Well lads, I have a tale to tell:
On Friday, 23 July 2004, my LYB Lisa and I were returning to the ranch from Albuquerque after a couple of days of shopping and relaxing around the pool. We decided to stop for a nap and to read in the BLM campsite in a place called the Narrows. It was about 1400 hours. It began to rain at 1445 hours with a bit a hail so we decided to keep the 2000 Ford Excursion protected a bit under the Ponderosa pine tree. About 1500 hours a macro-burst hit with high winds, driving rain and hail about the size of marbles. There were two other vehicles in the site. The escarpment to the east of us some 100 meters erupted into Niagara Falls. I decided we better get the hell out there and up to the highway about 3/8 of a mile away. The other vehicles had repositioned themselves and blocked me in (why folks do that is a fucking mystery to me -- all sorts of space and these city weenies want to snuggle up next to you). I backed up to a slightly higher point of ground and looked down the roadway to see a wall of mud, ice and water roaring into the campsite. I pulled forward and motioned to this fucking long haired hippie with two little girls (ages 6 and 9) in a small Saab convertible to follow me back to the higher ground as there was no way he was going to get out and things were getting sticky. The other vehicle, a 2004 Ford F250 diesel with an overcab camper with (don't you know Californicator tags) followed suit. The water was now about 3 feet deep.
I told the hippie to get his sorry ass along with his pathetic progeny in my vehicle as the Saab was already almost full of water. I entered the water which had a covering of ice about 18 inches deep and put the kids in the Excursion along with the hippie. The closest safety lay to the west but there was a large depression already full of ice and water that was at least 6 feet deep so there was no way to get the kids to safety that way. About 70 meters south was an area that got within 25 meters of some lava rock so I drove forward to that point. The water is now about 4 feet deep and pouring into the Excursion. I told the fucking hippie that I could piggyback the kids to safety. He refused to leave the vehicle saying he wanted the kids to stay dry and he was wearing shorts and little faggot birkenstocks. The Ford pickup had followed me and he was also taking water. I transferred his wife to the Excursion and he and I entered the water now about 5 feet deep with a two foot covering of ice. Water temperature was about 25 degrees. We could not get through the ice without breaking it first and lunging forward. I managed to swim the last bit to the rocks but in getting out went down and injured my left leg. I was struggling to keep my head above water as I was afraid that I would not be able to get back through the ice if I went under.
We got to the highway and got a cell phone to call for assistance.
The water had risen the 5 feet in about 8 minutes. Some 30 minutes later, some deputies arrived without any rescue equipment. The Excursion is full of water to the bottom of the steering wheel and the 3 adults and two kids are laying on the top of the seats and a door I had purchased trying to stay out of the freezing water. My LYB is keeping folks calm as the kids were the typical issue of a 60s hippie (undisciplined and whining). I am so hypothermic at this time I am starting to get visual narrowing and spasms so I crawl into the back of a police car for 5 minutes to get myself reoriented.
More rescue personnel are arriving and a more incompetent (but well-meaning ) bunch of dolts I have never seen. The rain is still falling with intermittent wind and lots of thunder and lightening. I see a hell of a storm mass to the southwest and am getting pretty twitchy. I have done lots of technical search and rescue and tried to tell these dolts that time was of the essence and that this could be done without all the dickin’ around. Of course, the local Fire Chief that could not tie a correct knot said it was his show. I reentered the water to get my lady out and made it about halfway back and realized I would never have the strength due to the hypothermia to return myself much less with my LYB so I had to return to the rocks.
Rescue sent the smallest, short fat Indian fellow over along with another guy. Both were exhausted and hypothermic by the time they crawled up on the roof. For the next 2.5 hours these idiots managed to tie a rope to the steering column, break out the rear side window, lose the ropes, try to float a car seat over the ice, try to float a backboard over the ice with somebody on it, tried to float a plastic stokes litter over the ice (sank like the Titanic), rigged a highline by tying to the passenger side door posts and sliding the stokes litter back and forth (managed to get one small female out) – it would not support the weight of two adults and they “had to have a rescuer with the rescuees” --- God almighty it was like the keystone cops. There were 20 vehicles, ambulances and 30 “rescuers”. A paramedic saw my SF sticker and said he was an Army medic and asked if I knew what to do. I said yes – put life vests and harnesses on each person, tie a line on them and yank their ass over here. We can get them warm. He went to the Chief and was told to stick to medical issues. Some four hours later, with the water beginning to rise again, some guy with a boat comes by and they floated that out and rescued everybody.
The Excursion is totaled and the BLM is claiming no liability even though they blocked off the water drainage routes. Insurance is questionable as Master Card and American Express both refused to reimburse us for the several hundred dollars in purchases that were destroyed as it was the result of an “Act of God.” Lisa pointed out that God is no longer allowed in government or business, but they claim an “Act of God” when it is convenient. They must think He is their fucking valet. Lisa managed to secure the 4 weapons, our IDs, cash and credit cards but the $4K laptop and everything else is toast, soggy toast to boot.
I was ready to kill the stupid hippie motherfucker for not allowing me to get his kids to safety when I could so they could “stay dry.” The police (state, rangers, deputies, game & fish, etc.) on scene all refused to enter the water leaving it up to the overweight firemen to flounder around. The most serious patients ended up being the fire rescuers that were in serious hypothermic shock when they reached the shore in the boat.
The Excursion is still buried in the mud and debris and so I am waiting for things to dry up so I can take my F350 diesel up there and drag it up to the road as tow companies out here will not go off road.
It was a hell of an afternoon. They transported us to Grants in an ambulance, and we refused treatment so they dropped us off at a Holiday Inn where we stripped off our muddy and soaked clothes, took hot showers, got in bed naked, ordered pizza, watched TV and fooled around.
The army medic, as we were leaving in the ambulance made the following comment. “It sure shows you are Special Forces. You handled this better than any of the other rescues I have been on. My sister is a medic with the 101st and she has told me about other Special Forces guys she has known but you are the first one I have met.”
I told him thanks and to “carry on lad, it’s your turn.” Interestingly enough, with the exception of one other EMT and a rock rescue guy, they were the only competent ones on scene. Goes to show lads, when bad things happen, I would rather be with one Special Forces or Spec Ops man and a good woman than all the damn cops and firemen in the world.
Hell of a day,
See to your weapons and stand to your horses
james (Delta One Zero)