Saturday, October 6, 2007

This Job Can Be An Adventure

I love my job, really I do. Not many people I know have such adventures on a regular basis. This Friday's adventure, however, turned into somewhat of a nightmare......

I left Denver around noon on Friday to do a site visit at a new oil well site in Kuner, Colorado, which is east of Greeley. What a lovely idea for a Friday afternoon, I thought to myself, and maybe I'll even finish up early and head home before rush hour! Nothing wrong with a road trip. I put on some tunes, rolled the window down, and headed north.

I finally reached Kuner, Colorado about 1.5 hours later and was somewhat disappointed. Kuner, CO consists of one 5' x 5' shack at a railroad crossing, and these are its only inhabitants....pewwww!

I had somewhat of an idea of where I was headed, but had no idea what I was headed for. I came upon a big yellow gate and a nice trucker who tried, but couldn't help me decide if I should head through the gate or not. Well, I gave it a shot and the trucker closed the big yellow gate behind me. Rather than the nice straight dirt roads that run along section lines in most oil/gas fields, these dirt roads were curvy and squirrely, and made navigating the landscape even more difficult. I drove and drove and drove and became more and more lost. And I turned a corner, what did I see coming out into the road in front of me, but a SNAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you know me, you know this was a serious problem. My palms started sweating, I thought I might vomit and/or pee, my arms and legs became weak, my vision blurred, and I started screaming. In all my years working as a geologist and wandering around out in the middle of nowhere, I've never come across a snake. Now, here was a big one, looking right at me (or at least it seemed this way.) I didn't know what kind of snake this was, and frankly, it didn't matter. The type of snake and its level of danger have nothing to do with my pathological fear. I am just as scared of a garter snake as a python, seriously.
So, I slowly drove past this snake, who was watching me the whole time, I'm sure, screaming the whole time. Of course I vowed that I was not getting out of my truck for the rest of the day until I was safe on the pavement in Denver.
I was having no luck finding my location, so I called Dave, the field land-man for my client. He was home for the day (I could hear his rooster crowing in the background), but he insisted on helping me out or else I would never find the spot. He promised to stay on the phone with me and talk me to the location. Well, now I'm 5+ miles away and have a complete stranger on the phone, so I start making small talk. I mention that I saw a snake in the middle of the road (trying to act nonchalant about this fact), and asked him if he sees a lot of snakes in the area. Well, Dave proceeds to explain that the area I'm in is SO infested with rattlesnakes (!!) that it has been officially designated as some sort of rattlesnake breeding zone. He proceeds to advise me that whatever I do, I should stay in my truck. At this point, I'm so freaked out that I become completely irrational and put my windows up in case a snake might just jump through the 2" crack in my window while I'm driving past at 20 mph.
Dave gets me to my destination, I thank him wholeheartedly, and happily drive down the newly constructed road to take some pictures and draw a quick map (from the safety of my truck of course) before heading home for the week. Well, this newly constructed road was actually more like a sandbox, and once I started driving into it in my two-wheel drive truck, it was too late to stop, so I just kept going, hoping that I would be able to pull off onto harder ground at some point. This didn't happen as I hoped, and I proceeded to get stuck!!!!

Oh, and did I mention that I was running out of gas?

The first thing I thought was, oh no, this means I'm going to have to get out of my truck! Well, obviously I had no choice, so I put my window down, looked around for any sign of snakes (since they're so obvious in the desert landscape), and tiptoed my way around the truck to see how stuck I really was. I also was thrilled to see the largest insects I've ever seen, these crickets (I think that's what they are....look next to the tire)

The man working at the site, waved to me and eventually pulled up to laugh at me for getting stuck. Eddie laughed and laughed and then agreed to help me get out of this predicament.

He hooked me up to the back of his truck and pulled me out to more solid ground, laughing the whole way. I leaped out of the truck, so happy that I momentarily forgot about the snakes, and gave my man Eddie a big hug. He laughed and said, good thing I was here, or you would have been out here all weekend by yourself. No kidding Eddie, and you can be damn sure I would have sat in my truck waiting to be rescued rather than hike across that landscape looking for someone. Doesn't this just look like rattlesnake country.....?


GreenHills said...

hee hee....i love you!
By the way, we went hiking near here two weeks ago, and all I could think about were the countless copperheads that were lurking under every fallen log (there were lots) and under every fallen leaf (there were TONS!). It really didn't help to see a samll yellow snake about 15 minutes into the hike. Not to mention the fact that my brave husband valiantly insisted on being first to scare up snakes (he didn't notice The Yellow), AND I saw the snake right as my little girl was walking within inches of it, but didn't want to say anything cause I knew she'd stop right there..... sigh! I hated hiking in NW AR, made me long for the Rockies, where at least rattlesnakes rattle at you before the get you!

angela said...

you are too f-in funny!!!