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As vacations go, this one had its UPs and downs.

Almost one down too many!

I had a great time, too much driving, but I did get to see everyone I wanted to…with an exception or two.

I saw Mother, all my siblings, some high school friends, and of course Peggy after 38 years.

I had lunch with one of my most faithful readers and commenters, Jana B, at KJ’s Kitchen in Downtown Germantown, Ohio.


And after all the Florentine frivolity in Germantown, I headed back to the mountain retreat of my brother and his wife,  a.k.a. Jenny’s parents.

The trip is longish, not bad, and the drive is pretty;  the beautiful farms of Southern Ohio, The Scioto River, The Ohio River, West Virginia, The Kanawha River, the mountains, Virginia…pretty stuff.

Crappy cell phone service, but pretty scenery.

Once I had cell service along the West Virginia Technology Corridor – and they aren’t kidding about that – I got a voice mail from my brother Charlie.  It said, “Hey, Paul, we had new gravel put down on the drive today, so when you start UP the hill, keep your momentum and don’t stop.”

First of all, it’s not a hill.  It’s a mountain, and it’s straight UP.

Secondly, I had my momentum, but the gravel at the top was just too deep, and I got stopped, I didn’t stop, the car stopped. 

So, with no where to go, I started to back down the drive.   I used my mirrors, I paid attention, I thought I was doing just fine.

I don’t back well.

Really, not well at all.

No where to go

And this is where I ended UP.

I had no idea just how close I was to the side of the mountain.

It’s about a 200 foot drop, or in this case, roll, ’cause that’s about what I was going to do.

Charlie came flying over the hill and said, “Stop!”, “Don’t move!”, “Get out of the car!”

OK, I was frustrated already, and getting out of the car requires moving, so I was a tad confused!

Going NO Where

After a quick assessment by Charlie, he camly  said, “We’re gonna’ have to get a tow truck.”

Once I looked down over the hill/mountain, I was no longer calm.

After a quick change of underwear and a call to AAA, I went inside expecting the groaning noise of a Jeep Liberty rolling down a hill any minute, much like the noise from the Speilberg movie “Duel” from the 1960s…if you haven’t seen it, rent it.

AAA asked me if my vehicle was in a safe place.

Ah, NO!

It’s amazing how fast they respond when you tell them your car is precariously perched atop a mountain road and ready to fall.

After a few questions, a few return calls to give us status, Buster and Joey showed UP from Amherst,VA…a couple of mountains or, about an hour away.

Not Dave, but Joey and Buster

Seriously folks, it’s the hills.

The first thing Buster, pictured on our right above, said was, “I don’t know what the hell ya think I’m gonna’ be able to do, I can’t get this thing around.”

More truck than drive.

He wasn’t kidding.

After a quick assessment of the situation by Buster…

Buster Checking Things Out

…there was much conversation between Joey and him…for a few minutes, even they were at a loss.

That’s Buster under the car, by the way.

Buster’s dissappointment at the fact that my Jeep is NOT a four wheel drive vehicle, was only surpassed by my terror when he got into it and tried to ‘drive it out”. 

Joey in the background screaming, “Stop, stop, she’s ready to fall!”  did not help AT ALL!

It was deemed, by the professionals that the only way to get my car moved was to pull it out.

But, with what?

Well, about this time, Jenny, my lovely niece of MomminitUP fame, her husband, three children, and my sister-in-law, arrived in the ‘road-test” vehicle Mitsubish had loaned them for the trip.

It, thank goodness, is an all wheel drive!

So, with Buster and Joey’s straps and chains hooked to some never-to-loan-Jenny-a-car-again dealership’s Mitsubishi, Buster at the wheel of my car, and Bobby at the wheel of his, they pulled it out, and UP the rest of the hill, who are we kidding mountain.

Knight in a Blue Mitsubishi

Oddly enough, I had no idea I was that close to the edge when backing UP.  In an instant, I could have rolled over that hill. 

Now, that’s a vacation spoiler.

At the edge of disaster

But, alas, Shakespeare was right, all’s well that ends well.

Plus, Joshua had already barfed in the Mitsubishi anyway, so what’s a little towing gonna’ hurt?

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