Monster Jam in the woods and other divine interventions

{dead battery story continued}

Time takes a turn when you’ve got somewhere to be and a drained car battery that says “uh-uh.”

I weigh which option is most likely time best spent in the time remaining before my appointment. Walk a remote forest road with few campers for someone with jumper cables.

Or call Triple A. On a Sunday. And have a blast explaining my location.

Fortunately, my Garmin (GPS for anyone unfamiliar), which like my cell phone is old and quickly drained of its battery life, had enough life that I could establish my coordinates. The best I could offer AAA.

I opt to walk in search of a camp “neighbor” with jumper cables.

You couldn’t say I stumbled upon potential. I mean, does anyone really “stumble” upon a humongous beast of an RV parked on a narrow forest road?

Perhaps they feel compelled to park there, blocking the road, to drink in the scenery. Or not grapple with the challenge of turning a humongous beast of an RV (did I mention it’s humongous?) out of a super narrow space. Or perhaps the driver’s sleeping.

Guess which. Surprise! The driver’s sleeping.

So informs the blonde babe with two tykes when I arrive at their doorstep — wow, there’s a concept, a doorstep in the primitive wilds! — in search of jumper cables. Sensing my plight, she overcomes her reluctance to awaken her husband.

“No, he says no jumper cables,” she tells me. “But I’m not sure. We just bought this humongous RV.” Okay, she doesn’t really say “humongous.”

I pass another camp that’s occupied, as evidenced by their bikes and tent and stuff, but no one’s there.

So Triple A it is.

Every minute and every word counts when your phone battery drains faster than a keg at a frat party.

So I hasten the dialogue before I’ve got two dead batteries on my hand. “Well, you see Triple A ma’am, I’m at the end of this dirt road in the mountains in Prescott, Arizona. Landmarks? No, no McDonald’s. There are a lotta trees, brush and bushes though. In fact, I thought I might meet Edward Scissorhands this morning. What? Never mind.”

So I’m explaining the situation, giving her my GPS coordinates, trying to remember the name of the nearest main paved road when out of the blue, a big — not humongous, just big — dark pickup truck swings my way like it’s on the way to a fire and stops on a dime nose-to-nose with my Subaru.

Two scruffy dudes pushing middle age or past jump out.

Okay, maybe it’s the female in me. Or my keen awareness that bad things happen in life. Or acute sensitivities and street smarts as a woman (and not a very big one at that) traveling solo out in the boonies. All of the above and my primal ears shoot up.

“Hold on, some guys just drove up,” I tell Triple A lady.

“You need a jump?” asks Scruffy Dude 1.

“I do! And you are?”

“We’re campers up the road. That humongous RV is blocking us.” Okay, once again, he doesn’t actually say “humongous.”

“The guy with the RV told us you need a jump. Pop your hood.”

And boom! boom! boom! 1-2-3. Just like that, Scruffy Dudes attach the cables like they’d done it 100 times in their sleep.

“Now start ‘er up.”

She’s alive!!

Then boom! boom! boom! Fast as they got there, they’re off, turning corners around the humongous RV that suddenly appears negotiating its U-turn — it’s like a monster jam in my primitive sector of the woods! — my profuse expressions of gratitude and thank you’s and God bless you! trailing like their dirt cloud.

Simultaneously, I’m conversing now with Brian, the Triple A truck driver who’s taken the place of the clerk. I provide a play-by-play action report, not wanting to lose him until it’s certain the car’s good to go.

That achieved, I tell Triple A Brian the same thing I’m telling you and any others hearing this story:

I’ve got camping angels watching over me.

For anyone curious, I make it in time to my appointment.

But not before a final encounter with the man with the humongous RV. “We just bought it. It’s full of stuff. I’m sure it has jumper cables and they’re in there somewhere.”

And not before a closing pass by the site with the two Scruffy Dudes. {wave wave wave and hollering out the window} “Thank you again soooo much! God bless you!”

And, too, for the record, a humongous thanks to the RV recreationists. They may not have been able to locate their jumper cables but they were the conduit to giving my girl her go.



Edward Scissorhands, is that you?

