Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Stuntman Training #4 - Winter Games

It has steadily been getting cooler over the last few weeks, but this week it took that dip that I just hate to see. The temperature got down below freezing letting me know that winter is almost upon us. I don't say that with any type of anticipation. I have explained many times how much I despise the cold weather, snow, and ice. Click here for a post I wrote two years ago to get a feel for how much I hate it. I get a little depressed every time I step outside and get hit with that cold air. I hate it.

Despite how much I despise winter today, I can remember a time when I didn't mind as much. I don't believe I have ever been a fan of winter, but I was capable of going out and enjoying it from time to time.

We had a big snow one year when I was in high school and classes were cancelled for days due to the bad road conditions. My uncle Kevin drove a four wheel drive and asked if we wanted to go out and enjoy the winter conditions. My brothers and I bundled up and piled in the back of his truck.

The roads were in such bad conditions he never got above 35 MPH. As we were watching the scenery go by, we were amazed at the size of the snow drifts burying the mailboxes and filling the ditches. In several places, if it hadn't been for the tracks of the people that had driven through before us, there would be no way of knowing where the road was. Sometimes the drifts were even over the fence posts extending from the surrounding fields right onto the road.

My brother Kyle, noticing that the road was covered with hard packed snow due to the cars that had previously driven on it, decided to try some body skiing. Once we were sure Kevin wasn't looking, Kyle crawled over the tailgate and stepped out onto the slick road. Trying to counterbalance his weight, he slowly got both feet onto the road as the truck continued to move. On his first attempt, he was standing on the road while holding on to the bumper. He lost his balance every now and then, but as long as he held on to the bumper, he was able to soon regain his footing.

We were so busy watching Kyle that we forgot to keep our eye on Kevin. He had seen what we were doing, but figured since Kyle was already out of the back of the truck, the most dangerous part was already past and just kept driving. However, we quickly became aware that he knew what was going on when he yelled back, "DRY PATCH!"

We were approaching an intersection and the extra traffic on that portion of pavement had worn the snow away causing a 10 foot section of bare asphalt.  The snow and ice on the roads made it impossible for Kevin to stop the truck before getting to it. Since Kevin had been watching us in the back, he hadn't seen it on time. Kyle couldn't hear the warning due to the sound of his boots gliding on the ice and the sound of the truck. He had no time to react. The warning wasn't soon enough.

His feet hit the patch and abruptly stopped sliding. They took traction on the pavement and whipped his legs out from underneath him. The sudden jolt shot his body up into the air. However, due to the conditions and difficulty he had staying on his feet even before the dry patch, Kyle had a firm grip on the bumper and he held tight.

He landed on his knees and immediately fell, but never released his grip. He was being drug behind the truck. Kevin could not see directly behind the truck and did not know what was happening, but hadn't seen Kyle careen off into a ditch, so he knew he was still back there and kept driving. Plus, we weren't flagging him to stop.

Picture this, but with snow...and no rope.
Kyle discovered that it was just as much fun to drag behind the truck as it was to try to stay upright. Plus, now that he had injured his knee, standing was no longer an option. Trevor, not wanting to miss out on the fun, soon crawled out the back and joined Kyle on the bumper. Now when the occasional dry patch came, they just held tight and rode it out. The extra padding was all that was needed to protect their skin from being peeled off by the road.

We soon approached an area that had wide deep ditches, but they couldn't be seen due to the heavy drifting. There was no more room behind the truck on the bumper, but I wanted to have my fun too. I stood up in the bed of the truck, moved to the side, steadied one foot on the rail and launched myself out.

I tucked into a somersault and landed on my back in the middle of a large drift. The snow provided the padding I had expected. However, I had not anticipated how deep it would be in the snow and the difficulty I would face in getting out. It took me a couple of minutes to even get my feet under me and another couple of minutes to fight my way back to the top and back to the road.

The truck was stopped a few hundred feet further up the road. Kevin felt the shake of me jumping out, but hadn't seen it. When he looked back, he found an empty bed. Not knowing where I had gone and also not being aware that Trevor had joined Kyle out the back, he didn't know what had happened. He stopped in investigate, but no one had seen me jump.

I caught up to them and Kevin was not happy. He warned that the funny business had to stop because our mother would kill him if she found out he was letting us do this stuff. We agreed to be good and got back in the back of the truck.

As we got going down the road, I was telling Kyle and Trevor about what I had done. It was so fun flying through the air and not having to worry about the difficult landing part. They wanted to try it, but knew Kevin wouldn't go for it. We started watching for clear spots and when we saw one coming up that looked good enough, we all jumped out at the same time.

