Defender Sunday (aka FedEx Recovery)

A sign of things to come?
Photo: David Harmantas

Jim alerted me Saturday that he and a friend would be out scouting for photo spots. I weaseled my way into going along and we agreed to meet up at his place at 9am. I had been telling Jim about a little water crossing I'd found in Loudoun County, and thinking about the rain we had this week, I thought it might be a little high for us to cross. Just in case we tried it and failed, I went ahead and tossed my tow straps in the Tuffy security drawer, just in case.

After all - you never know what will happen.

On Sunday, we met up with photographer friend David. David is retired from the US Army, and while in law school at Iowa State, he also freelanced as a sports photographer for the college paper as well as local papers in the area. His work is amazing.

After about an hour, we had been cruising some dirt roads around Loudoun County and ended up at a ford which crosses the Butchers Branch stream. There had been some recent rain, so we weren't sure how the water would be. I had driven it two weeks before, and the water was low.  So low that I was easily able to pick out the ideal route across it. I had crossed this ford once last summer in water that was higher than this and nearly got stuck in a hole in the middle -  a liberal application of the right foot resulted in just a little water over my hood, in the vents and on my shoes. Fortunately, I did not stall out or get stuck.

When we arrived, the water was higher than the previous week, but not fast, not moving and not too high. This was a good sign. I checked it out, and then ventured across with David. The crossing was straight forward and David was able to get some good shots of both Jim and I crossing.


We continued on, and not 50 yards from the bank was this classic red barn with an American flag. We naturally stopped for a few photos there and what did we see coming behind us, but a FedEx truck. We thought for sure he would stop, or perhaps knew the correct path for crossing the ford. We excitedly ran towards the banks in time to see that he did not in fact know the correct route and had become stuck. Not only that, but he appeared to have ingested some water and stalled his motor.

Iconic Americana!
Photo: David Harmantas



The Poor FedEx man was completely unprepared.
Photo: David Harmantas

Having now navigated this crossing twice today, I was confident we could get our newfound friend unstuck. I informed him that I'd be happy to pull him out, but that he'd have to find his attachment points. I believe my exact words were "I'll pull you out, but I'm not getting wet". He informed us that there were two tow points on the back of the truck, so I drove across thinking we might find success there.

Photo: David Harmantas

Upon my arrival, it quickly became clear that this was a dead end. No such rescue would be possible.  The back end of the truck was dug into the bottom of the stream like a tick and there was no chance we would get attached. 

No luck from this side.
Photo: Adam Clater

I made my way back across Butchers Branch, and we began assessing what our options would be for pulling the FedEx truck out of its predicament.

If you get a waterlogged package, it wasn't my fault!
Photo: David Harmantas

At this point, the FedEx man started looking for attachment points. Jim, ever the charitous soul, ventured farther and farther into the mire, until he could no longer tolerate the misguided attempts by our bumbling FedEx driver to attach the tow strap.

Just try a bit to the right!
Photo: David Harmantas

Photo: David Harmantas

Removing both his socks and shoes, and then rolling up his trousers - our man Jim proceeded out into the water to assist the hapless FedEx driver in his quest to attach the recovery straps.

Jim Digs in.
Photo: Adam Clater


Jim made quick work of the attachment, and we proceeded to attach to the D-ring held to my defender by the Class 3 North American Specification rear step. A part acquired from Rovers North several years prior, and which had finally found its time.

Photo: David Harmantas

Photo: David Harmantas

Putting the defender into low range and locking the center diff, I began the application of throttle. The tires spun a bit and the Detroit Truetrac differentials locked - all four wheels were spinning in the sand and gravel, but we were making progress. The Defender 90 slid to the right a bit as she pulled, but the 200 TDI and Variable Geometry Turbo from Allisport  did their work. In no time we had the FedEx truck extricated, and pulled out of the roadway to safety. 

The commotion concluded, we proceeded with out photo session

A rare photo of Jim smiling.
Photo: David Harmantas


After which we made our way to the lovely Dirt Farm Brewing for some well deserved celebratory libations and one of the best views of Bluemont, VA and Loudoun County to be found. Our entry must have made quite an impression, as a guest came to show her Defender 90 tattoo and give some much needed love to my neglected labradoodle Copper.

The View of Bluemont, VA from Dirt Far Brewing.
Photo: David Harmantas



Copper the Labradoodle
Photo: David Harmantas
We never did hear the story of the Defender 90 tattoo
Photo: David Harmantas

Comments

  1. Good times!!!! Let me know if you guys want another Defender to tag along. I'd be happy to join you and Jim.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is Dave B by the way with the NAS 110.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Awesome post, you have shared an informative article about . Your method of writing is great. Keep it up.

    ReplyDelete

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