Select | Day 0 | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Epilogue

2003 Q1 Random Vacation
(40°25.409' N, 83°21.293' W - Richwood, Ohio, USA)

Day 3: 15 Feb 2003 (Saturday)

00:00 UTC - 02:00 UTC (Getting Stuck)

As I passed from Pennsylvania into West Virginia, the first thing I wanted to do was eat.  So I repointed my GPS to find places to eat.  The first open thing I ended up at was a DRIVE THROUGH DELI that had been made out of what used to be a car wash.  I thought this was very funny, so of course I had to eat at the Breeze-Thru Deli!


Breeze-Thru Deli


I ate in the car as I drived through this thin sliver of northern West Virginia, looking for a nice bridge accross the river into Ohio that was not a major route.  Just as I was finishing my sandwich, I found one, and crossed into Ohio. 


Upon crossing the river, I ended up heading to the right, rather than veering off to the left like my GPS told me to.  It soon rerouted me away from the medium sized road onto smaller roads to get back over to the direction I should have been going.   After a little while, it said I should take a little road going off to the left.  It was a snowy road.  It was a steep road.  It had signs indicating that it was slippery and perhaps going there would not be a good idea.


So, of course I did.  I headed up the hill, gunning it to try to maintain speed.  Did I mention it was snowy and slippery?  Well, after a bit...  my poor little Saturn couldn't deal any more.  The wheels would spin, but I was not going up any farther.  It just wasn';t going to happen.  I was not out of control, or sliding back down, but going further was not an option.


Now, I had done this before in Western Connecticut just a few months before.  The proper procedure at this point would have been to just slowly let myself go BACKWARDS, exactly down the path I took upward.  No problem.  I'd be back at the bottom before too long.  But *NO*.  This is not what Sam did.  Sam looked around and decided that the road looked like it might be wide enough for me to actually TURN AROUND.  So I decided to try to do a three point turn. 


Almost as soon as I started this manuever, I started to realize that it might not be a good idea.  The road was of course crowned.  I was sending the back end of my car down into the ditch on the side of the road.  Hmmm.  I tried to go forward to straighten up again.  Nope.  no going forward.  Too steep.  I tried to crank the wheel to just straighten up while going backwards.  Too late.  Way too late.  Not enough room.  The back right side of my car hit the embankment even with me turning as rapidly as I could.  I could not go backwards, the embankment was stopping me.  I could not go forwards, the hill was too steep and slippery.


I was stuck. 


Stuck Saturn


After checking the situation I of course tried to do hopeless things like spin my wheels and turn my steering wheel back and forth.  I was able to move the car a few inches, but definately not move forward any, or turn any significant amount. 

As I was doing this a white truck blasted its way up the hill past me.  Then stopped, and slowly backed down toward me.  The guy (lets call him Larry...   I forget his real name) pops his head out and asks if I'm stuck.  I say I think I am.  He asks if I need to be pulled out.  I say I'm not sure yet.  Then he shrugs and prepares to leave.  I very quickly revise my statement to say I think I do indeed need to be pulled out.  He says OK, he'll be right back.  He speeds up the hill, and then in a second comes back down the other direction.  He passes me, then starts to back up towards me.  I take a picture.


Chevy Backing Up


At this point he freaks out slightly.  "Why did you take that picture???"  "Uh, sorry...  I'm on vacation, just taking a few pictures..."  "Don't do that!"  "You're not a murderer are you??"  "Uh, no."


In a minute or so he calms down, and tries to attach his chain to the front of my car to pull me out.  But when he tries, the chain just snaps.  He's kind of pissed by that.  He tells me that he will be back in a little bit.  He's going to go to his family's farm, which is up over the hill, and get a bigger chain and his buddy's truck, which is larger.  So after going all the way down the hill and turning around, he blasts by me at full speed and is gone.


So I'm sitting there by myself in my Saturn.  Stuck.  Another fine mess I've gotten myself into.


