catalenamara (catalenamara) wrote,

Bug Tales: The Great 4 Wheel Drive Adventure!

I had a “sort of” request for another “bug tale” – I haven’t posted one of those in ages.

Alas, I no longer own my 1973 VW beetle. It died a dramatic death last year, the engine giving out at the corner of a very busy intersection. I had the choice of replacing the engine, again, or getting something newer. And while I had had ambitions of having a drivable 40 year old car, I figured 37 years was a more than respectable time for my beloved Bug.

Way back in the day, when my car was very very young, I was living in the middle-of-nowhere Arizona. One year I took a “just for the fun of it” geology class at the local community college.

One of the things we did was go on a field trip, which involved driving another 60+ miles further into the middle of nowhere, then following a dirt road out past the back of beyond. The instructor told the students that four wheel drive vehicles were required, but I figured that, after living in Flagstaff for awhile, and driving my Bug through all that damn snow without ever using snow tires or chains, and over all kinds of mountain roads, that that requirement didn't apply to me.

So a friend and I showed up in my car, and all the guys (it was mostly men in that class) laughed their asses off. The instructor said OK, we'd try it. He took the lead, and they had me follow directly behind him, so there would be plenty of people behind me to help me when I got stuck.

We made it along the unimproved dirt road without any incident, though I must admit when we went down a pretty steep hill I began to worry about getting back up again. Besides being steep, the road curved quite a bit at that point.

We went past a picturesque ghost town, and reached our destination. It was a good place to dig for geodes, and my friend and I found quite a nice big one, plus a lot of smaller fragments.

When it came time to go back, the instructor told me to go first. All the guys *knew* I'd never make it back up that hill, and so they were already figuring out who was going to help push me up that incline.

So my friend and I headed back, and we reached The Hill. Now, I was a bit nervous at this point, but I didn't tell her that. My car, though, took the hill handily, and before much more time had passed we reached the campground.

So we broke out our sunshade and our lawn chairs and our cooler and had sandwiches and beer, and talked, and talked… and waited and waited… And 45 minutes later the guys finally showed up.

Yes, one of their four wheel drive vehicles had gotten stuck, and they had spent all that time digging it out…!

(I have to admit that if I’d known I was going to keep that car as long as I did I would never have treated it like a 4 wheel drive vehicle! A few years later I had to have the entire front axle of that car replaced!)
Tags: vw bugs

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