Assateague State Park

Posted on Posted in North America Expedition 2007

Unbeknownst to myself, I apparently have an uncanny ability of finding the most popular campsites. Arriving at Assateague State Park, Maryland I stopped by the ranger office to reserve a campsite. The Park Ranger stationed said “This is the most popular beach around here. Most of the summer we are packed.” Sending me on my way, she pointed out a few other campgrounds in the area, one of which was just down the road. Assateague Island National Seashore was fulled to the brim as well. Although camping was not an option I did find a little piece of beach driving. For seventy dollars at this National Seashore you can drive on the sand down 30 miles to the border of Maryland/Virginia. Surf fishing and a few campgrounds are the main attraction. Wild horses also roam the island freely. One horse decided to stand right next to my driver door for a bit. Setting off down the road I passed through Ocean City a mecca for tourists. Being on a budget I continued on just north into Delaware where beach driving is permitted. Turning down one of the small sandy paths lead me to deeper sand. Then suddenly, clunk! Popping the transmission back into first gear, I attempted to keep my momentum. Somehow the shifter slid out. Now blocking the trail, I jumped out and began airing down the tires. A faint voice to my left utters, “Are you stuck?” Slowly stopping, a lady in an SUV pulls up wanting to exit. Walking over to me she asks whats going on. Explaining as I get back into the truck, I rock for and aft to free myself. Heavy burning smells fill the air. White smoke billows from the transmission as I poke my head underneath while still sitting inside. Sitting back up, sand flies upwards from the SUV’s tires as I kill my engine. We’re beginning to have a sand party here. Being the root of the problem, and felling a bit bad, I grabbed my shovel and started to help. While digging, one of the kids says “Were going to be stuck forever!” Laughing a bit, I finished up clearing a path aimed downhill. Her plan was to backup all the way to the waters edge and head for another exit. I add “What ever you do, don’t stop!” With a blank expression, she hopped back in and backed down. From there she kept on going. I don’t think she had seen the humor in the situation. Pondering for a moment I turned back to my own problem. Flattened down to nothing, my tires buckled creating a huge foot print. Another set of tires and another set of paths. Digging once again I cleared room for the axle as well. Restarting the truck my foot fell to the floor. Resistance slowly increased by pumping the clutch petal. Thoughts run though my head of the worst, no clutch. Sloppily going in reverse I slowly begin to move. Slipping and sliding the clutch didn’t fully engage. Reaching the entrance I stopped to air up the tires and figure out what was going on. Turns out, my first attempt to escape overheated the clutch. With a little slop after an hour, I was able to drive again.