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Need a Lift?

It was just one of those days. We headed out around 3:00 pm thinking we would go do some plinking. If we found a rabbit or two then great, but the plan was go out and head back around dusk. We turned off hitting a snow covered 2-track, headed for one of the usual spots. The sun was out and the snow was not very deep so we drove ahead. Down the road, hook it left, go a little way then that lovely sound of slipping tires on ice. I had hit a low spot in the track that allowed the skid plat to bottom out and stop us cold. If I had been going a few MPH faster it probably would have been just fine. Not so lucky today.

The decision to run out there was made in haste. A light jacket, no gloves, and no shovel. Just a few tools, a couple of rifles with ammo, and some water and snacks. Things were about to get interesting.

After a quick assessment of the situation it was decided that trying to rock or push the beast out was pointless so we started digging. By hand. It did not take long before the softer snow gave way to hard pack and ice. As it turned out, not having any clearance to work with, and having to make your way through 3 feet of packed snow and ice from the sides in both directions with just your hands is not easy. We looked around for anything. Maybe a decent stick? A t-post that we could borrow? Nadda. So I dig through the cab and grab the crank for the jack. If you know Chevy, then you know the crank handle is a marvelous thing for spinning the jack screw. A trusty digging tool it is not. Any type of a digging motion was going to bend that thing like a pretzel. But hey, its not like I was going to dig some nice hole with a 1/4″ rod. The option quickly became poke at the snow and ice to loosen it, then dig that out by hand. Took a while but it worked. Great. On we go.

I think we made it another 100 yards before we got hung up yet again. I was ready for it this time so some quick action at the controls made it so a bit of rocking got us going again. We had enough of that so we backtracked to the road then went SW until we got to where there was no snow. Plenty of mud, but no snow. We tooled around for a while and ran into some hunters so we decided it was best not to be shooting around them. Back to the road we go.

Still wanting to shoot, we went to another spot. This time the dirt road was snow packed, but I also knew that it had a decent amount of road base so I didn’t expect any drama, and there wasn’t. Unfortunately the snow of the road was rather deep. No great for walking around in and the clouds had really moved in, so we decided to turn back. Now mind you turning a +25′ truck around on a 12′ wide snow road is not going to happen. I opted to turn onto a road that intersected of the main path. As soon as we got on it we thought we may as well drive up a little to what looked like a clearing and see if it was something we could walk in. Well, we got a really good look at it. Right as we got to the clearing the truck slides left and down. Yup, off-camber road with a snow drift. Fantastic! The truck was buried from the front to rear differentials. We were not digging out of this one before dark.


Okay, I got this. Roadside assistance through the AMA. They will get’r done I say. Ha! Cell service was pretty much nonexistent. I probably got disconnected 3 times. The operator was trying to help but there system has zero knowledge of the area. The closest town with a winch truck was about 45 minutes away – she wanted to dispatch one from another location that was roughly 2 hours of drive time. Sure its closer for a crow, but come on. As I am trying to explain things to her the call drops and I cannot get it back. Did I say no joy? Well, no joy.

My son decides he wants to walk towards the main road until he gets a signal. The plan was he is going to call the house and have my wife bring out a couple of shovels. Its about an hour walk to the main road so we were hopeful that he would get a signal before that.

While he is gone I start digging. And digging. And digging. About 3 hours in I hear his truck coming up the from the T. Its a Ranger that we built. Its lifted, and its not going to get stuck. I was glad to see them. My son was less thrilled that his mother drove his truck. Never mind that we put the money into it. We let the attitude slide given that he actually had to get pretty close to the main road before he was able to get a call out.

It only took a few minutes with the shovel to get out. I was fortunate enough that the road just in front of the truck had a nice wide spot in it that was also just outside the drift zone. After a quick turn around I was headed back home. Needless to say not only was I kicking myself for not bringing a shovel– I always tell my son to bring a shovel –but I was also coming to grips with the fact I had been lucky to not have gotten that truck stuck in the past. Having a stock height Chevy that is as long as a boat is just asking to get stuck. Maybe I was just unfortunate to get a few years worth running gound out of the way in just one day. Time to lift it or sell it.

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A quick update on this. After what felt like year of contemplating (it was really only half that), I did pull the trigger and got this thing off the ground. I think it turned out well.

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