A Muddy Road Entrapment……..#178 (80’s)

The rumblings aloft announcing the coming event.

.  The twelve-hour work day fulfilled, a quiet evening at home,  then calling it a night,  the rumblings aloft announcing a coming event.  Gary distinguishing the quiescent  patter of rain starting to fall,  not unusual for late September in Kiowa,  a welcome sound providing a relief from the enduring hot summer.   An wakening at 4:30 a. m.,  the rumble of thunder projecting thru the darken morning environment, the rain still descending from lightning silhouetted clouds, not drawing any concern.   Leaving his residence for the high school,  his school Chevrolet Suburban arrested behind the locked fenced  enclosure,  the rain still descending.  Gary proceeding to his appointed morning tasks at the school and by its sound, noticing a definite increase in the rain.   A concern with the weather starting to formulate,  a subconscious thought beginning about the condition of his dirt roads.  The newly acquainted school employee having never experienced the advent of a large amount of rain on his route,  but being an imparted optimist, surely the rain wouldn’t be a detriment to the  four wheel drive suburban in keeping his route schedule.

.A decision to digress early from the school was decided on, the adornment from the sky having increased to an incessant downpour.  Seated in the suburban engaging the journey,  Gary well aware that he had never before driven the dirt artery to the David Meyers farm in such weather conditions.   Crossing the Medicine River bridge, proceeding northeast on the glistening blacktop of Highway #2 towards Hazelton, finding the visibility difficult thru the downpour searching for the second mile section turnoff.  Stopping at the turnoff,  exiting from the suburban  in the cascading effusion to manually engage the four-wheel drive,  accessing the front wheels,  rotating the four-wheel drive lock on each wheel.  Employing the four-wheel drive shift lever, adroit in confidence, Gary entered his plight thru the nebula of precipitation   The visual acuity sporadic with each pass of the wiper blades, the 4 wheel drive front wheels attempting to assert its authority,  plowing forward on the peaking crown center of the road,  its stability causing a concern. .

.  The rear of the Suburban processing a will of  its own,  sliding towards the bordering edge of the road  but the enabled front wheel drive exhorting its call,   somehow pulling it back on course.   Its wheels in rotation traversing the quagmire at a crawl,  the vehicle continued, then inevitable happened.  The slick lateral slope of the road was too much to overcome, the rear of the car sliding off the avenue into a mire of cataclysm, followed by the front.   Several attempt being made with the 4wheel drive in low, but the suburban remained a captive of the unforgiving quagmire       The sound of the rain pelting,  the swish of the windshield wipers,  the vehicle idling,  a glow from the dashboard lights in the darkness,  providing a resonating aura,  a sense of dejection starting to prevail,  but it was short-lived,  an awakening.

.  Gary reaching for the two-way radio,  knowing that Glen Piper would be at the District Office, the Superintendent always steadfast at his station during inclement weather.   Glen acknowledging the driver’s dilemma, then coming right back with,  having placed a telephone call to Keith Rathgeber,  relating that D & W  would be arriving in a tow truck to remedy his plight.  It wasn’t long till Gary could see the headlights in the rear-view mirror,  rescue was in sight, the tow truck approaching

. Embarking from the winch mounted vehicle in the pouring rain was Keith and Scott Rathgeber evaluating the situation,  pulling the cable towards the front of the Suburban,  finding the large towing eye bolt fastened to the frame beneath the bumper,  hooking the cable,  the vehicle ready to commence its appointment.   Scott sitting behind the wheel of the truck encouraging it forward, Gary remaining in the Suburban,  also attempting to edge its movement.   The towing vessels straining,  its wheels spinning,  and then a sudden jumping lateral movement,  the towing venture sliding sideways off the road joining the Suburban in the quagmire,  its wheels spinning, unable to muster any traction at all.  With both vehicles now disabled, Keith and Scott seemed perplexed at what to do,  Gary once again addressing the two-way radio,   communicating with Glen,  explaining the situation, suggesting he might call David Meyer and make him aware of what was going on.

.  Glen coming back on the radio, just gotten off the phone, David was on his way.  Ten minutes having expired when the lights of the tractor could be seen advancing toward them, as it neared Gary could see that it wasn’t David’s  4430 John Deere, but his cab-less old 4020,  a John Deere mainstay from 1963 to 1972.  David stopping,  face drenched and  water streaming off his poncho, without hesitation fastening a rope to the truck as Keith unhooked the Suburban.  With  Scott aboard the tow truck, the 4020 having little trouble pulling it back onto the muddy road,  Keith and Scott acknowledging they could make from there, David saying he would see that Gary and the school vehicle would get to the blacktop. Fastening the rope to the Suburban, Gary steering they proceeding 1 1/2 miles to the Meyers farm, David’s two daughters Sherrill and Loretta boarding the Suburban more concerned on being late for school than the weather.

. The towing journey continuing,  the two vehicles in tandem for the remaining 3 1/2 miles before reaching the blacktop at Gerlane Road.    A very wet and soaked David Meyers was understanding,  not admonishing the inexperienced mud driver,  but enlightening him,  that during inclement weather, whether it be rain or snow,  always take the alternative river road by Girty’s and approach his place from the west.  Then adding the secret of staying on a mud slick road, always drive in the ruts from the previous traffic.  Knowing that he would once again encounter the mud when returning the girls after school,  Gary was indebted to the farmer for the lesson, he would journey the river road route with an appreciative  thank you to David Meyer.


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