Be careful when taking your sedan or coupe off-road

A while back, I ran across a couple of guys trying to take their Lincoln Town Car up to Vedauwoo, but they ended up getting stuck in the snow. But I’m not completely innocent of stupid ideas, so I shouldn’t make fun of those guys.

I had no end of unkind names for a couple of guys who were stuck in the snow on a forest road in Vedauwoo not long ago. I mean, come on. There was two feet of snow on the ground, and what wasn’t covered in white stuff was soupy mud. It wasn’t a place any sane human would think to drive a 1982 Lincoln Town Car.

But I have to confess, I had a similar stupid idea back in my formative years.

I used to drive a 1977 Pontiac Grand Prix. It was an awesome car for rumbling around Riverton, but it wasn’t exactly what you think of when you picture the ultimate rabbit hunting rig. It was all I had, though, and when Josh and Blaine Curtis and I wanted to go rabbit hunting, the Grand Prix was the only set of wheels available.

Before we headed for the Gas Hills, I gassed it up, changed the oil, and made sure it was as off-road-worthy as it could possibly be. And truth be told, it performed like a champ. We bounced around those rutty dirt roads all day that Saturday, and we only came back home because we were running low on fuel. Actually, I was pretty sure we were almost out of gas, but I couldn’t be certain, because none of the gauges except the speedometer worked anymore.

We went out again the next day, and we were well on our way to our second limit in as many days when the car started making a faint knocking noise. We turned back toward town, but it was too late. We were a long way out, and by the time we got back, the knock had become a hammer, mixed with a horrid shriek. The engine was toast. We must have knocked the oil pan off the first day, and with no oil gauge, I wasn’t aware of it until it was too late.

So I shouldn’t have been so hard on those guys at Vedauwoo. They just wanted to get outside, and their Town Car was all they had to get there. I just hope they made it back to town with their oil pan.