Chapter 26 - "stuck truck"
I about popped a blood vessel in my forehead pushing the truck out of the driveway. Granted, I had help from my buddy, but we were in over our heads with this one. Fortunately, when God wove us together as humans, he equipped us with some mechanism that is triggered in emergency situations that gives us the strength of Popeye on spinach. I’m no anatomist, but it’s quite fascinating to possess a body that has that sort of dormant gear that kicks in under duress. Unnatural.
We finally got the truck pushed out of the driveway as far as our feeble legs could go. It was time to get on the backside of the truck and push it over the hill. Mind you, the hill we were pushing it down was filled with rodent holes, monolithic boulders, and ruts deeper than an average ditch. So we weren’t out of the woods even if the jump-start-idea was realized. It was fathomable that the truck would fall apart somewhere between the hilltop, the hilldrop and the hillstop…in fact, I was almost expecting it knowing the lay of the land. But desperation makes you do asinine stuff, so we tapped into the last of our energy reserves and as I pushed my brains out, Doug hopped into the pickup, closed the door, and prepared for what can only be described as an off-roading purist’s dream drop.
As I gave my final shove and stood back to watch the moments to follow, I gauged the trajectory of the vehicle and wondered whether that would be the last time I ever saw Doug alive. The truck was bouncing off the ground picking up speed with every second. I could tell that he was trying to pop the clutch every now and then because blue smoke was billowing out of the tailpipe. While he was doing that, he was dodging prairie-dog holes and 8-ton boulders making his mission dicey to say the least. It was clear that the engine was reticent to fire and the closer he got to the bottom of the hill, the more my heart started to race with fear. It was a cornucopia of different fears all squeezed together. A fear of Doug’s looming death eclipsed with a fear of my impeding survival trip across the wild West in search of life shrouded by a fear of my own ignorance due to my lack of experience in anything even remotely close to danger.
But my fear was replaced with euphoria when I heard the engine fire and rev as Doug finally recovered power steering and veered left toward the driveway leading up to the cabin. He raced the engine to ensure that it wouldn’t stall leaving us dejected in the fetal position next to a rat’s nest of forming sagebrush. As the truck made its way back up to where I was standing, my legs began to give way to the shock that was wearing off. In a moment, they turned to a dense form of jelly leaving me dizzy and queasy concurrently. I felt as though I would collapse in a heap of weakness if I didn’t get a drink of water or a shot of steroids from a local physician. The meshing of excitement and exhaustion was the stuff of adventure periodicals.
Needless to say, we kept the truck running as we packed it up to have a flatbed makeover that afternoon. I was excited because we were going to take the long way through the mountains via a one-lane dirt road. This dirt road was notorious for giving tourists an up close and personal peek at some wild mountain sheep…you know, the ones with those big coiled horns that are used to fight off other males wanting to have relations with their wooly women. I couldn’t wait to see them with my own eyes. As one form of adrenaline was wearing off, another one was kicking in right behind it.