Daily Archives: July 10, 2016

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


Looking out at the Black Rock early Thursday morning.

Looking out at the Black Rock early Thursday morning.

The story continues the next morning.

We are still stuck. We have been in contact with a recovery service indirectly. They will be coming out in the afternoon.

It was dark by the time we stopped last night, so here are a few photos of our current situation.

Passenger side front tire

Passenger side front tire

The front tire was well set up for us to get out.

Passenger side rear tire and box. There is still a lot of dirt in front of the back tire.

Passenger side rear tire and box.

The ground has been cleared out under the boxes, but there is still some dirt in front of the back tire. The back of the Fuso is much heavier than the front, Consequently, back is sunk much deeper into the ground.


View of the underside from the back.

View of the underside from the back.

Jon had cleared out the area under the center of the vehicle. The pneumatic bottle jack helped to even up the camper overnight so that we could sleep in it. The jack and the board it is sitting on have sunk into the ground. We removed both before trying to move the vehicle.


The driver side rear tire.

The driver side rear tire.

The driver’s side didn’t sink down in the ground nearly as much as the passenger side.

It seemed like the Fuso had a clear path to move forward, except for a little more dirt in front of the passenger side rear tire.

Not long after we got up, we heard a vehicle heading our way.

A visitor.

A visitor.

It was a guy named, Mike, who spotted us this morning. He drove out in his side by side to investigate.  We walked around the Fuso to evaluate our current condition and discuss recovery options.

Mike’s side by side

His vehicle wasn’t strong enough to pull us out, but he had a friend with another side by side that would probably be willing to help out. Mike recommended that we dig out the area in front of the rear passenger tire. We pulled out more recovery gear. Jon did a little more digging.

Jon digging out the rear tire in preparation for assistance.

Jon is about to crawl down under the box to reach the rear wheel.

In less than an hour, Mike returned with his friend, John. As it turned out, they had been camping at Double Hot Springs for the past week. It was just chance that they were away when we stopped at Double Hot Springs yesterday.


The plan was to bury the Pull-Pal in front of the Fuso.

The Pull-Pal is deeply buried. The yellow strap is attached to be able to pull the Pull-Pal out of the ground if needed.

The Pull-Pal is deeply buried. The yellow strap is attached to be able to pull the Pull-Pal out of the ground if needed.

We connected our winch line to it. John and Mike connected their vehicles to the front of the Fuso. So hopefully between the winch, the Fuso’s own power and the two side by sides, we would be able to get out.


All ready to go.

Initial attempt. Everyone is ready to go.

The Pull-Pal stayed buried, but was being dragged through the ground. The Fuso remained very stuck. Everyone gave it one more try, but Mike and John couldn’t pull any harder without damaging their vehicles.

So we dug out a little more. John suggested using a snatch block (pulley) to double the strength of the winch.

We attached a separate piece of winch line to the Pull-Pal. The line coming out of our winch was fed through a pulley and then reattached to the front of our vehicle. This increases the ability of the winch to pull.

winch pp alt 434ca

In the photo above, the blue line is the line coming out of the winch. The yellow line is a recovery strap connected to the winch line coming out of the pulley. We don’t have enough additional winch line to cover the whole distance.

Note: We are using winch line, not metal wire cable. In the case of the line breaking, it just drops. When metal wire cable breaks, it will fly through the air with the potential to hurt people and equipment. We placed a blanket over the line near the snatch block to keep it from flying around if something breaks.

It would not be safe for John and Mike to pull from the front of the Fuso, so they hooked their vehicles up to the Pull-Pal to make it a stronger winch point.

The side by sides are connected to the Pull-Pal.

In the photo above, the two side by sides are on the right side. The blanket is the blue blob in the middle.  The winch line is the pale blue line extending from the blanket to the left side of the photo. The Fuso is on the left side out of view of the camera (see above).


With all the additional effort, we were finally able to get the Fuso to move.

side by side text

The bad news is that the Fuso is now even more stuck.  The driver’s side of the vehicle is deeper in the ground.

The good news is that the cab and camper are more level.


John talking with Jon after the morning's final try.

Jon talking with John after the morning’s final try.

After evaluating our new situation, John and Mike couldn’t do anything else to help us get out. We really appreciated their help. They were driving home to Oregon today and needed to get back to their campers to get underway.

We are expecting the recovery service to come out this afternoon, so hopefully we will be able to get out then. It was beginning to get really hot. Now that the camper is more level, we took advantage of the cooler temperatures and shade inside the camper. We were both exhausted, so we took a nap.

More to come.



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