Taking Darrell's truck out for a push

A movie was released in the fall of 2000 which in one scene a cast member was covered in mud by a truck spinning its wheels in wet ground. My girlfriend and I went to see this movie that brought back memories of relic hunting with Darrell, getting stuck and having to push to get out.

The next week after seeing the movie with my girlfriend, it rained for almost the entire week. The temperature had been dropping with winter coming on, and the nights were frosty as sometimes snow, or sleet fell. Darrell and I decided to scout some field over the weekend of November 25 2000 in our normal search region hoping to take advantage of the rain and find some decent fields to search early in the season.

The sky was gray and a cold wind blew out of the northwest as we headed out to the field that morning. An hour later the frost was just beginning to melt off as we pulled up to the farmers' house. With permission granted, we drove to the farm lane as directed. Slowing down to survey the dirt pull-off into the field, I mentioned that we should just pull off the truck on the right side of the road into the grass along the pull-off. Leaving the left tires barely on the road since the dirt pull-off may be muddy from all of the rain. Not to be discouraged, Darrell said that he would rather pull off the road entirely into the field pull-off. Saying he believed the pull-off should be well packed down firmly.

Darrell pulled into the semi-frozen field and we suited up for the cold drizzle. We searched the fields for a couple of hours in continuos drizzle with occasional heavier downpours. Checking the rise along the creek we found more flakes and a broken point here and there. We also checked the rolling hills further back along the old dry washing in hopes of finding the larger dropped relics.

After two hours of cold numbing wind and rain, with the sun getting lower on the horizon, we decided to head on out of the field with no complete relics in our pockets. The walk from the far end of the field was a long, windy and cold one. We discussed finding one or two relics on the way out of fields in years past by saying the magical phrase 'Now all I need to do is find another nice point on the way out.' But alas this did not work this day. It should have been an omen of things to come.

By the time we arrived at the truck we were very very cold. Not chilled, but downright cold. A combination of walking into the wind and wetness had numbed us both to the bone. The sun had reached a very low point and the darkness was falling fast with the overcast skies causing an early dusk. Temperatures were dropping as fast as our hopes of finding any decent finds in the field. Getting unsuited is always tricky in cold weather, made more difficult by wind and cold rainy drizzle. It was impossible to stay dry or clean taking off the rain gear and muddy boots, and we were both colder for this as we got into the truck at last.

Sitting in the truck while the engine got warm, I was quietly wondering to myself if we were going to have a problem getting out. We were nosed in first in a wet muddy field virtually in the middle of nowhere. During the middle part of the day as it drizzled, the frozen mud had thawed. Now it was starting to get a sheet of ice on the surface as the temperatures dropped.

I was determined not to say anything to Darrell since we had just started searching together again for relics after a few years slowdown due to family matters. So when he put the truck into reverse and stepped on the gas and the tires spun, I thought we are deep you know what. The tires finally gripped the mud and we backed up to the edge of the road. Then we really had a problem.

The edge of the road was about six inches above the farm land, and the farm lane being a frozen muddy slop was not getting us the traction needed to get over the hump. The tires were just spinning at the edge of the hump. Darrell tried rocking us forward and then backward in an attempt to get enough speed to bounce over the edge of the road. No luck. The rocking and turning of the front tires had only angled us off the farm lane into the field, which caused the tires to accumulate more of the sticky mud goo that resulted in further loss of traction.

After much rocking and gaining no foothold I knew that the next step was pushing the truck. I did not relish the idea of getting out into the dark rainy evening and pushing the truck that was now covered with cold mud. But the only way we were going to get out was either pushing or a tow truck and since there was no chance of a tow truck, I started suiting up again. Telling Darrell to try to not splatter me with mud too much I got out and moved to the front of the truck.

Even if we had been parked on a grassy area, this would not of helped much. In the cold wet weather, the grass would have acted like a sheet of ice. I pushed like a maniac on the front of the truck as Darrell gunned the truck in reverse. When he hit the hump and came back forward, I would quickly move forward as the truck did the same. Then as I heard him put it into reverse and gun the engine again, I would put myself into the muddy front and push again. Pushing and pushing more I felt like I could be having a stoke or heart attack in the numbing freezing rain.

Over and over this went, until the momentum of rocking and pushing finally got the tires enough over the hump to continue over. The suddenly the tires jumped up over the edge of the road and spun the muddy tires in the gravel shooting hundreds of pea gravel around in the air like a shotgun.

By Jeff Anderson
© 2000 Jeff Anderson
December 05, 2000