What do 2 Rainbow Gathering hippies do when their vehicle gets stuck? It’s 2 pm near Varna, Bulgaria. We’re happily driving this converted bus into the woods, looking for a place to camp. I’m in the back getting tossed around by every bump in the unpaved roads (what seatbelts? That’s for sissies). A narrow uphill turn ahead. “Please don’t take it” I think to myself, knowing for sure that he will. Going off the beaten path is where one finds the best Nature spots. Sure enough, we start climbing slowly. The road narrows, too tight. “Nope, that won’t work” he said and let the bus roll backwards down the slope. Instead of going all the way down, we back into a tree. My friend tried to go forward to adjust the angle and that’s when we got stuck. The more he stepped on the gas pedal, the deeper we sank in the soft ground.
We put branches, rocks and other solid objects under the tires to help them gain traction; didn’t work. We emptied as much stuff from the bus to make it lighter, didn’t help. A few hikers tried to help us push the bus: futile. The problem was we had to push the bus up hill to get it unstuck. Someone suggested leveling the road to make it easier for the bus to roll out of the hole. Aladzha Monastery was nearby. Surely they must have a shovel. Yes, but it was Sunday and the gardener locks up his tools on the weekend. My friend sent SOS messages to his contacts in Varna, one said he might be able to help later, most were out of town.
What to do? Drum. Sing. Play the didgeridoo. Hike in the forest. Breathe. Worst case: camp where we were until the gardener opens up his shed Monday morning.
“Would you like to get a massage?” my friend, who is a massage therapist, asked. “Yes!” I never turn down such offers. Found a flat area in the woods and set up the table. As he worked on my back, I literally felt the stress melt down into the Earth and my body became one with the trees and rocks. Half way into this bliss, my friend yells: “They’re here!” and runs to meet his friends who came with a pulley system and rope. I never thought I would be happy getting a blissful massage interrupted halfway, but I was. We tied one end of the rope to a tree and the other to the bus with the pulley in between. As they pulled the pulley chain, the bus inched its way out of the hole, like a giant turtoise. After 4+ hours of uncertainty, our bus, and us, were finally free. A small piece of metal succeeded at what more than 6 humans failed. Thank goodness for the little miracles of human ingenuity!
And just in case you’re wondering, we did resume the massage and finished the other half before heading off and finding a nice spot to camp.
Moral of the story: when stuck, get a massage!
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