, but I didn't dare run the air for more than 5 minutes every half hour, for fear of killing the battery too...

And then, just at 11:00, a tow-truck appeared through the leaves.

I didn't remember to get out with the camera to record the sunken car, but here's how it looked just after rescue:

We had guardian angels watching over us that day. JoyDad got a shoulder-tap from the first one about 15 minutes into his hike. He was watching that phone for the non-existent "bars" when all of a sudden... it RANG! Still no bars visible, but just enough connectivity that it was able to let him know that there was a message waiting.

That message was from the angel -- because I almost NEVER use my cell unless I'm setting up a specific call. Very few people have the number, and even fewer use it unless we've set up to speak. And yet, someone from home-town had called, just about the time we were getting stuck.

If JoyDad hadn't gotten that voice-mail alert, he'd never have known about the patch of connectivity back there in the woods. As it was, he was able to call 911 and be connected to a towing-company dispatcher and get help on the way.

And then he walked out of the connectivity and didn't hit another patch before finally intercepting the tow-truck, about two hours after his hike began.

Second angel was a mechanic in Merrill, Wisconsin, who was able to take a look at our vehicle when it started making awful noise en-route, and (instead of taking us for a huge sum of cash in our distress) assured us that we'd make it home as long as we didn't accelerate into any sharp turns.

I'll spare you the account of the rest of the trip -- it was long and warm and kinda cranky -- but we made it. And even the total expense, between the tow and the next day's necessary repairs, weren't nearly as awful as they could have been.

Wonder how next year's trip will go (she says with fear and trembling!)


Char Brandl said...

Yikes! What an ending to your vacation! Your positive take on the whole event is marvelous :-)

One Mom said...

I love this! What's a vacation without a little dash of interesting thrown in, anyway? Happy to hear you all got home in one piece!

Anonymous said...

You are SUCH a good storyteller, JM! Thankful for the happy ending for the JoyFamily!


Floortime Lite Mama said...

WOW what an end to the vacation
So glad it all worked out
your girls are beautiful

Anonymous said...

oooooohhhhhhhh. what a memorable(?) adventure! love the pics of Joy and Rose.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm. I wonder if WARN makes a winch for the front of your car?

Uncle Marathon

Bethany said...

I love the balloons that the girls wee sporting! Also that is quite a fish Rose caught, and I totally agree with her about not going near the slippery creepy thing :) The ending of you vacation sure was an adventure and I love how God stepped in and gave little nudges at just the right time to get you past the sticking point.

JoyMama said...

Thanks all! It's always kinda fun to have good stories to tell.

I think it took a little more of a toll on Joy than first noticed -- she's been hair-pulling again, enough bald-spot to make us consider doing the buzz-cut thing again, and I think it may have started during that trip home. But other than that, we came out of it pretty well.