Where a car USED to be, thank god!
Well today was suppose to be a good one. I woke up early to say goodbye to Ron and Nick (two Phi Kappa Psi National employees) as they were heading back to the US at 9am. Luckily they had a cab so I did not have to drive them, but they are a couple of great guys. I have known Ron for some time. He works as the head of expansion and is a superstar in the Greek world. Phi Psi is the only national fraternity to increase in the last decade and Ron is a big part of the reason why. After they left, I went to buy some battery acid to help tan my shark hide (per the recommendation of Cindy back in the states) but the closest stores didn't have any and the ones that did were too far away so I had to turn back. I only had one airport run at noon where I dropped of Chris Gerittz, a Phi Psi from Oregon State who is currentlly serving as IFC President there. Chris had been feeling worn out from constant dead end battles between IFC, the faculty and larger fraternities which refused to adhere to IFC's wishes. Jerry had invited Chris down to "recharge" and I really think this helped. We had talked a bit and I think I gave him some words of encouragement that helped him refocus his energies. After that I went to pick up a Phi Psi from USC Named Karl Bernsike, an author/screenwriter/ and entrepreneur who co-wrote the book, "A Complete A**hole's Guide to Handling Chicks" and sold the tv adaptation. He was actually down here last time I was here 5 years ago, right when the book was being published, so it was pretty funny realizing where both of us have been since then. Anyway, my big plan for the day was to get back from the airport, load the kayaks in the suburbans, head to the marina, paddle out to the shark fin (a 30-40ft tall rock formation out in the water shaped like a shark's fin), and jump off of it. The group was going to consist of Mike, his girlfriend Deb, an undergrad named Jon, and Me. I took the suburban down to the casita where we keep the kayaks. Jon and I loaded them up, tied them up, and prepared to head to the marina. I make a left turn out towards the shore to turn around and head back up the hill. We got about 10ft and the car just slowly stopped moving and begins to sink. I'm driving and Jon is in the passenger seat and because it is hot we both have our windows down. I kick it into reverse and sand starts flying into John's window. We roll up the window, give it a little more gas, and get out to check the damage. Low and behold, our back left tire is nearly buried. Well this was really the last thing we wanted to do today but we said "hey, what the heck, lets get this thing out and we'll go kayaking." First I thought the Sub had 4x4 wheel drive, it didn't. Then we tried to get it unstuck by jamming boogie boards, the very same ones I skinned my shark on, under the tires. They didn't take. Before I continued with other options, I called a local: Derek. I was sure Derek had seen at least a half dozen of these in his lifetime and had to have some good advice. Well, after a Mexican minute, Derek simply handed us a shovel and said, "let out the air in the tires and start digging." Well we dug for about twenty minutes, enough so we could pretty assuredly fit the boogie boards close enough to the tire to be effective. We even placed a flipper in between to hopefully initiate traction. I got in turned it on and the flipper slipped under, came shooting out and the tire continued to spin atop the boogie board, showing no signs of traction. We got out, picked up the flipper, which was hot and had obviously just lost a significant amount of rubber as the tire has peeled out on top of it. We then removed the boogie board only to discover that the tire had worn away a large portion of the plastic, making it look like it had been used as a starting block for a drag race. So after damaging various pieces of Jerry's property, not to mention getting his car stuck on the beach, we decided to start digging again and this time grab some wood and stones to place behind the wheel for traction. after about another twenty minutes of digging, we tried it again with wood underneath the back end of the tire. We got in, put the car in drive, and again...nothing, just the smell of smoke. The heat from the spinning wheel had actually started to burn the wood we had placed underneath the tire, and the tire had buried itself another half foot into the sand. At this point the wheels were all at a noticeable angle so that if you opened the back passenger door, the corner of it would just plow into the ground. We decided we needed more help so I called Jose Luis, a Mexican local. I had confidence in him because Derek had always told me Mexicans are really good at moving things. Jose Luis came down with a shovel and looked at our progress. He said we needed to dig it out and build a slope so it could move up gradually. Well the rear passenger wheel was already about two+ feet below the level of the sand meaning any ramp would have had to have a gentle increase from two+ feet deep. We were looking at moving A LOT of sand. We voted down Jose Luis's option and asked for others. Jose Luis said he did have a power jack in his car and if we could lift the wheel out, replace the sand and put some traction under it, we could make some progress. This is at least an hour and a half since we first started this endeavor, and all the while uninvolved parties have been watching from above, not offering any advice or jeers, just watching and enjoying the fact that they felt no responsibility to help. So Jon and I grab the Ranger, a small off road vehicle on the property, and start collecting, wood, cinder blocks, bricks, stones and the power jack. We get it all down there and set up the jack on one of the wide bricks. I cannot express to you how relieved I was to see that tire rise out of the sinking sands. We lift up the car, place the sand back where we had removed it, placed the wood under the tire, created another wood track on the other side for the other tire, I kicked it in reverse and let her burn rubber!!! That is all she did, she spun out so bad that the wood started smoking. I really though we were on the verge of grabbing the hose and putting out a tire fire before it blew up the gas tank and the suburban, though it probably would have been more rewarding that the next hour and a half that I actually did spend with the suburban. We repeated three more cycles of lifting the car with the Jack, placing various materials under it, first wood, then heavier wood and stones, then bricks, then huge bricks, and every time the same thing. The wheel either spun and nearly started a fire or it would kick the materials out the other side. The thing literally pushed two 15lbs bricks through sand and out the other side. The car was violating all principles of Newtonian physics (and I was first in my class in Newtonian physics). We needed a tow, so Jose Luis went to get the one vehicle on the property with four-wheel-drive. We got back to lifting the tire back up when Jose Luis called to tell me the battery in the truck was dead. At this point my will was broken. Its hard to stay motivated when something's violating the laws of physics. We decided to pack up our stuff and lock up the car until a renewal of our determination or a better idea of how to get that car out of the sand came to pass. Derek suggested I call Dan Melcert, an American local who I think grew up in Mexico and used to do this as a kid. He said he had been driving since he was eight and used to make money towing "stupid gringo's like you[me] out of the sand." Well he made easy work out of it and I could just feel the weight lift off of my shoulders. I returned a hero as all the people from above clapped as I drove up the hill. The whole ordeal had taken about 4 and a half hours, three of which consisted of straight digging, planning and failing. So much for my great idea to go kayaking and ledge jumping, not to mention Jon had just spent his last day in Cabo trying to dig a suburban out of the sand and failing at every turn. Anyway, from here Jerry took us out to dinner at Tropicana's. It was good, we came back and I wrote in my blog, as you can see. Good night.