Usually at this time of year the early morning temperature is in the low 50s and sometimes down into the 40s, but this morning when I went outside there was thick fog, no air movement, and the temperature when I left the yard at 5:15 was 64. The owners of a piece of land we have to traverse to get down into Red Barn have changed the lock on their gate and so far have not given us the new combination. So instead of a 15 minute ride in from the gate we now have to take a two track through the woods that takes us well over half an hour and the road is really rough, to the point where I won’t attempt it with my truck. Tony’s truck is a lot older and its best days are long behind it, so he drove. The ride in was bumpy but uneventful.
Once we got in there we did section 4 first with Trip and Bee and moved 10 woodcock and a brood of grouse that had at least four in it which seemed like a good start for the morning. Fortunately the sky stayed overcast and the day didn’t warm up too fast, but it also stayed very calm. In sections 1 and 2 Jack could only come up with 2 woodcock while his bracemate Bertha pulled an O-for. The last brace was a little better in section 3 with LJ and Little Thuddy finding 2 woodcock a piece for a total of 16 woodcock and 4 grouse in just under three hours. Not our best morning but good enough to get the dogs run with some bird work.
Now for the bad part, did I mention that Tony’s truck has seen better days? And that it’s a FORD(Found On the Road Dead)! While today it decided to test our mechanical aptitude. After we had turned off the main gravel road onto the two track, Tony stopped to shift into low range to negotiate the roughest, rockiest stretch of the road. When he let out the clutch the engine raced and the truck rolled slowly down the hill. he tried reverse with no luck. He tried shifting the transfer case again and again and again with no luck. We didn’t have a cell phone, we were behind a locked gate, we were miles from Tony’s with six dogs in the truck and the sun starting to burn through. Oh, and bye the way, did I mention that we were thoroughly soaked from the wet foliage we had to navigate while going to dogs on point. I hoped it was the linkage and that I would at least be able to get the truck in gear so I crawled under and took a look. I could see the linkage arm hanging down but couldn’t see where it was supposed to attach because the road was higher in the center and blocked me from getting where I needed to be. So, we got the jack out and lifted the truck a few inches so I could see the side of the transfer case. With me holding the linkage arm on Tony shifted the transfer case into gear. We lowered the truck and it worked. But we were in two wheel drive looking at a few miles of rough track ahead. We decided to turn around and go out a less punishing although somewhat devious way that I am unwilling to put into print. Once we got out we took Tony’s truck to the shop where they reattached the linkage while Tony bought breakfast even though it was my turn. So I got to be the hero and got out of buying breakfast — I love it when a story has a happy ending.