Committed to promoting American Lamb and American Wool
Slip 'n Slide
November 29, 2014
First off, I almost died, killed 100 ewes and wrecked a pickup and trailer... ALMOST. Let me start from the beginning...
During the winter we bring all of our ewes back to the ranch. Throughout the summer we have multiple bands (bands=1000 sheep) in various locations around Montana and into Wyoming depending on where we have summer grazing leases. Our last band that we needed to bring home was in Pryor, Montana. Henry drove his semi-truck (holds about 200+ ewes) and I took his truck and trailer (holds about 100 eweS). We had to make two loads each, in one day trying to keep the sunlight hours in our favor.
Lets just say things that morning did not start out well. First, Henrys truck and trailer lights were not working, I refuse to drive a trailer if it doesn't have clearance lights, I have a panic attack everytime I stop thinking someone is going to slam into the back end of me, so I waited for daylight and drove to his parents house in Billings to pick up Mike's truck, and on the way up the driveway I hear something very strange. I get out of the pickup and realize the trailer stand had been left down, so I was dragging it up the driveway...
I get to town, switch pickups with mike and head towards Pryor. I really don't mind days like this because I enjoy catching up on podcasts (Serial) and/or rocking out to Taylor Swifts new CD.
Henry had left an hour before me, so by the time I got to Pryor he was already loaded, he helped load my trailer and off we went. Before leaving he mentions "make sure you stay in 4WD its icy!" I knew he was right because the second I stepped out of the pickup I fell on my butt.
As we are leaving the ranch in Pryor we go up a hill, Henry makes it out fine in his Semi and as I am following him out I realize my truck isnt progressing any further up this hill and before I realize what is going on, the pickup and trailer start sliding down the hill BACKWARDS. I look towards Henry's rig and he has just gone over a hill and is out of sight, this is when the FULL BLOWN PANIC ATTACK happened. I was slamming on my brakes, trying to get the truck to stop but NOTHING was helping and I just kept sliding BACKWARDS. I saw the trailer start turning towards the edge of the road and I thought "OH NO I'M GOING THROUGH THE FENCE" and sure enough I see barbed wire snap and fly in the air, then I think "OH NO, I"M GOING DOWN THE SIDE!" and "HERE I GO, I'M GOING TO DIE" and also thinking "I'M GOING TO KILL ALL THESE EWES TOO" and also "PLEASE GOD STOP, PLEASE STOP MOVING"
Finally, the truck comes to a stop what felt like a mile later (was probably only 100 ft) and I see the end of the trailer is sticking off the side of the ditch like I'm in a cliffhanger movie or something, just teetering there like a see-saw. I get out of the truck and all I can do is
I grab my phone to call Henry to come back and help me, but I live in Montana so of course I HAVE NO SERVICE.
The ranch headquarters in Pryor is back about 3/4 of a mile, so I grab my jacket and gloves and start heading that way in hopes of finding someone to come help pull me out. Luckily a ranch hand's wife drove by and saw me sticking off the side of the road and picked me up and drove me to the headquarters where we found my Brother in Law, Charlie (he was helping pick up our sheep herders camper). We also found S-Ranch's office manager (aka angel from Germany) who grabbed the tractor and out we went, back to my rig. I was still shaking/crying/mumbling at this point and not in the right frame of mind to get back in the pickup quite yet, thankfully Charlie did and he and the Angel German lady started to pull the truck out. First two attempts were not so successful (and I was positive I was about to throw up at any minute) so we let about 25 ewes out of a bottom compartment of the trailer which allowed the trailer to lift slightly off the ground and then we were able to get the truck and trailer out of the ditch, Halleluiah!!!
By this time (about an hour) Henry had made it to the town of Pryor, realized I was not behind him, tried calling me (no service) and waited a few minutes before turning around and coming back. By the time he made it back they had just pulled me out. As soon as I see him I start crying again. I felt, 1-horrible that I almost killed myself, damaged the truck and trailer, and possibly killed 100 ewes, 2- thankful that I was alive, and 3- like I wanted to crawl up in a ball and never drive again. Henry was just thankful that I was ok. Here are pictures of where I finally stopped...I only ran over 1 t-post...
From there I had to put my big girl pants back on and drive the rig home. Once home I went and sat in my kitchen for about 15 minutes in silence just to regroup myself because after all that, I still had to go back and make another trip! I did NOT want to drive up that hill again and swore I wouldn't. Henry assured me by the time we got back the ice would gone, and luckily it was. UNFORTUNATELY somewhere between trips back and forth the lights went out on the trailer AGAIN so I drove back to the ranch in the dark with my hazards on. 2 hours of click, click, click, click, click, click, click....
Thank god Taylor was on full blast or I might have gone crazy. Or maybe I already am? Either way, I'm happy I am ok, the truck and trailer are ok, and the sheep are ok. The fence on the other hand, well that was my only major damage. Here's my question, do you provide the supplies to fix the fence or do you just send a check? Also what kind of gift says "thank you for pulling my butt out of a ditch"?