The Winter of Our Discontenton February 18, 2013 at 6:00 am
Considering last night I looked at the temperature and it was 2 below zero before I went to bed, I thought what better way to honor winter than to talk about a time I went through the ice in a car.
As a model student, I was skipping class with a buddy of mine and as we often did when we decided to skip class, we would head out to Lake Minnetonka and hang out in an ice fishing house used collectively by the group of us. We didn’t always spend the time fishing, and in fact we had a really old 70’s soda vending machine in it that we would put beer into, even though I wasn’t much of a beer drinker back then. Anyway, after a few hours in the fish house we headed back toward shore driving in my friend’s 70’s Boat-of-Car, the model of which I forget but it was big enough to actually save us.
There is a small beach access next to a boat landing which is used to get on and off the lake when it’s frozen. It’s where we got on the lake, so that’s where we headed. Only as we neared shore we were about 15-20 feet out when the car dropped, we heard a thunk and stopped moving. The gas pedal did nothing but spin the tires and made a strange sound. When I tried to opened the door I found it scraped against the ice and I was able to look down, see water, and the bottom of the lake underneath.
For what I can only assume are obvious reasons, we carefully got out of the car to survey what exactly had happened and much to our surprise we had dropped into a perfectly car-shaped hole in the ice. Or it would have been perfectly shaped if it had been half a foot wider because as it was, the thunk we heard was the ice giving way, the car dropping, and us literally being suspended over the water by the front and rear bumpers of the car, tires half-immersed in the water.
We walked to a nearby pay phone (this was before the days when cell phones weren’t for ages 3 and up) and called all the friends we knew with trucks and tow chains but predictably they were all either in school or at work. Inevitably we had to call a tow truck who cooked chains up to the front and pulled it forward. The rear of the car dropped into the water and scraped its way back on top of the ice where the truck pulled it safely to shore.
To add insult to injury, a small hatchback came barreling across the ice toward the landing and went nose first into the hole, rear of the car sticking out but still on the ice. As we told the tow truck driver that he might as well just stay right here and business would come to him, the hatchback proved us wrong by magically backing out of the hole, turning around, and driving away with us staring in total disbelief.
My friend paid the truck driver and we were done with the ice for the season.