Well, a bit later, he comes back.  It is a big red truck, Larry hops out of the passenger seat.  His brother (lets call him Daryll) stays in the drivers seat.  They stop in front of me, facing forward.  As Larry gets out to put the big chain on the front of my car, I ask him (since he freaked when I didn't) if he minded if I took a picture.  He said "No!!  Daryll is a REAL redneck.  He will completely freak on your ass!"  For the first few seconds, I jhust heard the "No" and thought he meand "No, I don't mind."  As I was about to take a picture, the full statement finally clicked.  Oh!  I said "Oh, you mean DON'T take a picture!"  So Larry looks at me and says "OK, you need to understand this.  Daryll is a redneck.  A real redneck.  And he is not completely stable.  Do NOT take any pictures.  He will freak on your ass.  Do NOT talk to him.  He will freak on your ass.  Do NOT even LOOK at him.  He will freak on your ass."


OK THEN.  I would not be taking any more pictures.  So, sorry everybody, no fun pictures of the rest of my adventure being pulled out by Larry and Daryll.  I'll try to describe it as best I can.


Anyway, they did not immediately try it again the way Larry had originally, which was to attach to the front of my car, but pull backwards.  This would turn my car around to face downward.  No, instead they attached to the front of my car and tried to pull FORWARD.  Given that except when it was going at high speed to quickly get up the hill, the red truck was slipping and sliding and barely able to go up itself, this did not work.  The truck had no traction, and could not move forward.


So then, they try to attach to the back of my car, and pull backwards.  Look at the picture above.  Tell me if you think that will work.  NO.  I tried to say I thought they really should attach from the front again and pull downward, but they ignored me.  OK.  Whatever, they were saving me.  So I shut up. 


They attached the chain.  They pulled.  Crunch.  Just in case my taillight wasn't damaged already, pulling my car INTO the hill took care of that.  I think the bumper was already dented in at that point, but when I had tried to feel where I was hitting the hill, I thought maybe the light was still OK.  Might not have been.  Dunno.  In any case, it wasn't any more.  Of course, the hill was stronger than the truck, which could get no traction, even trying to pull downhill.  And in fact, they got stuck.  The chain was tight, and they couldn't make the truck move forward to give slack to detach it.  And it couldn't go backwards, because the chain was attached to me, and I was stuck.


What followed was about ten minutes of Larry and Daryll swearing and kicking things.  Daryll tried to use my tire jack to dig me out.  (Hmm, get enough of the hill gone, and the car will roll backwards, that might not be good.)  Daryll hurt his hand.  He swore more.  Eventually they tried again to make enough slack to detach the chain, and somehow managed.


So I once again suggested to Larry (as instructed, I did not speak to Daryll) that perhaps they attach to the front of my car and pull backward.  I was tempted to explain through the use of vectors and force diagrams, but I refrained.  That would not have been helpful.  Larry agreed to try, although he was unsure what would happen.  Looking at the situation, I could see a little risk that if pulled in the wrong way A) the car could tip over instead of just sliding around or B) it would get yanked loose, then slide uncontrollably, perhaps hitting more things it shouldn't.  But it was the last thing to try.


So, they attach the chain.  I get in the car.  I have it in neutral.  I have my foot ready to put on the brake as soon as I am loose.  They yank.  The car jerks.  A couple more yanks and I am free.  I get pulled about 6 feet (toward the ravine on the other side of the road) before my brakes stop the car.  Then Larry crawls UNDER THE FRONT OF MY CAR and says "please don't run over me" as he gets the chain loose.


They get the chain loose, and start toward the bottom of the hill and tell me to head on down.  But now my car won't start.  They tell me they will meet me at the bottom.  They are saying something about the clutch, but I don't catch it.  I let myself roll to the bottom of the hill.  I tell them the car won't start;.  Looks like I killed the battery while waiting to get pulled out and while spinning the wheels and such.  I say I have jumper cables.  They say no, I should have done the running start clutch trick while going down the hill, but since I didn't they'll hook me up and pull me so I can do it now.  I don't know this trick, so Larry says he will do it for me.  They hook the chain back up.  Larry gets in my drivers seat.  They pull the car and get it up to like 30 or 40 miles an hour.  Larry does something.  The engine starts.  They stop.  Unhook the chain.  And say goodbye.


