The first time I recall intentionally channeling a meditative state, outside of sport, was the first time we got the Scamp stuck.
It was our first experience with our rig, completely off grid. No hookups, no bathrooms, no power generation beyond our Biolite cookstove and car. The term people use for this is “boon-docking.”
I was just getting used to towing the Scamp with our Mini Cooper S. Our maiden voyage, from Kansas City, west to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado was only a few weeks prior. Backing up our rig was near impossible for me at this point.
The road we were on was a dirt forest service road. Most of these roads were developed back in the day for mining claims, so lots of washboarding and big ruts from heavy rain and snow melt. Not the best conditions for our Mini Cooper to tow a camper through.
About 20 miles from the nearest paved road, we decided to flip back to one of the spots we had seen earlier. The road was about one and a half lanes wide with very few spots to turn around.
We eventually found a camp site that butted up to the road with a little U shaped turnaround, up a steep hill. This looked like the best option we had. I put the car in a low gear, gained a little bit of momentum and charged up the hill.
Turns out, what I thought was hard packed gravel was actually loose sand. From this point forward, I’ve always gotten out of the car to assess roads ground stability before charging in.
When we got to crest of the hill, the mini began to chug out and slide down and left, nearly jackknifing with the trailer.
Once we came to a halt, I put on the parking brake and stepped out to assess the situation. The mini’s front tires were sunk about 6 inches into the sand, the Scamp was jacked at a tight angle to the mini, with it’s butt still hanging over the road.
The nearest spot we had cell service was 5 miles back the way we came. We were on our own.
I was doing my best to maintain my composure, so Elsa wouldn’t be unnecessarily alarmed, but internally I’m thinking “we’re fucked.”
At this moment I realized this situation wouldn’t get worse unless we made it worse. The mini and scamp would sit there until I made a move, and we had plenty of sunlight.
I stepped back from the situation physically, squatted down and found my breath. After a few meditative breaths, my mind was calm enough to find a way out of the situation rationally. My heart rate, anxiety and fear had melted into finding a logical solution to this situation.
It was about this moment that Elsa said, “Can’t we just unhitch the Scamp and move it out of the way?” Genius.
We put some big rocks behind the scamp tires, made sure the trailer’s safety chains were attached well, unlatched the hitch and lifted the trailer off the ball. Pretty uneventful really, the scamp barely budged.
Now we had the scamp and mini detached from one another. The mini still stuck in the sand with no chance of climbing up the hill. We had to move the scamp down to the road first, to get it out of the way.
I unhooked the safety chains, so the Scamp was only held back by the rocks under the tires. Found a solid grip on the hitch and dug my heels into the sand, then Elsa removed one rock, and the other. The Scamp slid back down on the road. I pulled on the tongue as Elsa pushed on the back of the camper so it wouldn’t roll off the road.
Now we had the Scamp safely on the road, I spun it around to face back out the way we came. At this point, the trailer is safe, but the car is still stuck in the sand.
We dug the sand out from behind the tires, so it could roll back a bit. I got in the car and delicately revved the engine in reverse, as I slowly released the clutch. Elsa pushed on the hood of the car to give us a bit more momentum.
The tires gripped just enough and we backed down onto the road, flipped the mini around, squeezed it back by the scamp, hooked back up.
Off we went to find the epic spot we had passed.
Moral of the story here is, if we were to have panicked and continued to spin the tires into the sand, tried to climb the hill or otherwise forced our way out of the situation, we would have been in deep shit.
But, since we gathered ourselves, found our breath, zoomed out, and calmly solved our problem, we came out unscathed.
Wild how powerful the mind is when we give ourselves the space to engage it.