If my failing memory serves me correctly, the Windstar Debacle unfolded as follows:
My family and I went to St. Martin for our good friend’s graduation on Saba Island. The boys and LB and I had arrived earlier than the girls, so we had already taken a tour of the town (all 15 minutes of it) and the beach. By the time the girls arrived with their parents, it was already evening. After dinner, the boys went their way (probably to get into some nonsense) and we girls went our own. LB wanted to show the girls the beach that was about a ten minute walk from our hotel. Despite the sun having long set, she boldly navigated the minivan we had rented, a Ford Windstar, along the road that led to the beach. Unbeknownst to her and not clearly visible in the dark, the road softly ended and just sort of merged and blurred into the sand.
We all got out of the van and enjoyed hearing the waves crashing and seeing the dark outline of the volcanic landscape under the moonlit sky. Since the girls had just come straight from the long flight from the US to dinner, they were tired and so we decided to head back. We piled into the van, LB turned the ignition and put the van into reverse and we sat there listening to the tires spin. And spin. And spin. LB stopped, put the van into drive, and we sat there listening to the tires spin. And spin. And spin. We all got back out and stood in a line looking at the van with the tires nestled snuggly in the soft, slippery sand.
Attempt #1: LB got back in and tried to rock the van gently. No luck.
Attempt #2: LB revved the engine while the three of us pushed. The only victory this time was that we learned how freaking heavy a Ford Windstar could be.
Attempt #3: We scoured the dark beach for driftwood, cardboard, anything to wedge under the tires to provide some traction. I think at one point someone even tried a few rocks. All we earned from that try was some scratched up skin and a few broken nails.
By now, it was nearly midnight. Out of ideas and fearful of KK’s fury with our treatment of the van (when I say he is a car lover, I mean HE IS A CAR LOVER), we opted not to call the boys to rescue us. Instead, we took the girls’ luggage out of the trunk and hiked across the street, the meadow, and a horde of blood-sucking insects to get to the hotel. One was exhausted and went straight to bed. The other had somehow acquired a huge gash on her face and was bleeding in a rather unladlylike manner. LB and I approached the desk clerk and with great chagrin asked him if he had any suggestions on how to unstick the van. With a bemused expression on his face, he said that he did not. “What?” I asked, not sure I was hearing correctly. “I don’t know what you could do other than what you have already done,” he responded. “Are you telling me that we are the first people ever to get a vehicle stuck on the beach?” He just sighed, shrugged his islandy shoulders, and suggested we wait until morning and then call the tow company.
That night, we girls got little sleep. LB was grinding her teeth all night and I had my internal alarm clock set to wake me up the moment the sun came up so I could call the tow truck over. When morning finally broke, we raced back to the van to await the tow truck. Typical Carribean time later, they finally showed up. They hooked the van to the back of the crane, revved up, and went nowhere. Yep. The tow truck got stuck on the beach too.
Activity on the beach started to pick up as the day progressed and a few lookee loos glanced over but offered no help. The local towers were at a loss at what to do. They were on their phones spitting out orders back to the homebase to send another rescue truck when one big, burly, beefy American and one skinny, denim-short-wearing American came by with their wives. They took one look at the scene, discussed the situation amongst themselves, and announced that they decided to take charge. Somehow, through a combination of brute force and something else which, for the life of me I cannot remember but it may have had something to do with deflating the tires a bit so that there was more surface contact between the tires and the sand, they did it. It turns out that they were farmers from Pennsylvania who were familiar with getting large farm equipment mired in the mud during the rainy seasons. So they put their all-American know-how to the test and succeeded in getting both the van and the tow truck out of the sand trap. YEE HAW!!! *cue “Proud to be an American” anthem*
Suffice it to say, we have never let LB forget the saga. Even now, whenever we are tooling along on the highway and see a Windstar chug alongside us, I’ll slide my eyes over to LB, LB will narrow her eyes into “DON’T TALK ABOUT IT” slits, and we will continue on our merry way.