Subtitle: Getting your car stuck on an icy driveway in a winter wonderland!
My family and I departed Rockridge at approximately noon in a “boys car” and a “girls car,” respectively, not purposely protracting heterosexist world views but doing so nonetheless. It was a fairly uneventful drive to Nevada City, California, where we have rented a log cabin/lodge big enough to sleep ten, replete with hot tub, grand piano, a sign above the back door that says, “Friends are like pottery, you can never get enough.” Now, I wasn’t aware that you can “never get enough” pottery, but…now I know. (Thankfully the sign is very small and only over the back door off the den leading to the hot tub, AND the other strengths of our rental–foosball, a violin, and multiple wood-burning stoves—outweigh any textual elements that have been incorporated into the decor).
When we drove into Nevada City on highway 49 we were greeted by visions of a beautiful snow topped Victorians and evergreens. It was breathtaking.
But, what really took my breath away was the two-foot high moguls that compose the 400-yard inclined driveway to the lodge. We made it about 20 feet up before getting completely stuck.
Ironically, we had contacted the proprietors of the establishment earlier in the day to ensure that no such problems would occur. Did we need chains? Nooooooo! Was the house accessible? Yeeeeeees! Did we get stuck? Yeeeeeees!
It took about a half hour to locate a shovel while the light was quickly fading. Our fearless leader saved the day:
Unfortunately, the job took a little more than a shovel. One hour, phone calls to every major national rental car company (we wanted to rent a 4WD vehicle. None of the national car rental companies had ANY 4WD vehicles, not even at the Sacramento Airport, but Enterprise offered me an “all weather” vehicle, that they really wanted me to rent that “might” have 4WD, but was not listed as such), multiple phone calls to the proprietors, countless trips up and down the first 20 feet of driveway, and a trip to buy chains, we had the good fortune of making it up the hill to the lodge.
The proprietor came and salted the driveway, and made vague intimations of a “maintenance crew” coming by tomorrow.
There was absolutely no food in the house. We had reservations at the New Moon Cafe in town. Very soothing. We also had reservations about going down the driveway and needing to get back up, but our hunger got the best of us.
We had a fabulous dinner. New Moon Cafe has a phenomenal wine list. I ordered a great Anderson Valley cab for my dad since he’s a cab guy, and a nice Barbera for myself. Everyone else was generous enough to go along with my wine selections. I had an unbelievable sturgeon filet with a mustard seed crust and white wine buerre blanc. Amazing. But more on that later.
We got to the driveway and I got butterflies in my stomach. I wasn’t driving and I just had a bad feeling about our prospects for getting back up the hill. We got that same 20 feet up the hill and got stuck. The driver started to reverse to try again–but the rear window had fogged up, what with five people in the car–and the driver couldn’t see when he was reversing and ended up reversing part of the way down the embankment on the left side of the driveway so that the left rear wheel was sort of, you know, hanging off a tad.
The elders jumped ship. I. and Rimpletide and I spent about 45 minutes trying to get the left rear wheel back onto the driveway. I stayed in the driver seat and let the boys be boys. We tried all combinations of chains, twigs, and spare boards wedged under the wheels. Pushing didn’t really do much since we were going uphill. I suggested calling my roadside assistance, but the boys were sure that they could be mountain men and get us out of the embankment through sheer will and ingenuity. So I went along with it until I was just too cold.
So at approximately 10PM I trudged up the driveway and called Geico Roadside Assistance (no cell reception up here). Within 30 minutes a tow truck was at the base of our driveway. K., a pleasant and burly fellow came to pull us out of our rut. K. was wearing shorts and shoes with no socks in 38 degree weather. K. was missing a few of his front teeth, and saw “no reason” why we were not able to make it up the driveway, and saw “no need” for chains on our tires.
Within five minutes he had knelt down in the snow, attached our car to the pulley on the truck, and yanked us out of the embankment. To prove how easy it is to drive up this particular snowy/icy/narrow mountain driveway, K. offered to drive up back up to the house, free of charge.
Without much ado, we piled in. K. reversed down to the based of the drive, and then sped up to 30 miles and hour as we blasted over the icy moguls known as our vacation rental driveway.
K. is part of a towing establishment known as “Kilroy.” When he announced the name proudly to us he said, “Kilroy, ever heard of that?” We assured him we did in fact study WWII and that the $10/month I spend on Geico Roadside Assistance is probably the wisest investment I’ve ever made. Seriously. Major Geico plug.
Love you K. Love you Kilroy. Love you Geico.
Happy Holidays from A Rockridge Life via Nevada City.