With the January 1st Minneapolis-move-out date coming fast and hard, we’ve been moving trailerloads of stuff – and since the snow flew, we’ve been using the Subaru, which is the only way we can get the trailer up the unplowed hilly driveway. The Forester has all wheel drive, but the snow has been getting deeper and deeper, it doesn’t have very high clearance,  and the tires are getting pretty bald …


So it’s been getting harder and harder to make it up the hill each trip  – we knew it was just a matter of time before we couldn’t make it up. In fact, we’d decided to stop hauling stuff up until after the roadtrip was done … until the short “warm” snap (in the 30s) combined with a score of a trailerload of 4″ thick styrofoam insulation convinced us to make one last trip.

Although we thought the melting snow would make it a bit easier to ascend the driveway hill, we still packed the new 2-ton come-along we’d gotten as a wedding present from my former job  …

Which was great, because of course we got stuck. First we failed to make it up the hill with the trailer – then we detached the trailer and got the car stuck. Badly.

The more we tried to get it out, the deeper it sank, sliding sideways down a slope into deeper and deeper snows, farther from the ruts of the driveway.

For every solution, it seemed a paired obstacle reared up, in rapid succession:

Unfortunately, we were too far form any trees or other solid objects to hook the come-along to. Fortunately, we had a heavy duty chain and canvas strapping up in the green shipping container …  but, the keys to the shipping container (and the shed with the shovels, & the trailer hitch,  & the semi-trailer we were storing the insulation in) had fallen out of Kristin’s pockets somewhere in the deep snow while she tried to help me get the car free.

Fortunately, we own a metal detector – and had moved it to the Farm already. Unfortunately, it was also locked in the shipping container.


But, finally, most very fortunately, I had my own key set in the car – and that had a backup container key. 

So, we were able to get the chain and the straps and the metal detector, find the keys in the snow (they’d have been lost til spring without the detector, for sure), and give the come-along its first field test.

I’ve never actually used one before, so it was a test of both the tool and of my ability to figure it out – deciding what to attach to, how to rig up a secure system of random canvas straps, heavy rusty chain, and faith to slowly pull the car back up out of the trap it had slid into, etc – while Kristin removed obstacles & shoveled away snow from behind the tires.

It took some doing, but before too long we had the car back on the driveway again. I drove it all the way back to the road in reverse, and then back up again to the cargo trailer in reverse, so we could hook it up to leave, after we’d unloaded all the styrofoam …

2-ton come-along WIN
Widget amidst the snowy carnage after we got the car out, just before dusk

It was a bunch of hassle, but it was damn satisfying to have succeeded in freeing the car & finding the keys … and made for a much better afterglow of accomplishment than we’d have had if everything had gone smoothly with a simple unloading.

And, of course, the three dogs had a great time running around in the snow.


In other news, we leave for the Que Sehra Working Honeymoon in three days!!!

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