I did insist (even though they did object at first) to give them some cash for their trouble.  After all, they had broken one chain, and spent well over an hour getting me out of my little pickle.  And if they had not come around, who knows when or if AAA would have been able to get me out.  A regular tow truck probably wouldn't have been able to get up there too easily.  So some cash was due.


As they rode off, Larry yelled out the window several times "KEEP OFF THE BACK ROADS!!!!!!"


And then I was alone again, with my car unstuck, and it was time to keep heading toward the random spot, and to my next milestone goal for stopping for the night.


Before I got on my way though, I did take a moment to inspect the damage.


Busted Tail Light


Oops.  That kinda sucked.  Oh well.  It could have been worse.

02:00 UTC - 04:00 UTC (125 Mile Mark)

So, I collected myself, and headed on my way.  I obviously did not try the steep road again, but found a way around it.  I was still a bit shaken and upset from the whole getting stuck thing, but as I drove I got more into it and started to forget about it.  Before that long I got to the 125 mile mark.  Just a bunch of bails of hay near Germano, Ohio.


Bails of Hay


So of course I kept going.  And saw a significant marker I had to stop for.


General Custer


Yes, I was in New Rumley.  Birthplace of General Custer, of Custer's Last Stand.  Kind of neat.  Well, OK, not so much so maybe.  But it's what I had.


And all this wasn't too far from my goal of 113 miles from the random spot at which time I'd stop for the night.  And aftermy adventures of the previous few hours, I was ready to stop for the night.  I hit 113, found a nearby Best Western and checked in.


Best Western

04:00 UTC - 09:00 UTC (Fun at Best Western)

After checking in, I was still a bit wired and couldn't get to sleep right away.  So I checked email.  I watched TV.  I generally procrastinated for several hours.  I didn't do anything productive at all.  Oh wait, not quite true.  Because I had smashed my tail light, I decided now would be a good time to do my bills, so that I would know how much cash I had on hand when it was time to figure out what to do about that.  I had of course brought my bill pile with me on the trip.  Now, starting to do bills...  THAT got me sleepy right away.  So I only started, I did not finish.

09:00 UTC - 14:00 UTC (Sleep)

So I slept a few hours.

14:00 UTC - 16:00 UTC (Paying Bills)

When I woke up though, I got right to work.  I went through my whole finances pile, paid a bunch of bills online, recorded a bunch of reciepts...  all that sort of thing.  And I moved some cash from savings to checking, just to make sure I had enough for everything I might need for the rest of the trip, including potential car repairs.

16:00 UTC - 17:00 UTC (Arise)

Once the bills were done, I got myself packed up and ready for the day.

17:00 UTC - 20:00 UTC (100, 75 and 50 Mile Marks)

This was now the home stretch.  I was in the last 113 miles.  I would get to the random spot today.  We were getting close.  The first milestone for this leg was the 100 mile mark.  It was in New Philadelphia, Ohio.  Right in town.  A nice sidewalk.


New Philadelphia Sidewalk


The 75 mile mark brought an abandoned rusting bulldozer near Millersburg, Ohio.


Rusting Bulldozer


At this stage, while stopped near the bulldozer, I called Chad.  Chad was going to meet me for the actual finding of the random spot.  But we needed to figure out where to meet.  I was now close enough that I felt confident that the rest of my path was fairly predictable.  We decided that we would meet at 20:30 UTC in a little town called Fulton.  At a restaurant my GPS said was there called Sadie's Pizza.  OK.  That was set.  Chad would leave his place in Beavercreek right away.  I would probably get to Fulton first, but I would wait for him.


That settled, I kept going and soon hit the 50 mile mark.  Just more snowy rural roads...  near Cardington, Ohio this time.


