Idaho, May 1994.

My dad was out of town, so my buddies and I took the Suburban (1984) out into the hills. 15 miles from town, and probably 3 miles from the nearest phone.

We were on a farm road that crested a hill on a diagonal, and as we started to come down we could see a snow field at the bottom of the hill.

I put the hammer down to get enough speed to make it through the snow, and as we came around the last bend we saw a ditch - without any kind of bridge - at the bottom of the hill, and right in front of the snow.

It was too muddy to stop, so I kept my foot in it.

We hit the relatively soft berm on the front of the ditch fairly hard, and caught enough air to clear the back side of the ditch.

In fact, we caught enough air to clear the ground past the ditch and plop into the snow (which is likely the only thing that kept us from breaking anything when we landed).

However, the impact drove us deep into the dense, wet snow (remember, this was May), and we ground to a halt far short of terra firma.

No shovel in the car, both friends in Birkenstocks.

The XCountry guy went for help (since he was the runner) while the other 2 of us started with our hands. Which was cold, painful, and slow.

An hour later cross country guy was back with a wimpy snow shovel and messages on all the parents machines.

Two hours after that we were finally starting to make some progress when XCountry guy’s dad showed up on foot. He was afraid to get his giant Ford conversion van stuck, so he stopped at the top of the hill and walked down with a second shovel.

And two more hours later we finally slid free of the snow and got stuck in the ditch, but that was an easy half hour of digging and maneuvering to get free.

We all jumped in the Suburban and headed home.

When we got to the top of the hill we were dumbfounded to see that XCountry guy’s dad had just STOPPED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD. Stopped in the middle of the road, right in one of those giant ruts that cuts a road ten feet down into the soil at the top of a hill. Blocking all the traffic.

What traffic you say, way out in the boonies like this?

Why, my other buddy’s dad and HIS friend who had arrived shortly afterward in their pair of lifted Silverados, who COULD have yanked us out two hours ago in about 15 minutes of work. Who didn’t want to get their boots muddy, had no idea how much farther in we were, and were just waiting for XCountry dad to come back and move his stupid van.

Those two thought the whole thing was hilarious.