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Old 07-08-2017, 08:55 PM   #1
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When Baby Beluga gets stuck, IT GETS STUCK!

I've been going out to the Pismo dunes a lot lately so my kids, friends, and I can run our RC cars. My E350 is 2wd, but reasonbly well equipped with Camburg bent beams, Agile Fox Shox, Detroit locker, etc. I've been driving in the dunes regularly for more than 20 years, so I usually get away with the "minimum speed required" approach.... not today!

Already aired down, I was cruising along the back fence line looking for a good spot to run our RC's. I drove down a ~15-20' tall dune while heading south (so not terribly steep as when heading East would be) and I lifted out of the throttle for a bump near the bottom. As soon as I got back on the throttle to start up the other side, the ass end stepped out about 45° from my desired line and forward movement stopped as the rear wheels drifted into an adjacent bowl. Dang it.

I kicked my buddy and his kids out of the van and aired down to my minimum of 8psi (I learned from a previous experience that my sidewalls crease/fold over on themselves at 7psi) and tried to walk it sidewalls out of the bowl. Nope.

Time for plan C. I cut the wheel to one side and went for it in reverse to try to square up with the slope of the bowl, knowing it wouldn't climb all the way out the other (taller) side in reverse. Then the rear overhang of my EB finally showed its downfall. The rear bumper plowed in, and the front was still pointed uphill. Stuffed.

Luckily there was a couple that had stopped just outside the bowl to watch the show. The driver of the Ram 3500 on 35"s said he'd try to pull me out so long as he didn't start digging in himself. I linked both of my straps together and pinned one end through my hitch, and drug the other end up to the top of the bowl (barely!) After hooking to his hitch we discussed our plan of action and made sure that our intentions and signaling were clear, I really didn't want to be drug over onto my side, and that is a very real possibility in this situation. I left both of my windows down so I could hear when he let out of the throttle or honked.

As soon as there was tension on the strap, we both nailed the throttle (me in reverse) and the van got about 1/2 way up the dune on the first attempt, throwing bucket loads of sand into the cab. If you're unfamiliar with sand dunes, a bowl (like I was in) is exactly that, a cone shaped depression with no way out but up. I pulled forward about 2 feet and he backed up about 4 feet and we repeated the process several more times, getting about 2 feet further up each time. Every pull was in control with no hard/abrupt yanking, slowly but steadily making our way up. Eventually he drug me over the top and boy was I relieved!

I know it wasn't a super hairy situation, but coming from heavily modified 4x4's with 37"-40" tires, I can't say that I've been on the receiving end of the strap much. I have pulled out literally hundreds of stuck vehicles out there over the years and always shook the others person's hand and told them to enjoy their weekend/vacation once I got them out. Even though they almost always offer payment, I've never accepted a dime (though I have gone back to a few people's camps for BBQ) I always ask them to just pay it forward and help someone else out if they get the chance because "one day, it might be me who needs help." Well, today was that day, and I very much appreciated that Karma came back around and a stranger helped me out of a bad spot with nothing but a handshake and my gratitude in return. Seriously made me all warm and fuzzy inside.

We found a good spot and ran our rc's for just over an hour. 2 groups stopped to watch and I let a couple of their kids run my truck for awhile. Took a leisurely cruise through the dunes and down the beach, then aired up and headed home. Good family fun today!
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Old 07-08-2017, 10:54 PM   #2
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Yeah that's a great attitude. I've yet to be pulled out of being stuck but have pulled a few others out of a situation. No pics I always forget to take pics when something interesting happens.
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Old 07-09-2017, 01:29 AM   #3
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Time to get that blazer going!
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Old 07-09-2017, 04:04 AM   #4
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Do you have on board air?
For the last few weeks I have been working in the Northern Outer Banks where access is only via driving on the beach and having to drive over a mile on 10-12lbs of air worries me a bit. Nothing like a cut in the sidewall.
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Old 07-09-2017, 06:23 AM   #5
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The vital portions of this and every Recovery: understanding the nature of the scenario and the accompanying environs and maintaining a level, calm mindset.
Excellent job.
And, my eighth grade math teacher, John Collum always told us, multiple times a day through the year: You Get What You Give. Nice that you got support in return for all you've done...
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Old 07-09-2017, 09:33 AM   #6
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Hogasm: No on board air, I drove about 5 or 6 miles to a gas station to air up. Being that pretty much everybody airs down in the dunes, air is readily available at just about every gas pump in town and there are even vendors on the beach that will let you fill up for $1 per tire. Most of that was on the sand, and I never went faster than 15mph. Even still, the tires do get fairly warm and I usually wouldn't air down quite that low, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

You're right Jin, but I've been lacking the motivation, could this be it? My old K5 got away with 3psi and could just about climb a slip face from a dead stop in the middle of the hill, but it's almost 2 tons lighter, double the horsepower, tires are much bigger suspension doesn't require me to slow down for much, and it has beadlock wheels and on board air... like I said, getting stuck is a foreign concept to me, but my number got called yesterday!
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Old 07-09-2017, 10:59 AM   #7
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Bwhahaha!
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Old 07-09-2017, 01:36 PM   #8
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Sorry, no pics... I thought I painted a nice picture though, gotta be close to that 1000 word mark right?
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Old 07-09-2017, 04:30 PM   #9
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LOL
Just having fun
But yes, your wording provoked good metal images.
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Old 07-10-2017, 06:06 AM   #10
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... in this case - A word was worth a thousand pictures!?

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