Thanksgiving Day - 2017. (my sister)
My grandma's funeral had been on Wednesday. While I had originally planned to drive home on Thanksgiving - I had a change of heart when I realized that driving home wouldn't get me dinner anywhere, and staying an extra day would get me some quality time with family. And dinner.
My sister, mom and I were staying at the AmericInn in Calumet and Thanksgiving dinner wasn't until two at my cousin's. All three of us early risers, we decided to go on a driving tour up towards the Harbor. Was it cold? Yes. But it was better than hanging out in a hotel room for hours.
Our first stop was in Eagle River. It was wicked cold and windy. But pretty.
I'm so easily amused and laugh at lots.
Even this next part.
First, a bit of a lead up. You see - Brockway Mountain (in Copper Harbor) is normally closed in the winter months. It's also not my afraid of heights mother's favorite place. It was amusing, then, when it was she who said as I had just driven by the west entrance - "Oh - look....it's not closed yet!"
What?! I stopped instantly, reversed ourselves back to the entrance, thanked her, and starting climbing the mountain. Dry as a bone - not a speck of snow on the road at all. It looked exactly like the picture of the road near Great Sand Bay, above. Whooda thunk?
Mom even said at one point on the way up - "Barb [her sister] is not going to believe we did this! She would NEVER!" We were fired up. I'd been up in the fog, in the fall, in the spring and in the summer - but never have I made it up there before the barricades went up in the winter! Woohooo! What luck!!
It was at about the halfway point that the road began to be slightly covered. It's also at about the half way point that there are no turnarounds. It was also at this point that there were voices coming from the seats around me saying - um, maybe we should turnaround. Sure. Where?? The nice thing was that there were still some pretty wide tire tracks ...... for a little while. At about the same time we could see the top of Brockway, they disappeared. Boy, Barb was definitely not going to believe we did this!
I will go to my death bed believing that if my mom had only let me ride that snow along the fence line there, we could have made it. My mom tries to get people to believe that she is braver than her sister, but - she's not. At least, not much. She wouldn't let me drive anywhere near the cliff side. The evidence clearly shows that this is a contributing factor to our slide.
We weren't in the ditch for 10 seconds and she was on the phone with 911. I'd pay good money for a recording of that call. She was positive we were going to die right there and I was trying to convince her that if she'd just let me, I could back down the hill until we hit those dry track marks again. She told the 911 operator all kinds of things like, 'it feels like we might roll over' followed by, 'no, we're not on the cliff side, but it's still steep' and 'nobody is hurt.....yet'. Off the phone, she was certain that we'd have to leave the van there and come back for it in the spring. She was certain that the only way we could be rescued would be by snowmobile.
Meanwhile, I was laughing so much I almost had to pee.
My sister did pee.
It was morning. We could have walked down the mountain and into town with plenty of daylight left. And I had the van's emergency kit [and a 200 lb anvil plus a pair of cross country skis - my year of McGyver watching while caring for Alice was flashing through my brain] It was when my mom was certain that she heard a search plane that I made a mental note to add the ability to shoot flares into our emergency kit.
I did call 911 back at one point just to check if they were able to find anyone to help us on Thanksgiving Day. "Yes - we did - but it might take awhile, it's slippery up there"
I laughed some more. Mom was starting to relax. A little bit. I tried to suggest that we should at least walk up to the top while we were waiting once we were so close - but that didn't go over very well. I still think we should have. It was slippery though - I did get out at one point to take a few pictures, and it was like an ice rink. They should really close that road in the winter.
Our rescuer showed up. Best guy ever. Very relaxed and not once did he make us feel foolish. He quickly assessed the situation and said, alright - we're going to start with Plan A - but we may have to switch plans as we go. Plan A was to pull us out - and "I'm just going to go ahead and pull you all the way to the top. Once we're this close we may as well enjoy the view. I've never seen it on Thanksgiving Day." My kind of guy.
Unfortunately - plan A fizzled quickly. I think we jumped from plan A to C in rapid succession. My mom, who had so recently just begun to relax, was relaxed no longer. It was at about this point that some hunters came from the direction of the top of the hill. We're thinking, in hindsight, that hunters are the only reason the road wasn't closed in the first place. Boy, were we glad to see those hunters.
After the rescue driver spent a few minutes working up a plan with the hunters - I asked him if we were on plan D now. Relaxed and unfazed he responded, "E" Calmest guy ever. [Peninsula Auto Repair]
They got us out and turned around no problem. We never did get to the top. Alas. We got so close.
The hunters pulled out the rescue driver too. Something blew out on his four wheel drive when he was trying to pull us out. On our way down the hill, we stopped a couple other cars to give them a heads up on the situation closer to the top. We weren't the only ones.
We waited for the recovery vehicle at the bottom where my mom hopped out and gave him a well-deserved tip. There was a point where she felt certain she was going to die the same week as her mother. That he kept her calm while he flipped our van around - extremely tip worthy and a true testimony to his calm demeanor. He had been cooking Thanksgiving dinner when he got our call.
We enjoyed a bit more tour, and still made it to my cousin's home in time for dinner. It was several hours into the gathering before my mom couldn't keep quiet any longer.
I've been meaning to blog this for quite some time - but as it turns out, we've added more to our story.
I got a call last evening [at the same time that Greg was on a flight home from Mexico] that Wendy slid off the road and our van went into the ditch. Everyone is fine, and she figured out how to get the van out of the ditch without calling home - but, unfortunately, there is some damage that warranted a phone call to the garage. On a holiday weekend. Five hundred plus miles away from home.
Me: Hey - Erick - it's me, Sharyn. The one who got stuck on Brockway Mountain on Thanksgiving Day. Remember me? Yeah? Um, funny thing......