Jen Gienapp: Trenton - A Welcome End To A Chaotic Wyoming Thursday

Friday, December 21, 2012 - by Jen Gienapp
Jen Gienapp
Jen Gienapp

It was a normal Thursday. We got the kids up for school, found back packs, drank our cups of coffee. But oh, how things change on a dime, on any given day.

Outside was not welcoming. Wind chills in the teens below zero, and blizzard conditions. Not because of snow falling, but because of winds, 55-60 mph, picking up beautiful, but dry, snow from the day before. Our driveway is prone to drifting, so we really had no idea what we’d encounter, since we can’t actually see the whole thing from our house.

First off, we realized we had a nearly-flat tire (the third one in less than two weeks, all different tires, on the same car) on one of our four-wheel drives. So we pulled out the inflator thing-a-ma-jig, to get it going.

We sent our two eldest out the door to school, in a non-four-wheel-drive, named Margot, who has only lived in Wyoming, and has always had great success in the past. Two kids were out the door.

We made a plan that Andy would take the twins to the bus stop (about a quarter mile away), then race into town to buy tires, and I would follow, once the tire was pumped up enough, to actually get them put on the car.

Then the older girls came racing back in, proclaiming they were stuck in a drift, and needed HELP. Change of plans. Andy would go rescue them, and I would try to get the twins to the bus stop. All was good, albeit changed.

I got the little ones ready, the tire looked good, so we took off up the hill, thinking the girls and Andy were long gone.  But no, it was not to be. We met them, coming over the hill, Andy towing them. I hastily backed up, and by the time we got back, the tire was flat. It was NOT going to make it into town.

I bundled the twins up more, and sent them running to the bus stop, and made a phone call to our neighbors to watch for them.

Andy got the girls on their way to school, after a second stuck-in-a-drift attempt in the non-four-wheel-drive, and he went on to work.

All was good again. I was going to get some work done, and just pull the Jeep into our garage to put the spare on. I had never changed a flat tire before. I knew how to do it, but every time I’d tried to do it, some well-intentioned guy had come along to help. I was determined I’d do it on my own, even though I had a very capable 19-year-old home for the holidays.

I moved stuff around in the garage, to get ready, and then realized the garage door was frozen stuck. No problem; just did a little more work. I finally got it open.

I got the Jeep in and closed the door. I was ready to prove myself. After about 30 minutes of wrestling with those dang lug nuts, I had them loosened, and had the Jeep jacked up. And then I realized the tire was frozen to whatever it’s attached.

In my “training” I didn’t want to use anything I wouldn’t have if I were stranded, even though I had plenty of tools at my disposal, being in a garage. I chipped away at ice, with the lug wrench. I let it sit for a while. But I ended up caving, and used a long-handled screwdriver, and then a hair dryer, to thaw it out. I made a note to myself that those things should be in my emergency bag.

I got that tire changed, and was well-pleased with my success.  The plan was I’d leave later to get new tires, and do some Christmas shopping with my husband.

But then I got a call, from the girls, that they were stuck in a third drift, coming home from school. I called our neighbors again, and they agreed to go rescue the girls, as I had no idea if I could actually get out, with a donut as my spare. I took off as well, and promptly got stuck in a drift.

But I have a shovel in the back of my Jeep, and I started digging. Two big piles of snow, some backing up to dry ground, and roaring through, I made it OUT. I’ve come to believe there really is nothing like the excitement, after being stuck in the snow, then getting out. I was whooping and hollering, all to myself.

The girls were rescued, and I took off for Walmart, getting a phone call at some point, that the twins were going to be late, because their bus had to go rescue another bus stuck in the snow. I didn’t feel so bad about getting stuck myself.

At Walmart, the nice automotive guy was very helpful, and asked how I liked the weather. I told him I was still getting used to it, since I was from Tennessee. He told me he was from Georgia. Imagine my shock and surprise when I asked, “oh, where, in Georgia?”

He said, “Trenton.”

I love this place.

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