Built “Ford Tough” in Kauai

Zarathruster By Zarathruster, 19th Mar 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Humour>Funny Stories

A first person account of getting a rental vehicle with my company stuck in the sand on a Hawaiian beach.

Built “Ford Tough” in Kauai

Built “Ford Tough” in Kauai

Zen philosophy is all about the duality of things – nature, man, etc. and says that one cannot have extreme happiness without its polar opposite – absolute despair. Yin and Yang, light and darkness. It was this school of thought that was impressed upon me on February 21st, 2010 - a day that will never be forgotten .

After having one of the best surf sessions of my life on the south side of the island of Kauai’ we headed out to the most western side of the Island to the beach at Poliaho in our company rented Ford 4X4. The rental agent made us sign a waiver to make sure we did not take the vehicle off road... We went to see the 18 ft waves and ended up viewing a possible end to our careers and financial futures. Josh, Tony and I were all in high spirits and driving to what we would soon find out was the middle of nowhere – the furthest most north and western point of the Hawaiian islands. The next stop would be the Midway Islands, then Japan.

After a half hour drive we then had another thirty minute long tumble down a road that seemed to be cratered with mortar shells. Upon arriving at the beach we saw a sign that was covered with surf decals that said “emergency phone” – however there was no “phone” in it. We later learned that the phone was about a half mile away. At the infamous beach, we proceeded to climb a dirt road with no problem, (which instilled more false confidence), then we saw the ocean. The eighteen foot waves thundered onto the beach and we were in awe of the sight. Since the sun was setting we had no time to waste to rush into oblivion. We took a right and tried to climb further, decided that was a bad idea and went directly into the 2 foot deep tire tracks down to the beach. The truck seemed to sink a little, but hey, no worries, it’s a 4X4! We sunk further as we drove and everyone became very quiet. Someone said “try backing up” and we did – a little. “Try going forward” Nothing.

This is the point where panic began to set in. We got out and started digging. We tried using boogie boards for leverage but it just got worse. Tony tried to dig a mote to stop the water – no help.

The surf began to swirl around the truck when the occasional wave came in - indicating the approaching of high tide...

Out of nowhere appeared a native Hawaiian and his homeless girlfriend. They said that they knew someone that might be able to get us out but that he is probably drunk and would be useless. She offered to give a ride to one person if we bought them gas. We should have taken the offer right then and there however we kept digging as the sun set for another 20 minutes. I glanced over as they watched from the top of a hill and saw the last of the light fading fast. Then it hit me – get them to give Josh a ride to get help or stay here and watch our rented 4X4 float off to Japan. I screamed “Josh – Get your wallet – these people will take you to call for help!” Josh ran to go with them and Tony and I settled in to wait. We gathered everything from the truck and brought it up the shore. Tony was freaking out that “Josh just left us here”, I didn’t feel like explaining my decision – I was more focused on survival techniques. We seized the high ground and fashioned weapons from empty bottles. There is something about being left in the middle of nowhere with no phone service, no shelter, nothing – but a sinking, uninsured, (make sure you don’t go off road), built Ford Tough , truck. At least we had moonlight.

The wait was compounded by the unknowing of Josh’s status. After waiting three hours it seemed like eight. Josh finally got back and we were told that three tow trucks are on their way. The first truck showed up and within 5 minutes got stuck. The next truck’s driver debated with the driver of the first truck and did not proceed onto the beach. Finally, after about an hour of standing around, the tow truck company owner said “let me call my nephew, he’s crazy - he will get you out”. So we waited another hour. The nephew showed up, we heard his truck before we saw it. The nephew drove a Dodge Diesel 4X4 that was raised about four feet off the ground. The truck was a beast. He proceeded to tear onto the beach as though he owned it, with reckless abandon. Tony told him beforehand, “ you might not want to get too close to the water, its very soft sand” Our Hawaiian hero rebuked Tony’s caution with “I own this beach”. Within three minutes of his comment, he too was stuck. Now our true Zen moment had arrived. The moon was shining off the 18 ft waves – a beautiful sight – and we were staring at over $100,000 worth of vehicles stuck in a beach with a rising tide.

The Hawaiians began digging furiously and using a jack to raise the truck higher in the sand. Their language changed and everyone was sweating and turning white. The nephew remarked “…this beach has changed for me, I have 18 ancestors buried on this island...” Slowly, they raised each of their trucks and got them out. Ours remained, with an occasional wave surrounding it. The Hawaiian team then began the same procedure with our vehicle as they did with theirs. They began digging and jacking each wheel to raise the chassis off the sand. It took them (and us) at least twice as long to raise the frame of the vehicle out of the sand, I heard one of them say “…you’ve got to break the suction of the water..”, something I didn’t need to hear at the time. Slowly, we repeated the process for each tire and fought back the occasional wave that would surrounded the sinking vehicle with water. Finally, the moment of reckoning had arrived. The truck was sufficiently raised and the tow strap attached. I remember telling everyone to say a silent prayer. Additional air was removed from the tires, we deflated each tire down to 10 lbs each. The crazy nephew backed up his Dodge beast to our potential future and began a countdown over his loudspeaker to coordinate with the driver of our truck. “ One… Two… Three…”, he hit it and the truck jumped backwards. “One…Two…Three…”, he hit it again and the truck moved. “One…Two…Three”, this time the Dodge yanked our Ford like a rag doll and pulled it up out of harms way from the ocean. The beast pulled our truck out and got stuck again on the way back to the road. They figured it out and got us out.

We were towed to the entrance road with little air in our tires and surrounded by five Hawaiian tow trucks, obviously to prevent our escape when they dropped the hammer of the bill on us. Conversations prior to this point were $3-500 as standard, maybe $750. Suffice to say the final damage was north of that. Far north, $1,750..... The look on Josh’s face was priceless. It was a miserable look of disdain and defeat, then a thundering silence. We all gulped and realized the alternative – a new mortgage payment on a Ford 4x4 that was floating off to Japan. Our island friends then gave us air for our tires and we drove back, mainly in silence. We dodged a huge bullet in a big time way and spent the next day removing half of the beach from the chassis of our built Ford Tough truck. The company VP, Sean, called Tony on the “day after” and asked if we had been surfing yet. Tony replied “…well, today was a different day.” Yes, a different day indeed.


Company Rental Vehicles, Ford 4X4, Hawaiian Islands, Stuck In The Sand At The Beach

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Internationally Acclaimed Writer of Satire and Human Interest

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