Black Rock Desert, Stuck in the Playa, Day 2 afternoon – June 2, 2016

Smith N' Tobey Recovery Service arrives.

Around 3:30 pm, we woke up from our nap when we heard a car drive up. A couple of minutes later, there was a knock on our door. Smith N Tobey Recovery Services had arrived. Carman and Marge had brought their XTerra, sand ladders, boards and tools.

 

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The driver’s side rear wheel was now much deeper than it had been this morning.

Our plan was to dig out both rear wheels and put in the sand ladders. The other rear wheel had sunk a little more, so it also needed to be dug out again. We would use the MaxTraxs for the front wheels. Then, we would use the Xterra to to help get the Fuso out.

It was really hot (a little over 100 degrees F). Fortunately, Carman had a lot of experience in fighting wild fires. He really knows how to dig even in hot conditions.

Getting the driver’s side cleared was relatively straight forward.

Not as much digging required on the driver's side.

Not as much digging required on the driver’s side.

Getting the passenger’s side rear wheel dug out was a challenge. There was already a tremendous pile of dirt from our earlier recovery attempts. So not only did it require sliding under the vehicle, but just getting rid of the dirt required a lot of effort.

Carman sliding under the Fuso to do a little more digging.

Carman sliding under the Fuso to do a little more digging.

Due to the limited access, we were using a mattock and the back of the ax. Even the ice scraper came in handy. We’re packing a trowel next trip.

Rear tire with sand ladder in place. Ax used for digging.

Rear wheel with sand ladder in place. Yes, we used the ax for digging.

The sand ladders were put in front of the two rear wheels. The front passenger’s side was already on top of a MaxTrax.

MaxTrax is under the passenger side front tire.

If you look hard, you can see the pink of the MaxTrax under the wheel.

We put the other MaxTrax in front of the driver’s side front wheel.

MaxTrax in place.

We tried using the same set up that we used this morning except the XTerra would be attached to the Pull-Pal. We would use the winch attached to the Pull-Pal and the Fuso’s own power. While we were making final adjustments, we had a visitor on a dirt bike stop by to see what was happening.

We have a visitor. Jon and Carman deciding what to do next.

We have a visitor. Jon and Carman deciding what to do next.

Rusty had a friend that had gotten his pickup truck stuck in almost the same place last year. He and his friends were camping at the Black Rock Hot Springs. They found out the hard way that the water from the Black Rock Hot Springs drains this under this area.

We went ahead and gave our current arrangement a try.

Jon and Carman checking the equipment setup.

Jon and Carman checking the equipment setup.

The Fuso dragged the Pull-Pal and the XTerra towards us. Jon and Carman made a few adjustments and then tried again. We gave it one more try without any success.

Jon heads back to the Fuso for one more try.

Jon heads back to the Fuso for one more try.

Rusty offered to go back to his campsite to get his truck, a Ford F-250. It certainly has more pulling power than the XTerra. Since we weren’t having any success going forward, Rusty suggested that we try going backwards instead.

So Rusty left to get his vehicle while we did a lot more digging to get the Fuso set up to reverse. We packed up the Pull-Pal and much of the other recovery equipment. Rusty returned with his friend that had gotten stuck last year.

Jon continues to set up for the next recovery attempt. We have spectators.

Marge talking with Rusty’s friend.

We put down boards by the back wheels to give them more of a ramp to drive up.

Getting prepared for a recovery attempt going backwards.

Much more digging was required.

 

After a lot more work, we were finally ready to give it a try.

 

In less than a minute, we went from this:

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Everything is ready for the recovery attempt.

 

To this:

Assessing the situation.

Not an improvement.

 

We all walked around it to assess the change of situation. After some consideration, we decided to use the Hi-Lift jack to raise the rear of the vehicle enough to get under it. We put the Hi-Lift jack on top of a sand ladder and board to keep it from sinking into the ground.

Jon and Carman did some more digging to make it possible to put bottle jacks under the frame to make it more secure. It had been hoped that with jacking up the frame, we could put some support under the rear wheels. But we couldn’t jack the truck up high enough to get them off the ground.

Jon and Carman doing what is necessary for the next recovery attempt.

Jon and Carman doing what is necessary for the next recovery attempt.

The boards, the MaxTraxs and sand ladders were arranged to give both the Fuso and the Ford the best chance of getting traction. This required a lot more digging and removing the jacks.

 

Sunset and our good samaritans are still here.

Sunset and our good samaritans are still here.

Around 10:30, we gave it one more try to get the Fuso out or at least less stuck.

Almost ready to make one more recovery attempt in the dark.

Almost ready to make one more recovery attempt in the dark.

It didn’t help.

The last recovery attempt of the night.

The last recovery attempt of the night.

We decided to call it a day. We thanked Rusty and his friend for all their help. They had been planning a gourmet dinner at their campsite and stuck around anyway.

The Fuso was much too unstable for us to be in it. We put away all of our recovery gear, collected a few items from the camper, shut off those things that needed it and finally locked it up.

Sunset

We made arrangements with Carman and his wife to drop us off at the hotel in Gerlach, NV. We headed out on the playa in the dark. After driving around for a long time, it turns out were weren’t going in the right direction. We eventually stopped at a campsite. It turned out we had made our way to Rusty’s campsite at Black Rock Hot Springs which was in the opposite direction that we wanted to go. Amusing as it was, we were all tired. So we got directions and made it to Gerlach around 12:05. Everything was closed. Not even the bar was open.

Carman and his wife still had a 75 mile drive to return to Wadsworth,  NV.  They offered to drop us off at a hotel in the neighboring town, Fernley, NV. Fernley is a good sized town with a number of hotels and other services. So at 2:15 am, we were checked into a Comfort Suites.

We would get together in the morning to decide what to do next.

 


Categories: Prep | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Black Rock Desert, Stuck in the Playa, Day 2 afternoon – June 2, 2016

  1. Hopefully there’s a happy ending to all this. I’m not sure how well I would have handled it. I most likely would have stroked out from the effort.

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