Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

A North Dakota Bathing Beauty; In a Hole? A Movie Showing in Sarasota

You may recall the other day when I had sent our friend Connie in North Dakota a photo of our beautiful, warm winter here in Central Florida. I made the mistake of suggesting that it was very cold in her part of The Frozen North. Connie let me know in short order that it wasn’t cold at all up there. This photo was taken in toasty warm, sunny, – 4F weather with frozen Devil’s Lake in the background. You folks up there in North Dakota are either very hardy… or very CRAZY!  

When the term “in a hole” comes up, what do you think about? Maybe having more debt that savings? Being “underwater” with a mortgage? Or forgetting your anniversary or your wife’s birthday? Yep, all of those are valid, but nothing really matches what we experienced today when our 40 foot long, 36,000 lb Class A motor coach sank up to its axles in soft dirt in a vacant lot in Sarasota. “What the heck were you doing there?” Hey, I heard that! We were invited to park there! 

We have pulled into dirt campgrounds about 25 times over the past 2 years with The Bus, and never once had a problem. What we didn’t know was that the lot in question had once hosted a house, and when the house was removed, bulldozers tore up the ground pretty badly, but then dozed it flat, so it was sort of like from hard-packed dirt (the old front yard in question) into a sandbox (where the house had stood). This all happened in about a minute and a half. Now you’re moving, now you’re stuck. As I stood looking at our now immobile home, a few choice “Sailor Words” escaped my lips. My Lovely Bride kept repeating, “Isn’t that interesting… Isn’t that interesting… Isn’t that interesting…” 

We tried digging, we tried putting wood blocks under the wheels, we tried rocking forward and back, but nothing worked. I kept hearing this voice in my head saying, “That sucker ain’t goin’ nowhere, Boy!” 

Then Good Fortune smiled upon us in the form of a 6’ 4” 220 lb. former Army infantryman named Josh Wren, who had us out after almost two hours of digging and pulling and filling. Oh, I forgot to mention, Josh also brought a “friend”, an industrial-sized tow truck. For the guys (and gals) who are interested in the details, Josh’s truck has a 1000 ft cable that runs from his enormous winch atop the tow truck to an equally enormous tow strap that fits around The Bus’ axle. While setting up, he related his 5 hour adventure yesterday of pulling a loaded semi a quarter mile out of the woods back to the highway. 

Pulling us out 75 feet back to the street wasn’t easy, including fairleading the cable to a tree, but it wasn’t his most challenging task to date. Josh is pretty good at his job, because he puts in 80 hours a week.  In the hours he spent with us today, he had to dig with a shovel and wriggle under the bus numerous times.  He was covered in dirt from head to toe by the time he finished, but he smiled the whole time.  We were very grateful for his hard work and skills. 

We were finally able to park on nice, thick cement slab for the night, and set up right across the street from The Sarasota Center of Light. The church’s marquee was a welcome sight. When we had a chance to sit down and relax over pizza and a glass of very nice Coppola Rosso (Thank you, Sharon and Joyce!), we decided that today’s experience was a learning opportunity in preparation for our upcoming Alaskan Adventure this summer, where help might not be so readily available.

Fortunately, our Messages of Hope documentary went much better than my initial parking job. This was our second visit to the Sarasota Center of Light. We were met by SCL’s delightful Pastor Tom Newman, who introduced Suzanne. The documentary was very well received, with lots of questions and book signings after the showing. Suzanne will also present her S.O.A.R! Workshop on Saturday. 


  • Jennifer
    Posted January 26, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    Sarasota was my second home for years but never heard of this church….Looks like a nice place…

  • angeldust
    Posted January 26, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Your picture of the N. Dakota "bathing beauty" is quite impressive. She must be a courageous young woman who has learned how to thrive amongst the shivers and vibrations of the earth!! My gosh she's lovely! Wouldn't she want to settle somewhere near here…where the weather is more conducive to bathing beauties??? 🙂

    Your story of the Coach and its "stuckness" makes you more the "go to man" for problem solving. Some may want to hire you for your sensational solutions! In the meantime, another lesson is gained!! Life is just full of so much fun. Isn't that interesting!!!

    🙂 Gloria


Leave a Comment