We live in the city so I (Joe) like to help our guys see the beautiful parts of their country.
This week I took them to the village, Chi Phat (pronounced Chee-Pot).
It's about four hours from our home and in the words of another American, "The road (to Chi Phat) is intrepid." But we didn't encounter any major problems and by the time we arrived I was feeling pretty positive.
We checked into the guest house.
We had lunch.
Then headed to a nearby waterfall. After turning onto the road leading to the falls we passed two cars that were leaving. I avoided a few potential problem spots and it all went smoothly... until we reached a long, under water section. I sent one of the guys ahead to check it out. The road was basically two deep ruts with a large high spot in the middle. Since the other cars had made it through I thought, "It must not be THAT bad." We got about 100 feet, and only had 30 feet left to go, when the front tires unexpectedly slid sideways into the ruts and the rear tires instantly followed.
That's where the van stayed for the next 27 hours.
After some unproductive attempts at moving the van we walked to the falls. Then we walked an hour back to the guest house. In the village Michael put up a bounty for getting the car out.
A couple guys brought their water buffalo, but the van didn't budge.
Some guys with come-alongs were hoping to claim the cash, but gave up.
Another group with come-alongs tried a different method and for the first time we saw some progress, if extremely slow progress. Then I was able to get the guys to try a different approach to their method. In the end, that was the solution we were looking for.
It was cool to see how the problem was solved.
The $60 bounty was paid out to the successful guys and we handed out five or so bucks to the guys who tried.
My biggest regret is that my camera battery died before we got the car completely out. Oh well, just more proof that things don't always work out the way I plan. Word to the wise: If you're going mud bogging, or even four wheeling, don't take a stock Toyota Previa Van. That is, unless you want to get stuck. :)