Monday, August 4, 2008

Day 3: Revenge of the Roadtrip

Who put a swimming pool out here?
Day three marks my first day of misadventure. It started out well enough, although I did seem to forget when setting the alarm on my cell phone that it stubbornly still believed to be residing in Portland; I won't complain about an extra hour of sleep, though. When I finally did roll out of bed and freshen up, I was greeted with coffee and breakfast before packing up and leaving the Linn's.

They had mentioned Dickey Lake as being quite interesting, and conveniently on my way to Whitefish, so my first stop for the day occurred less than 15 minutes after leaving. And indeed, the lake was beautiful; clear as any pool I'd been in, and amazing shades of green and blue depending on the depth. I strapped on my hiking shoes and went for a nice walk around the edge of the lake, discovering on the way that squirrels make a kind of odd chirping sound when they are either courting or playing (I couldn't tell for sure).

I decided to pack it in and head for Whitefish, which began the series of events which led to semi-tragedy. Somehow, due to the exact angle that I had parked at, coupled with some very suspiciously low parking area demarking stumps, I managed to back up over one stump and land with my front right wheel suspended between two.

Not pictured: one broken shovel

Being a front wheel drive car, my little Civic stood no chance. Surveying the damage and cursing my brilliance, I tried to devise various plans to free my car.
  1. Dig out the back stump so I may be able to finish backing up.
  2. Jack the car up, place a series of branches and logs of increasing diameters underneath the front wheel to build a makeshift ramp of sorts in order to pull forward.
  3. Jack the car up, place a series of any branches that would hold the front wheel up enough so that I was no longer hanging, and try to maneuver out from between the stumps in reverse.
One failed due to the fact that the shovel I brought with me is probably not rated for digging anything more challenging than snow, as well as the fact that the said stump was probably buried ten feet into the ground.

Two failed due to my car not being able to generate enough torque for the right wheel to climb the ramp and simultaneously not generating too much torque so the left wheel wouldn't spin out in the gravel.

Three worked insofar that it got me off of the front stump, but then promptly stuck me on the rear one.

Luckily it was a nice day for a walk. Four or five miles later I arrived at a little store in Trego and was able to use a payphone to call John Linn. It's amazing what a chain saw can do to stumps under your car (once again, I am indebted to the Linns, thank you).

Not wanting my last memory of such a beautiful lake to be of my own stupidity, I jumped in it. Very refreshing. After a quick Douglas Deck Change (sans towel), I was finally starting the short trip to Whitefish; and only three hours late.

Parking downtown, I bummed around for a bit, enjoying the very walker friendly town. Whitefish is a pretty neat little town, part tourist due to the amount of recreation nearby, and part historical landmark. A bit like Cannon Beach on steroids and historical crack.

After sitting on a dock at the beach for the better part of an hour, I had a pretty flavorful IPA at the local brewery tasting room, and headed to the Red Caboose for dinner. Unfortunately the place was mobbed, but I was able to watch the waitresses slowly lose sanity while I waited at the counter. The burger was pretty tasty (swiss cheese with grilled onions and sauteed mushrooms), but according to the local couple next to me, Bulldog is the place for an amazingly decent mushroom swiss burger. Future self, take note.

Sitting on the dock of a bay

Tomorrow I'm heading for Glacier National Park. After reading up on it, I don't think I'm quite prepared (nor have I filled out a permit application) to backpack into the back country. So instead, I'm going to stay at one of the drive in campgrounds and try to get some day hikes in. I'm pretty excited about it, as everything I've heard about Glacier is positive. I may even spend two nights there; one at Rising Sun campground, and the second at Many Glacier. We shall see.

Right now my trip feels: tired from trying to dig my car out.
Miles traveled thus far: 760
Music for the day:
Jimi Hendrix - Radio One and BBC Sessions
Cream - Disraeli Gears
The sounds of thousands of crickets on my walk.


Stuart said...


You should have called Bud, I'm sure he would have had the right tool to free up the Civic.

Nice choice of music.....


matt said...

I'm glad you got out. Nothings worse then being in a bind 760 Miles from home.

g said...

hahahaha... awesome. Sounds like a hell of a day man.

Don't worry, they don't have stumps in Ohio. Just Waffle Houses and Wal Marts.