|This wicked van was in the rest area. It says on the side you can|
rent it for camping, if you're interested
|Van Kid dozes peacefully at Maytown rest area|
These 637 acres of grassy humps are a rather unusual geologic feature. No one knows for sure how they came to be. Every theory from glacial action, seismic activity and flood sediment to over-achieving pocket gophers has been put forth. No one that I'm aware of has mentioned anything about alien intervention, but that wouldn't surprise me at all. Thanks to volunteer efforts, the mounds sport their native grasses and wildflowers, rather than being obscured by invasive Scotch Broom. An interpretive display and short trail provide a wealth of fascinating information about the Mounds.
|Van Kid was lackadiasical about viewing the|
Mounds in the rain...
|But revived after snacking|
|This area had been newly re-planted with|
the baby trees being protected by biodegradable plastic sleeves
|Some of the way was a little overgrown|
|We came upon this 1/2 mile of paved road amidst the dirt and gravel|
Westly's Assuan Brown paint was a good match to the native soil color
|Van Kid inspected a slash of clear cut...|
|And happened upon the mysterious B glove|
|Thank goodness for these|
|It's no Syncro...|
With three bars on the cell phone, I rang up AAA. They had been so prompt in responding on a previous occasion. After explaining the situation and location I was told "I'm sorry sir, we can't help you. You are too far from a paved main thoroughfare." I had been expecting this, as I had specifically asked about service in remote areas before signing up, knowing well my propensity for such travels. They did offer to connect me with a AAA contractor who could help if I payed. This sounded somewhat ominous, but I figured it was our best choice and was connected to JJ's Towing. After I gave the Friendly Dispatcher information about general location, make, model, year, color, etc. the conversation went something like this:
Friendly Dispatcher, in a cheery tone - "OK, a truck will be right out to assist you."
Me, slightly astonished - "But don't you need to know exactly where I am?"
Friendly Dispatcher, somewhat taken aback - "Sir, you just told me you are in the Capitol State Forest."
Me, trying hard to contain my incredulity - "Yes, but it's a big place!!" (39,992,274,000 square feet and Westly's footprint = 90 square feet)
Friendly Dispatcher, with an air of finality - "Well, you can give that information to the driver who will call you in a few minutes."
Me, resignedly - "Very well. Thank you."
Van Kid, hungrily - "I'm hungry."
We had a snack, took a little walk and waited around for over an hour and a half. The sky grew darker but the rain slackened for a while. I was just getting ready to call JJ's again, when I heard a noise - tires crunching on gravel. Someone was driving up the road toward us! An old Toyota 4X4 pickup came into view. By this time we were a little scruffy looking and muddy from digging, but I walked toward the truck as it approached. The driver slowed and looked at me somewhat askance. I wasn't at all sure he would even stop. But his passenger, holding a small dog that looked like it might once have appeared in a Taco Bell commercial, made some motion for him to pull over. I explained the situation (Westly was there in plain sight) and asked if they could tow me out. The man never spoke but nodded, and pulled up ahead of the van. He remained in his truck while I wrapped a tow strap around the rear bumper, and fastened it to Westly's front tow loop. Quickly jumping in the van, I started it and gave him "thumbs up". With tires clawing desperately on the loose surface, we lurched forward and guided Westly back onto the road. We were unstuck in less than 30 seconds - not even long enough to get a picture. As I removed the tow strap, the man came out of the truck for a smoke. I offered him some money for his help and he declined with a grunt and wave of his hand. The dog sniffed around a little, then they got back in the truck and left.
|I added this 20,000 lb tow strap to Westly's emergency equipment|
a few weeks before the trip, and it proved invaluable
|Van Kid crashed after a long day of high adventure|
Still waiting for that return call from JJ's...