06 February 2014
A Harrowing Tale....
With a thick blanket of snow outside, I decided to stay in last Saturday night. Thick socks, an oversized teeshirt, and few old Frantz family videos quickly became my version of a Saturday night "rager."
Deciding to take a trip down memory lane, I popped in the most recent addition to our family video collection. You see, my dad has two alter egos. He either pretends to be the activity director of "Resort Frantz"(aka our house) or the Steven Spielberg of home videos. This means that when my dad gets his bi-monthly bug for adventure, he not only plans it and treats us like tourists, but proceeds to capture every inch of our trip as if he were a modern day Rick Steves. No matter how detailed the plans at Resort Frantz may be, without fail, something always goes wrong. So just like any torturous event, we need some time to recover before re-living our last adventure.
Since its now been a few months since our last family outing, it seemed about as good a time as ever to watch and share the harrowing tale of our four-wheeling adventure...
Towards the end of the summer the director of Resort Frantz got an itch that just had to be scratched. It'd been a while since our last family adventure, and my dad was revving to go four-wheeling. After a week of planning and walking around our house talking like Indiana Jones, he loaded up our Rav-4 with lofty plans for "fun filled" day in Vail. His plan was to four-wheel it up to the base of a trail where we would hike a loop and four-wheel back down.
I imagined my family strapped inside a Jeep or straddled over the seat of an ATV, giggling as we bounced over bumps. Little did I know that my father's idea of four-wheel driving involved a shoddy map and our very own Rav-4...
Just like ski runs, four-wheeling trails are marked similarly - easy, medium, and hard. No matter how many times my dad has done something he always has to "warm up," so we took a green of four-wheeling to the head of our hiking trail. Other than the fact that we were driving a street car up a mountain, the day was panning out true to what I had imagined. Both me and my brother, Albert, took turns behind the wheel, laughing the whole way up.
After returning form our hike, my dad sprung the question, "wanna try a more difficult trail for the ride home?" Per usual, mom threw a fit. She only signs up for these adventures if we stick to the plan. Being the brats that we are, my brother and I egged our dad on. We find some sick enjoyment in pushing our mom close to the edge.
The verdict: three to one, so we began our adventure down the hill. Albert and I shared the wheel as mom sat in the back, butt cheeks clenched together. A few miles in, we learned why it was labeled difficult. Dad took full control, sending me to the back to weather mom's storm.
It gradually got worse as we bottomed out over boulders and lost control. Just like a cartoon, mom's eyes flew out of her head as she held on to the side of the door for dear life. She even slipped a few prayers out since we were, "all going to die!"
In hopes of calming mom down, dad whipped out his "trusty" map and found a way to get back on a green. Instead, we found ourselves on a black. The boulders became too big to clear and our breaks over-heated. With mom in a panic, we decided to stop and let the breaks cool. Both Albert and I had to remain calm, knowing that we were the only thing holding mom back from a full blown panic attack.
As the breaks cooled, Albert and I ran ahead to clear boulders from our path. Once we grew tired, we decided to sit on a rock and wait for them to reach us. As we waited, I showed Albert my armpits, sweaty with nervs. He said, "try sitting up front, I thought I was going to poop my pants!"
Our parents rounded the corner, as we both stood up to help direct their plummet down a vertical hill into a sea of boulders we couldn't move. As our little Rav-4 made it over the cliff, the two back tires got stuck on a boulder. It dangled there as a sacrifice to Resort Frantz. It shimmied its way down to the next boulder where our car balanced on two tires. It looked like a single gust of wind would have tipped the whole thing over. Innocent Albert looked at me with wide eyes as he mouthed, "Oh FUCK!"Both of us closed our eyes, unable to watch our parents plummet to their death.
When we finally opened our eyes, there was our trooper of a car, with dad in the front seat and mom wailing in the back.
Only a mile a way from the highway, we started to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Once we finally reached civilization, we realized our road was a dead end. Our hearts fell, thinking we'd have to drive up everything we had just come down.
In hopes of keeping our family together, dad whipped his map out again and found a sliver of hope, a small trail that lead to a main road. We drove towards it as the sun began to set, only to find that the road dead-ended into a filed of asbestos.
Albert and I couldn't pretend to be okay anymore, so we both started to panic. As predicted, mom went into a rage. With nothing else to do, dad looked to his map one last time and found the one trail we had yet to try.
We all sat silently, fingers crossed, as we made our way to the final road.
Before heading home, we stopped for dinner and DRINKS in Vail village. As the hostess lead us to our table, she asked, "so, how was your day..."
Needless to say, none of us answered as this adventure made it's way into the Frantz family books....