*A Sunny Afternoon Drive*
By: Haystack
01 September 2007

On a sunny afternoon, my wife and I decided to go for a drive in the mountains. It had been raining a lot during the past few days. We were driving down a nice two-track trail when the road went downhill and then crossed the creek. I stopped the truck and walked ahead to scout out the terrain. While walking close to the creek, I began to sink in about 6 inches. I decided that it would not be a good idea to try to drive the truck through this. I got back in the truck and backed it back up the road for almost a mile. When we got to a nice high spot I decided to turn it around. As soon as I got off the trail, the truck sunk. My truck was a new 4x4 diesel with new BF Goodrich mud terrains on it.

I have always carried extra equipment in my vehicles. I have food, water, survival gear, stove, wool blankets, CB radios, frs radios, tire chains for all 4 tires and recovery equipment.

In the area of recovery equipment I carry: 2 shovels (1 large and 1 entrenching tool), 2 come-a-longs (1- 4000 lb and 1-8000 lb), 50 ft of old winch cable with hooks on both ends, 100' of old " rescue rope (rated at 9000 lbs), an old 16' logging chain, a block pulley, and a high lift jack. I had just traded in another truck for this truck. I took the winch off of the old truck, but because of money, I had not bought the mounting kit to put on the new truck yet. Guess where the winch was. It was in the garage at home (nice place for it). After a few minutes of trying to rock the truck back and forth to get unstuck, I found myself buried to the frame. No worries, I live for stuff like this.

It was about 3 o'clock in the afternoon and I was with my wife. I began to figure out a plan. With the nice powerful 9500 lb Ramsey winch sitting in the garage at home, I had to do it the old fashioned way. I could not pull the truck forward due to the mud, so I had to pull it backwards. Even if I had the winch mounted on front, it would have just pulled the truck further into the mud. In order to reach a tree behind the truck, I had to use the 100' rope, the 50' winch cable, and both come-a-longs. The come-a-longs were not strong enough to pull the truck. I had to tension the come-a-longs as much as possible, dig under the truck, and have my wife try back up the truck. The rope would stretch and act like a rubber band to pull the truck out backwards. Each time the truck moved a few inches, I had to tension the come-a-longs. This whole process took 3 hours, but we got the truck out. After the truck was pulled back a ways, I was able to use the block pulley to make a 2:1 mechanical advantage. My wife was getting anxious, she had not planned for this to happen. She was afraid we would have to spend the night. I enjoyed it, except for my wife not being happy. Secretly, I wanted to spend the night out there.

I learned several things that day:

  1. Always be prepared!!! If we had to stay the night, we would have shelter, water, food, and warmth. Or we could have called for help on the CB radio.
  2. Always have a backup for everything. You should have multiple ways to start a fire, purify water, etc. This applies to vehicle recovery as well. Even if I had the winch, it could have failed or been mounted in such a way as to not have been helpful. Then I still would have had to do it the old fashioned way (with a shovel and come-a-longs).
  3. Since the come-a-long has a very short throw ( the cable is only about 10') I would have to keep retying the knots in the rope to make it shorter. Instead of this, I tied a tensionless hitch around the tree. This type of knot is easy to untie and it also retains the full strength of the rope (most knots can weaken the rope 25-35%).
  4. Lastly. A winch does no good if it is still in the garage. I did not have a camera with me to take pictures. Next article will have pictures of the tensionless hitch, picket anchors and recovering an ATV with no winch.

Soon afterwards I mounted the winch on the truck with a quick mount so it can be used on the front or back of the truck.

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