It’s hard to describe the amount of mud on the interior of my car at the moment. Mud? Inside? And did I mention the smell?
We’re sitting in the parking lot of Beryl Gaffney Park, Janice, myself, and Toby and Ginger, our two shelties. The engine is running, and we’re toasty warm, but we’re not going anywhere. The front end of the car is deep in mud and ice, which collapsed as we drove into the lot, imprisoning car and occupants.
It all started this morning. The kids didn’t want to go skiing, so we decided to take the dogs for a walk instead. It’s been pretty warm here, so we put on running shoes, and headed down the road to the Chapman Mills boardwalk, which is a pretty riverside walk in the south of Ottawa. The boardwalk was only partly open, so we thought we’d chance Beryl Gaffney Park. “Yeah, the trail might be muddy, but it’s probably alright”, we reasoned.
You know that feeling you get when something’s about to go horribly wrong? I could tell as we drove in that we were in trouble. The car bounced through some slushy ruts and then came to a halt in the middle of the parking lot.I gave it some gas, and the tires spun… Uh oh.
Well, time to try rocking the car. Reverse, forward, reverse, forward. Nope. Just a deeper rut.
I got out, and got behind car (deep puddle, wet, cold feet) and put shoulder to the hatch as Janice gunned the engine. A wave of mud rose up, coating the front half of car in muck, and cascaded in through the open driver’s side window. But the car didn’t move. Around the front, I tried pushing as she threw it into reverse. Nothing. I had a few old copies of the Ottawa Business Journal in the back, which we sacrificed to the traction gods. The car move a scant foot before the OBJ became papier mache.
A small coupe (with snow tires, as opposed to my “all-season” radials) pulled in, and all the way out. A young guy named Tony got out. At his suggestion, we piled branches under the tires. We got behind the car, and gave it a shove while Janice gunned the engine. The smell of burning rubber, and newly macerated juniper filled the air. But, the car didn’t move.
Tony pushed, while I gunned the car in little shots. The car rocked back and forth. Gun the engine, rock forward, let go of the gas, slide back, repeat. Rock forward, slide back, rock forward, slide back. And then it happened… The dogs threw up in the back seat. Apparently the rocking motion was too much for them.
We got out and surveyed the situation. Besides, it smelled better outside. I called Sonny’s Garage in Manotick.
“I understand you have a tow truck”, I started.
“No, not right now. Sonny’s on vacation until Thursday. You need Ed’s towing.”
A call to Ed’s towing, and Ed agreed to send the truck out, with the proviso that if the ground was too soft, he’d have to go back and get his bobcat. Half an hour later the truck showed up.
“Nope. Can’t go in there. Hafta get the bobcat.”
And so we sit. We scraped the dog spew off the back seat, so it doesn’t smell quite so bad. We have Ottawa’s pathetic assortment of 1980’s era “classic rock” radio for entertainment. Wet feet, mud coated, and toasty warm. Occasionally I get out and warn away someone else pulling into the parking lot before they come in too far. At least we haven’t run out of gas (yet).
Lesson learned: we should have gone south for spring break.