Well, it was an interesting morning. I decided to drive out to the beach last night for an all-nighter but I didn’t know what I was in store for. I left the house about 0130 and was 10 minutes away when I realized I had forgotten my tripod. Very important for night and dawn photography, by the way. No big deal, turn around, come back and grab it. Small delay and I’m in no real hurry.

Forty five minutes later, I’m a few miles away from the island when I see a police officer turning around behind me and cruising up on my ass. Lights come on, I get pulled over, expect to get the whole “what are you doing out here at 2am” speech and expected to get a sobriety test, though I haven’t had a drink in a couple days. My license plate light is out, no big deal, “I’m going to run your license and give you a warning.” OK, free and clear. No questioning or nothing besides about my Purple Heart plates. Those things really have paid off through the years. I’ve gotten out of tickets and a couple potential DUIs.

I get to the island, pull off at the first beach entrance in town, walk out, set up my tripod, attempt to take a few dark shots of the hotels. Drive down the road some more, pull off again, attempt and fail to get some sky/star photos (these are the times when a good DSLR would really come in handy, anyone want to sponsor me?).

At this time, I drive outside of the “city” part of the island, decide to keep going all the way to the end of the road, which I always do if I’m not in my truck. The dunes have blown over one whole side of the road in some parts but they haven’t closed it down like last time. I find a spot to pull over and there’s enough room to pull in perpendicular to the road. It looks like the sand has washed over the edge of the road and is pretty pack so I pull forward a little to get my bumper out of the lane, and, THUMP. I just pulled my two front tires off the side of the road and am high-centered on my frame. I spent the next three hours or so trying to figure out how to get out, tried everything I could possibly think of, killed my already wounded scissor jack (remind me to replace that next payday, those things are useless), finally decide to curl up in the back seat and try to snooze off the caffeine jitters for a little while but I’m too paranoid to sleep. I camp on the beach all the time, but sleeping in my car with the door open on the side of the road, even though I’m 10 miles from town, isn’t too appealing.

I catch a few 5-minute exhaustion naps which brings me back to my Army days. Dawn comes, I realize I’m stuck until someone comes out there so I might as well do what I set out to do and put up my tripod to take some photos. As I’m standing on top of a dune, I realize there’s a Volvo diesel rig at the end of the road, 100 yards away. Alas! A way out. I wait another hour or so until I see the guy moving around over there and finally decide to go talk to him. He’s got his family sleeping in the rig so he doesn’t want to come tug me out yet, but he’ll try and help me drive it out. As we’re trying to figure it out some more, a guy in a Suburban comes up and says he thinks he has a strap in his truck. Finally. I waited over four hours for something that took about 30 seconds to fix.

My poor car, we got in a hit-and-run the other night, which bruised the front fender and rubbed the hell out of my front right wheel, and now that same corner is a mess of sand. I finally get home around 0930, in time to shower, watch The Price is Right (my favorite thing to do on my rare mornings off), and eat a bagel and some Cheerios.

Two and a half years ago I was sleeping on a cot in a small room with 25 other guys, literally in the middle of the dessert, and running around the city of Mosul doing all kinds of crazy shit I don’t really want to talk about. Now, this is my definition of adventurous. Man, do I feel lame.


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