More Snowy Roads


And then I continued on.  I got to the meeting place at Sadie's Pizza.


Sadie's Pizza

20:00 UTC - 21:00 UTC (Waiting for Go-Chad)

So, I was sitting in Fulton, waiting for Chad. 


Fulton Ohio Post Office


Assuming Chad could even find the place, I had at least half an hour to kill.  I would have just waited in Sadie's or gotten some food, but Sadie's was closed.


Sadie's Closed


So I just walked around town a little bit.  Then as the time Chad was supposed to meet me neared and passed, I started to worry that Chad would miss the turn into the town.  It was easy to miss.  So I decided to drive back out to the intersection to try to catch him there.  And of course, as things often happen, just as I was heading to the corner, Chad passed me going the other way, heading toward Sadie's.  I turned around on a side street, in time to see Chad turned around and heading back the way he came.  No!!  So I began to chase Chad to make sure he didn't go away.


Chasing Chad


We finally got our act together, and in front of Sadie's Chad pulled up and parked.


Chad Parked


Then Chad hopped in my car, and it was time to find the random spot!


Chad Ready to Find Spot

21:00 UTC - 22:00 UTC (The 2003 Q1 Random Spot)

Right after we left Fulton, we hit the last mile stone before the spot itself.  This time it was an actual mile stone.  A big one.  We got out and posed.  The closest town was Cardington, Ohio.


Sam and Chad and Post


And then it was striaght to the actual spot.  The closest town to the spot was not Kerr Corner, as I had thought from my initial look at Mapquest way back when I picked the spot, but was Richwood, Ohio.  We passed through Richwood, then shortly there after we turned onto the street that had been visible from the satellite photo, and we were as close as the roads were going to get to the spot.  Just a couple of hundred feet.  So I pulled off to the side, and we got off and started to trudge through the several inches deep snowy field trying to find the spot.  I let Chad do the honors with the handheld GPS.


Chad Tracking the Spot


Within a couple minutes, there we were right on the actual spot.


On The Spot


I was of course pleased to get to the actual spot.  The last few random trips, I had been able to get nearby, but not to the actual spot.  So it was nice to get to the spot.


Sam at Spot


Of course, the field we were standing in was somebody's farm.  The farm complex was in the distance.  And it was very cold.  So they probably didn't notice us, and if they did, they didn't bother to come out.  We didn't go to bother them either.


The Farm Houses


So, thanks very much for the mystery people on the farm that my random spot was on for your hospitality.  It is a nice spot.  But it was very very cold, and very very windy.  So we got back into the car and left.

22:00 UTC - 23:00 UTC (Broderick House)

I was going to be staying at the Broderick House in Marysville, Ohio which was about 15 miles or so south of the random spot.  I wanted to get all checked in before returning to deliver Chad back to his car.  So we headed to Marysville, and got to the Broderick House lickity split.


Broderick House


There was nobody there.  So I called the phone number on my cell.  Turns out I was about an hour and a half earlier than I had said I would get there when I registered.  Woops.  But the number was forwarded to the inn keeper's cell, and a few minutes later she came to let me in and check me in.  So in I went.


Broderick Check In


I went up to my room, which had a fancy big bed.


Big Bed


And downstairs there were little places to sit and stuff.


Place to Sit


Once all my stuff was upstairs I asked the inn keeper about places to eat in the area, cause Chad was hungry.


Broderick House Inn Keep

23:00 UTC - 00:00 UTC (Dinner at the Old Town Inn)

She recommended the Old Town Inn, so that's where Chad and I headed.  It was only a couple of blocks away, but it was cold and windy, so we drove.  We didn't have reservations and they were full, but there were seats at the bar.  So that's where we went.  I forget exactly what I had.  Some chicken thing probably.  Chad had a steak.  It was a very nice place and the food was good.  I forgot to take any pictures though.


And then Day 3 ended.


Select | Day 0 | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Epilogue

2003 Q1 Random Vacation
(40°25.409' N, 83°21.293' W - Richwood, Ohio, USA)