Sunday, December 20, 2009

A lack of snow...and the stupidity fairy pays a visit.

So right now, much of the northeastern US is getting walloped with massive snow. The Lair itself will probably see between two and three feet before it's over.

Fortunately, Lagniappe and I missed it because we aren't there. In fact, we spent last night sleeping on a beach, listening to the ocean waves come onto the shore.

Now before you get too jealous, I need to refer to my oft-stated maxim here when it comes to poor decisions and the cost of being stupid--it's supposed to leave a mark. Sooner or later, the stupid fairy pays a visit on every one of us and we do something that we wish later we had not done. I'm not exempt by any measure, and last night was my night to regret a bad decision. It all began with the decision to drive my (non-4WD) van onto the beach late at night in search of a secluded and free campsite.

All went well for a while and we drove along the beach, Lagniappe and I. We found a great parking spot and settled in. But then when I went to re-position the van to lessen a wind that was making just a bit too much noise, the drive wheel dug in and we were stuck.

Oh, I gave it a hell of an effort to get out. I dug, I graded, I moved a ton of sand, but with every attempt to rock out, the van just settled lower, until finally it was just resting on it's frame. Damn. Finally, I accepted defeat and hiked up to a nearby house that had some lights on and asked for help. They gave my the number of the local towing service that specializes in extracting stuck vehicles from the sand and I called them; they were willing to come out, but their rate was ridiculous.

The man there told me that their night rate was about double their daylight rate. "Fine," I told him. Let's make an appointment for your earliest day-rate time. Just come out in the morning. I'll still be here." I then went back to the half-buried van and made myself comfortable, drinking beer and watching a movie on my DVD player before finally calling it a night and hitting the hay.

And at 0730 in the AM, I got a wake-up call as Lagniappe alerted on an approaching vehicle, letting me know that the tow truck was on scene. Five minutes later, I was back on my way down the beach towards town again, having paid out about what I'd have spent on a night in a (cheap) motel room for the extrication. And the tow-truck driver had let me know that beach-driving is typically done successfully only by people with four-wheel-drive vehicles, lest I be tempted to give it another whack.

Ah well... I'm lighter in the wallet because I didn't think but at least I got to fall asleep under the stars to the sound of the ocean and Lagniappe got to chase seagulls all over the place for a while. Motel Six has got nothing on that.


  1. Yes, getting stuck wasn't the brightest move.. But, spending the night stargazing and listening to the waves just makes me jealous.. :)

  2. i was always too cheap to buy 4x4s until one after noon in the middle of the Mojave Desert. Stuck in a dry wash 45 miles east of Barstow Ca with two little kids, I spent three hours digging out. We had food/water enough for three days, but still, my kids were pretty scared.

    A Bronco, a jeep and a new pick-up later, all have been 4x4. I use em too. And not in the snow.

    Although a warm dog, a cold beer good entertainment on the beach doesn't sound like too bad of a way to spend the evening.

  3. Glad to hear that you made the best out of a not-so-good situation!

  4. This time we got real sneaux on Long Island (as distinguished from snow). I do not wish to denigrate our town Superintendent of Highways, for he has done some much appreciated favors and made some very helpful accommodations in the past, and he still has my vote if he runs for re-election. But there is a big difference in the management of a few inches of snow, and over a foot of sneaux like that which has now been dumped upon us.

    In their zeal to keep the roads plowed, including the residential side streets such as the one upon which my residence is situated, the contract plowmen push all of the sneaux to the side of the streets, right up where my wife and I just shoveled out our driveway. If there had only been 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 inches of snow, it wouldn't be so bad because the car can go right over it and onto the clear, plowed street.

    But, with the approximately 16 inches of sneaux we got here (and they got far more a few miles eastward), it actually blocks us from exiting our driveways.

    And that wouldn't be so bad, except that they pile up all of the sneaux in front of the drainage culvert. So when it melts, the liquid H2O has nowhere to go, and freezes in a vast sheet of ice in the intersection of the street. The safety issues are obvious.

    Out where my parents live, they are a bit more accustomed to this quantity of sneaux. They know when to plow it, when and where to pile it, and when to leave it alone.

    And last winter, when I went to visit my parents, my mother's cousin was in. She lives in Michigan, and understands sneaux accordingly.

  5. LOL...this cracked me up!!! :) I could picture you out there pushing that thing, trying to get it to move and it just laughing at you while it sank further in the sand!! lol. :) Ah least you got to enjoy the beach!

    We have a snowstorm moving in tonight thru Friday. A real bad one - rain then ice then snow....and I am supposed to leave on Wednesday for my parents' place!!! eek!!

  6. fatfred1:09 PM

    In the 1960's I used to take a long chain to the beach in the trunk of my old large Chrysler sedan. I would pull out tourists in vehicles who had pulled over on the shoulder some times in sight of the soft sand warning signs. Most would give a 10 to 20 dollar tip. I quit when I was warned about liability by a friend in law enforcement. He showed me lawsuit where a service station owner was hit with a 25k judgement in a suit for non major damage to a tourists car. The price of garage liability is high when you do towing.