“Anybody home,” a voice called, jolting me from my fixation on the computer monitor. I expected to see only lizards and roadrunners at this isolated desert campsite on a seldom-used road a good two country miles from the main highway.
A young man in his early 20s, flushed from walking–or embarrassment–asked if I could give him a jump-start. He and his girl friend were parked about a mile further up the canyon and had “only played the radio for about 15 minutes” but his battery had bought-the-farm and he was stuck. His employer—he cooked at a local restaurant–would be looking for a new burger-turner if he didn’t get his car going–and soon.
At first I was annoyed at being interrupted from my writing but I shuttled him back up the canyon, fish-tailing through the increasingly soft sand, hoping I didn’t get stuck myself. I found his car, complete with sulking girl friend, performed my rescue services (which otherwise would have required him to walk or hitchhike the 12 miles to town), refused his offer of gas money, and sent him on his way only slightly late for work.
This rescue brought back memories of some of my own dilemmas (translate as “stupid decisions”) and of the guardian angels that had thankfully rescued me. It also reminded me of how many good people there are out on the backroads of America that will give their time and effort to help those in trouble. In most cases–in fact in every one of my incidents –the motives of the rescuer were completely altruistic.
For instance, I recalled poking along a rain-slick clay road in Grisly Island National Wildlife Refuge in the California Delta watching the birds of the spring migration, when I noticed a car following close on my bumper. I pulled over onto the wide downward sloping shoulder to allow the driver to pass, but when I tried to steer back onto the road, the motorhome began an oblique slide down the slippery clay slope and we settled ignominiously up to our axles in muddy muck in the ditch at the side of the road.
We stuffed all the brush and broken limbs we could find under the wheels for traction but only succeeded in swapping some of the mud from the ditch to ourselves. A propane delivery truck approached and pulled over to look at our predicament, and to our surprise reached into his truck and took out a length of heavy chain, crawled under our RV on the muck and hooked the chain around the frame.
With a slurp he popped us free and within seconds he had deposited us back on the road. To my offer of payment he replied, “Just help out someone else in a jam. That will be payment enough.”
I haven’t forgotten that. In fact I was reminded of it again, in Southeastern Arizona’s Chiricahua Mountains where another trucker helped dislodge a rock that had wedged between my left rear dual tires. Neither would he accept any payment.
My last reminder, though I’m sure it will not be my last, happened on a beach (photo) on the Texas Gulf Coast. We had just come from several days camped on the hard-packed sandy beach near Holly Beach, Louisiana, and had enjoyed being so close to the water. Moving on we found a camping beach on Bolivar Peninsula, separating Galveston Bay from the Gulf, and we jumped at the chance to again camp next to the gentle surf.
You guessed it. I misjudged the compactness of the sand and soon became stuck – with the tide coming in and darkness approaching.
I placed leveling boards under the tires but that didn’t work. In the last stages of light, with darkness only minutes away, a pair of headlights appeared up the beach coming toward me. Soon a pick-up truck pulled up and the young driver stopped to ask if we needed any help. After explaining my situation, the driver casually remarked, “I can pull you out.”
I admit that I was more than a little skeptical that his pick-up could pull my overloaded motorhome through soft sand. I was amazed when seconds later he had pulled me through the sand in a large half circle and up the beach and onto the road.
Had wings popped out from under my guardian angel’s T-shirt it could not have surprised me more. It was all I could do to force some cash on him (which he took solely to make me happy) to buy dinner for him and his girl friend
These incidents have taught me to never be in so much of a rush to ignore a fellow traveler in need. There could come a time when either you or I might be the one in need, and I can tell you from practical experience, a helping hand at such a time looks mighty good.
For more RVing articles and tips take a look at my Healthy RV Lifestyle website, where you will also find my ebooks: 111 Ways to Get the Biggest Bang for your RV Lifestyle Buck (PDF or Kindle), Snowbird Guide to Boondocking in the Southwestern Deserts (PDF or Kindle), The RV Lifestyle: Reflections of Life on the Road (Kindle reader version), and my newest Boondockbob’s Guide to RV Boondocking (Kindle). NOTE: Use the Kindle version to read on iPad and iPhone or any device that has the free Kindle reader app.