This is a very long post. Ye be warned.
Oh how I loved Badger’s yellow four-wheeler. I never volunteered to drive the Badger truck, and I only drove the vans two times over the whole summer; but the four-wheeler was a different story. I would always try to think of excuses to zip around the ranch on that bad boy. During the second week of OYA Jodi was GL and I was WCL. It was Thursday and the kiddies were heading up for the trek (which was also our first trek experience because it had snowed the week before). Sarah, Jason and I were uber-excited to get some of our tasks done while everyone was gone, but at Brother B.’s request, we reluctantly agreed to accompany OYA on its maiden trek voyage. We needed to be extra careful on this particular trip because the truck needed to take up all the food on the TREK TRAIL because the back road was too treacherous with all the snow.
My job was to take up the rear on the four-wheeler with extra containers of water. Nice! Long story short, I’d never seen the trek trail before and I was scared beyond all reason to drive the four-wheeler on those deep ruts. I also ended up staying overnight to help out with something. But the next morning I wanted to beat everyone back to the Ranch to get some last minute work crew jobs finished before clean-up. I asked Brother B. if I could take off on the four-wheeler, and with the go-ahead, I drove off alone.
I think the trek trail had one—and only one—fork in the road. When I got to that fork I couldn’t remember anything from the day before. So, being me, I naturally took the wrong road. I remember driving along a really unfamiliar path. There were these huge houses with the longest driveways leading up to them and tons of dogs barking at me. Finally I decided that I’d taken the wrong path and I started turn around. Now here’s when the problem arose. The road wasn’t wide enough for me to turn all the way around…and (I kid you not)…I’d forgotten how to put the four-wheeler into reverse. I know, stupid.
So there I was, this dumb 19-year-old girl in the middle of a dirt road on a four-wheeler deciding what to do. I didn’t know how to put it into reverse, so I thought I’d take my chances turning around on the tight road. That was a bad idea. Instead of making it full circle to head the other direction, I got about 180 degrees to my left before I drove off the road, over a small log, and into some Aspen. Great. My front two tires made it over the log before it ran into the tree. My thoughts at this point? “Stupid, stupid, stupid!” Yeah, it was. I let out a big sigh and thought, “well, I guess I can push it back over the log facing the right direction…maybe…”
I put the four-wheeler in neutral and got off to push it.
Problem #1: The Aspen I drove into made it really difficult to push the four-wheeler because it was completely up in my face and just really in the way.
Problem #2: Those dogs that were barking at me were taking it a step further; literally. They were barking and had proceeded to walk towards me, and they didn’t look very friendly.
I pushed. I pushed and I pushed and I pushed that stinkin’ four-wheeler. “Come. On. MOVE!” I gritted my teeth and I kept sliding further and further back as I put my feet deeper into the ground until I was literally rolling around in the grass and leaves with an Aspen tree in my face. I began to panic as the dogs were getting uncomfortably close and growling. “Agg! Stronger!!!” I told myself. “It’s GO time!!!” I gave it another earnest push and I felt the front wheels start to go back over the log. “Yes, yes, yeeessssss, yeeesssssss!!!!” The four-wheeler finally came free and I jumped on to make my escape from the threatening dogs. “FREEDOMMMMM!!!” It felt so good to be driving back up the road to the fork where I messed up.
As I was driving away from the dogs two things happened. First, I remembered how to put the four-wheeler in reverse. This realization made me laugh out loud. Oh the irony. Second, I called Brother B. on the radio to see if the group had left the camp site. I didn’t have to wait long until they met me at the fork in the road. I still remember the look he gave me upon explaining that I’d gotten lost and that I didn’t want to explain why I was so dirty and why there were leaves in my hair. The look was a beautiful combo of confusion, frustration, amusement, and humor. A classic look I received more than once that summer.
My lesson learned from this incident? Never forget how to put the four-wheeler into reverse. I may not remember how to tie the knots for the rope courses, I may not remember the horses’ names, and I may not remember who was GL what week, but I can fervently assure you all that I remember how to put the dang four-wheeler into reverse!