I’ve got two camping angels watching over me.

+ + +

Saturday morning at the dispersed campsite in the Prescott National Forest in Arizona. Dispersed camping, for those unfamiliar, is primitive campsites. Only dirt, no facilities or services, typically free. Roughin’ it fo’ real.

I’m snoozing in the back of my Subaru. My current lifestyle and mode of sleeping — if it can be called that. With back seats down, even my short stature (and petite frame) exceed the cargo space. Subarus are GREAT cars but not designed for big folks.

Between my makeshift blackout curtains — unhemmed black fabric from Walmart — and a coupla hours of lost sleep to a hard chill and hard sleeping surface, I’m actually slumbering well past daybreak!

Then clicky clicky clicky buzzzzzz buzzzz buzzzzzz.

I’m awakened by the sound of …. what? A forest ranger trimming bushes around my camp spot with an electric saw?

Emerging from my warm mummy bag in the rear and folding myself origami-style into the front cabin, I investigate, peering past the window’s sunshade. No one’s visible. And certainly no one with a buzzy gardening tool.

And why would a ranger concern himself with bushes or branches anyway? It’s a national forest for god’s sake! It’s not like the Forest Service employs Edward Scissorhands to come shape vegetation.

Clicky clicky clicky buzzz buzzzzzz buzzzzzz buzzzzzzzzzzz.

Where IS that sound coming from!?!?

Oh. No. Could it be?

Ear to the ground — rather, air — I glance at the steering wheel. The key’s right where I left it dangling last night: In the ignition. When car-camping, I keep it there for a number of practical reasons. With everything turned off.

That’s the usual state of affairs anyway in the many many many nights of sleeping in Subaru Suite.

Clicky clicky clicky buzzzzz buzzzz buzzzzzzzzzzz.

The dots are connecting. Expecting the worst, I rotate the key. Right. Nothing but the sound of a battery gone dead.

Because best I can figure, and unbeknownst to me, when I’d turned the key to unlock the doors for a late-night pee break — friendly reminder: Drink NOTHING three hours before tucking yourself into a sleeping bag! — I hadn’t returned it quite to its full off position, leaving the battery to drain.

So here I am. In a national forest. On a dirt forest road. At the very end of that road. Of course. Some 5 miles from civilization proper.

Thank god there’s still some charge on my old iPhone battery! It’s not like the other night when I accidentally left the phone on to listen to “Coast to Coast,” only to awaken to a phone battery with zero charge.

More importantly, thank goodness the phone picks up some signal out here in the boonies. Kudos to Verizon. They truly have the best coverage. I travel a LOT and to remote destinations and know of what I speak. I’m a walking — well, driving — advertisement for Verizon.

Note: I am not being paid for this endorsement.

However, the puddle of juice in the iPhone battery isn’t my first thought.

It’s: Dead car battery. Electric windows and doors. Windows shut tight to keep out the chilly mountain air. CAN I GET OUT?

Visions out of a horror movie erupt. I can see it now. Me screaming at the top of my lungs from behind a pane of glass in a gigantic forest … at the dead end of a dirt road … shouting for someone, anyone who may or may not be within earshot of a girl inside a sealed vehicle.

Absolutely no one knows I’m here. It’s too soon to think about being trapped for days and days. Too soon to think about the cabin depleted of oxygen. Too soon to think about authorities stumbling upon me, body stilled, contorted face plastered against a window that wouldn’t open … them rifling through my wallet and phone to identify me.

Or is it?

With bated breath, I tap the electric passenger door button. VOILA! Air and light of day come flooding in! I’m saved! I’m free!

Only two explanations are possible for electric doors that open despite a zonked battery. Either I failed to lock the doors during that pee break in the wee hours, no pun intended — a misstep to my favor. Or the Subbie’s got a safety mechanism enabling doors to open in an electrical failure. I’ll have to google that.

Just not at this very minute. Hardly wise use of threadbare electronic resources. I’ve got more pressing matters. Like how to get the car from Stop to Go.

In short order too. I’ve got an appointment with Judy to view her rental room.

… to be continued …