Long Way to Camp

Here is the scenario! Me, my brother Stephen and two of my cousins Carl and Trey are going to Fayette, Miss. for a hunting trip. We are all in high school and are taking two cars. My brothers old mustang and my Uncles Van. Since this is a 2-hour drive, we leave at night with the intent of sleeping in the van and hunting the next day. The trip is uneventful as Carl and I lead in the van as Stephen and Trey follow in the other vehicle.

We make it up Highway 61 until we reach the turnoff down a gravel road which leads to my uncles land, "The Property". As it is dark (about 9 pm) when we arrive at the turnoff Carl passes up the turnoff. Carl slows down so we can turn around and Stephen and Trey see that we realize that we passed up the turnoff so they turn down the gravel road and continue on the 3 miles to camp, camp being a place to park your car, no actual camp. Since there isn't any traffic and we are on a fairly straight road Carl starts to turn around where we stopped. We are only about 100 feet past the turnoff. He makes one mistake though while making this maneuver. While doing the old forward backward routine in an attempt to turn a vehicle around in a short area he backs up about 4 inches too far. We slide backward off the road and down into the ditch.

Not a big deal as the ditch is really just grass that is almost as short and well kept as your yard. But the tires just spin as we try to go forward onto the road. No problem we will just back up, the grassy area is hard packed, no threat of getting stuck and no holes or other obstructions to interfere with us! But guess what we can't go backwards either. This van has an extension, a platform if you will, that sticks out past the rear bumper. It is this platform that is digging into the ground behind the van due to the downward slope of the land the van is on.

So here we are 3 miles from camp and we can't go forward or backwards. Our only choice is to pull the van out with the help of another vehicle. So we wait for Stephen and Trey to come back to see why we aren't at camp. And we wait and wait. We wait for about 30 minutes and one car passes without stopping, and no sign of Stephen and Trey. What can they be thinking? Why haven't they come looking for us? This is absurd how long are they going to wait. The clock continues to click.

So after waiting what seems like an eternity, Carl takes off on foot. He is going to run the 3 miles to camp while I stay with the van. After waiting and waiting finally about 30 or 40 minutes after he leaves on foot they drive up in the mustang. They said they figured we were just driving around looking for wildlife. We hook up the mustang to the van but have absolutely no luck moving the van. So they take the mustang back to camp to get an old white heavy suburban like truck that stays at camp. So again I stay with the van and wait for their return. This wait shouldn't be that long. So after 45 minutes they finally show up. When I ask what the hold up was, they tell me they had to take the battery out of the mustang and put it in the old truck because it had no battery.

Ok, finally we are going to get somewhere. We hook up the truck and it successfully pulls the van out. Out of the woods right! NOPE, for some reason we have not one but two flat tires. AAGGHHH! Luckily we have a spare on the van and a spare in the truck that can be used. The tools are assembled and we commence to trying to remove the tire off of the back of the van, which is secured to the back door by a lug. The lug wrench fits it but it is virtually impossible to turn it do to rust. So it take every bit of strength one has to turn it. We end up taking turns on the agonizing task of removing the lug. I don't know how long it took to get the spare tire off its holder but I know we all had a workout that had our arms aching, I can only guess that this took an honest 20 minutes or more. So we finally get both flats changed. With cheers we anxiously jump into or respective vehicles to head for camp.

As I turn the key and hear the click, click, click of a dead battery I see Stephen and Trey leave in a cloud of dust. Can this really be happening. We didn't run the lights on the van this entire time and only had the hazards on when a car was passing and that only happened maybe once an hour or so. So again we wait. Finally they realize after sitting in camp for about 5 minutes that we are not coming. So they turn around and head back to hwy. 61. They jump off the van and FINALLY we head to camp. It is now about breaking daylight. Stephen and I head out to go hunting while Carl and Trey decide enough is enough and unroll sleeping bags to get some sleep. This happened long ago so its hard to remember all the details but I know the entire ordeal lasted from about 9 to daybreak. UUUGGGHHH!

A side note: That morning I shot my first deer, a 165# spike, and then around 11 A.M. Stephen shot a smaller 3 point, his first deer also. Persistence pays off.

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