“Boom”!! I awake to my head crashing into the side of the passenger window. Dazed, my eyes slowly start to adjust to the empty black pit, which is the road extending into infinity in front of us. We were no longer on the smooth paved city roads. With every clank from the suspension continuously bottoming out from an endless amount of potholes, our urgency of finding a spot to park on the narrow dirt road grew exponentially. Lost and unable to find the small turn off, which was explained to us in a crude description, we nervously pulled over to the side of the jagged road and fell asleep. We awoke at sunrise to inspect the Volkswagen Westfalia for damage, and to our surprise, “Olga” had held up well. We continued on our excursion to find “Suicide Creek”. Confident, and a bit too cocky after driving down the road for another 20 minutes, we found what looked to be a garbage pit with a cliff like road hidden behind it.
After inspection of this rock/bolder filled path, we start weighing the odds of first being able to make it down alive and secondly, being able to make it back up.
The path, which was no wider than the van, would pose a problem if we needed a tow truck. Deciding to go balls to the wall, we bombed down the hill turning the van into the most horrifying roller coaster you could ever imagine. We screamed in laughter as we successfully came to a stop at the beginning of the creek. The van had exceeded our wildest expectations and had stayed intact without even a slight scratch. After a beautiful 30 degree Celsius day out in the Sun, we returned to the van with high spirits. Sliding open the door, we jumped into a previously level van to find ourselves falling to one side. Jumping back out, our jaws dropped when we found that the front passenger tire was flat. Eric turned to us and, with reluctance, said, “Well, I have got some good news and some bad news. The good news is I have a spare tire, the bad news is I don’t have a jack.”
Disclaimer: We are not responsible for any damages to your vehicle caused by implementing these following procedures, and it should only be used as a last resort and in absolute desperation.
Our stomachs sank as we started to assess the situation and began weighing options. Thankfully, we had a tire iron and three people. However, we still had to lift the van off the ground. After nearly breaking our backs, all three of us were able to lift the van just enough to free up the tire, but ran into an issue when Eric attempted to undo the lug nuts. We decided to approach this problem in three steps.
Step 1: Find a hard sturdy block (log, rock, etc.), which is roughly twice the clearance height of your vehicle.
Step 2: Find a long sturdy post or log to put underneath your vehicle to use as a lever.
Step 3: Find something to dig out your tire, giving you extra clearance if needed.
After going on a scavenger hunt to find the required supplies, we were unable to locate a large enough stump. With no other options besides cutting down a massive tree, we dragged out a big oddly shaped rock, which weighed at least 150 pounds. Next, we tried lifting the van with the two of us as the other attempted to wedge the rock underneath. With little success and much strain on our backs, we decided to approach the situation more intelligently. Using the concept of a lever, we hunted down a tree with a radius of 2.5 inches and shoved it underneath the van’s door frame. Now, being able to lift it easier and for a longer duration, we were able to push the rock until the axel was balancing on its highest point. Due to the odd shape of the rock, the axel teetered on a surface no wider than two millimeters. To make more room, we began to dig out underneath the tire. As we began to remove the tire, the more force we put on the lug nuts, the more we could hear the vans axle scrape and slide down the slanted rock.
Thankfully, we were able to attach the spare tire without the van crashing to the ground. After removing the flat, we discovered the culprit to be a big broken bolt almost the size of a fat marker.
Covered in blood, bruises, sweat, and dirt, we collapsed in exhaustion and relief. Unfortunately, we had temporarily forgotten that we were not out of the woods yet and still had to make it up the 50 degree rock covered hill.
With Eric driving, and the other two of us pushing, we got a running start and to our surprise, the Westfalia Van plowed its way up the hill without any hesitation. The next five minutes was spent yelling and cheering in hysterics. We had done the impossible and the first stop we made on our way back home was to buy a FUCKING JACK!