Ice follies

I've had a number of interesting experiences at carwashes over the years, but with winter coming on there's one in particular that comes to mind. Before I tell it, however, you need to understand how a carwash is made.

Inside the bay everything slopes towards the center drain. The ramp up to, and away from, the bay slopes up so that the water drains into the driveway or the parking lot. This helps keep water from accumulating. It also allows ice to form in layers over everything when the weather's cold.

Some years ago I pulled into one during the middle of the night that had several inches of ice on the floor, the walls and on the ramps. It was a mess. I should never have gone into it. Nevertheless, I have a thing about my truck and boat being clean, so I did go in. Things went fairly well during the wash and rinse part of this adventure. In truth, I was rather proud of myself. Not everyone could have washed a truck and boat under those conditions.

When I tried to leave, my truck started twisting sideways and sliding toward the wall. I couldn't get it out despite my best efforts. I finally decided to unhook my boat and try inching the truck out with the motor at idle. Once I got it out I figured I could push my boat out backward and then hook everything up in the front parking lot. The truck part went pretty well, except that I slipped and fell a few times. Once I actually slid under it. It's funny now, but at the time — lying on my back under my truck with the wheels spinning on the ice — it wasn't all that amusing. The strange thing is, though, I wasn't really scared. Maybe I don't have enough sense to be scared. I wonder about that sometimes. Anyway, I finally did get it out.

I then went to the boat and started pushing it backwards by hand. That worked almost perfectly until I got it on slop. It started running away from me. I ended up on my belly with my back and neck arched up like a banana watching my boat and trailer snaking around the parking lot. Thankfully, there were no other cars in the lot. After about an hour — maybe a little longer — I had everything hooked up and was on my way.

I was sore and had a few scuff marks on my clothes, but my boat was washed. That was the important thing. I'd like to be able to tell you that I learned something, that I don't use ice-covered carwashes anymore, but that wouldn't be true. I still use them in the dead of winter. Some people are slow learners.

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