- The handling was more to my liking,
- I didn't plan to take it on many off-road excursions, and
- The dealer wanted $2,000 extra for the 4WD option!
We were blocked on the sides and behind us. One upside we had, however, is no one was in front of me. A couple of options were available:
- wait for a bunch of half-lit fans to lollygag back to the lot and leave so we could back out -or-
- pull straight ahead, cross a small ditch, climb the slight rise, and turn right on the highway.
Facing a 5+ hour ride home to Chattanooga plus work on Monday, option 1 was immediately discarded. I eased down one side of the embankment, through the marshy bottom of the ditch, and up the other side. But then...
With the wet ditch, I got zero traction. I tried not to spin the rear tires, but I was making no forward progress.
As a few good ol' boys sauntered up, they offered sage advice "DROP IT IN 4 WHEEL DRIVE MAN!" I laughingly bellowed back "I would if I'd had two grand more."
Philly stepped out of the passenger side and asked the guys if they could give us a hand. Sure enough, the inebriated bunch of good-hearted souls gathered at the rear of my Jeep and yelled Go!
I eased into the gas but still wasn't going anywhere at first. But then bit by bit, I moved forward some. I glanced to my left and spotted Philly doubled-over laughing outside the door. Before I could even ask what was so funny, he stammered out just keep going between laughs.
Finally I popped out on the shoulder of the highway, and the Jeep's rear wheels were again back on asphalt. Philly yelled thanks and jumped in. I threw my hand out the window to acknowledge them too, but returned my focus to checking my mirrors for on-coming traffic.
Philly then said while still busting a gut "stop a second and look at those clowns." All of them - several shirtless - were covered ankle-to-neck in fresh mud but laughing and with a fresh brew in hand.
With a shake of the head and you've GOT to be kidding me, we headed for I-81 to lead us home.