 After another warning from Kevin, we were back on the road again. Kevin had agreed to let us hang on to the back bumper as long as we didn't jump out any more. We agreed, but soon grew bored with this. Kyle flipped onto his back and pulled himself under the moving truck, Indiana Jones style. I hung on to the back bumper to relay messages to Kyle about dry patches from Trevor who was sitting in the bed watching the road ahead for us.

Kyle pulled himself all the way to the front of the truck and grabbed hold of the front bumper. He held there long enough for me to work my way back into the bed of the truck so I could watch the show that was about to happen.

Once seated in the back, Trevor and I watched Kevin as he continued to drive, thinking Kyle was being pulled behind us. After a couple of minutes, Kyle's head popped up over the front of the truck. Kevin jumped and dropped his coffee. Kyle dropped back down and was at the back of the truck again before Kevin could come to a stop.*

*Going to the back is much easier than pulling yourself forward.

Kevin made us get in the cab with him since we couldn't be trusted anymore. We drove to the nearest country bar and had hot chocolate while Kevin had a few stiffer drinks to calm his nerves.

Between each drink, he repeated the phrase that he had uttered hundreds of times in the past, "Please, don't tell your mother."

For other stories of times we used less than discerning judgement about basic safety, check out the following posts.
Don't Try This at Home
This Is Why My Body Is Falling Apart Today
Stuntman Training #1
Stuntman Training #2 - Playing with Fire
Stuntman Training #3 - Creative Uses for Living Room Furniture


  1. I am fully convinced that the reason the life expectancy of men is so low is because it has to be averaged in with all of uncles and teenage boys. Why is it that boys need to find the most dangerous activities to pursue? Can't you all just stay home and knit?

    Who am I kidding? This is something that I would have done if I had a cool uncle like that! :)

    1. I hate the new fad phrase YOLO (You Only Live Once), but it seems to be the philosophy that we lived by as kids. You only get one go around at this. You might as well enjoy it.

  2. Yep, this mother would want to know nothing about it. Holy crap! (...although it does sound like really good fun...)

    Great story telling!

  3. This is when I realized I was truly and irrevocably an adult:

    When you talked about jumping off the truck, I cringed in horror thinking that you were going to say that you jumped into a snow bank that was covering some kind of instrument of impailment, like a mailbox or a fence post or even a large rock or some such. I am so old.

    1. We were in a very familiar area, so knew where things should be. That doesn't always mean we are right, but we went for it.

    2. Misty, that's not a sign that you're an adult. It's a sign that you're a parent. My jaw just dropped, thinking "SWEET"!

  4. Oh, man! What is it with kids? As a teenager I would have been like, "Yes! Getting dragged around by a truck and jumping into snow drifts is AWESOME!" And now all I can think of as I read your post is all of the ways you could have been horribly injured. Sigh. Adulthood is rough.

    1. I lost my nerve for most of that kind of stuff years ago.

  5. That's insane and hilarious. I almost choked on the part where Kyle popped up in the front.

    I have to wonder, though, did your mother actually ever find out about this?

    1. She did find out. I don't remember when, but we didn't tell her immediately.

  6. Kyle's lucky he didn't wind up wrapped around the drive shaft.

    I remember the blizzard of 79 in Northern Illinois. That one left drifts so high we could walk on them right onto the roof. Awesome fun when you're nine years old.

    1. I remember a few snows like that. Winter are mild now, I haven't seen the big snows since I was a kid.

  7. I love that so many of your posts start out with "I really don't like people/kids/winter/polling station and best buy workers" yet end with hilarity and good times had by all...

    1. While I don't like a lot of things/people, I don't let it sour me. I still like to have fun.

  8. Sounds like you are all lucky to be alive. But then I'm not much of a dare devil. And growing up in Florida can even imagine all that snow. I be it was beautiful but very cold. Not a big fan of cold either the older I get.

    1. We lived for the thrill. The more danger, the more fun. Of course, this is why I move so slow today. Many injuries.

  9. I love the smell of winter.
    I passed my drivers test on a snowy day in Chicago.
    I once went "skiing" with no skis, pulled by a rope from the back of a truck in Minnesota.
    I've dug myself out from 4-foot drifts in Delaware after Isabel dumped on us, shoveled my way out after snowmageddon, and regularly scraped ice off my windshield.

    This winter, with my new car, my Dad has granted me his spot in the garage, for which I am very grateful. Scraping the windshield is just too time-consuming.


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