Send me an Angel. I'm Stuck!

Yesterday was a lovely day in southern California. I went up to Gold Mountain, W6/CT-053 for some winter points. I guess I earned them: it was snow all the way to the summit. Lucky for me, some big trucks with BIG tires had forged their way up to the top on the Gold Mountain dirt road. I was able to walk in their tracks. Without them, I would have had to posthole in 20" of snow all the way up.

The activation went well. I found a spot in the sun and stayed warm for the 1 hour 45 minutes I was up there. I had 72 QSOs and quite a few DX

I got back to my car about 12:00 and decided I would also activate Silver Mountain, W6/CT-073. It was on the way home. Plus, if you’ve got gold, you might as well get silver.

I turned onto the forest service road that starts the route up Silver Mountain. Being a little tired (and lazy) from my first peak, I decide to try to drive some of the road. That was a BIG mistake. After about 100 yards down the road, my rental car slid off the road. I got out of the car to look it over, but I already knew that I was %&$#!).

There was no way I was getting out. Even with a shovel, which I did not have, I could not have dug my way out.

Then miracles started to happen. I pulled out my phone and had 4 bars on 5G, IN THE MOUNTAINS! Then I opened my map program and searched for tow truck. Another miracle: Lacona’s Towing was just 15 miles away in Big Bear City. Miricle #3: they answered the phone. I told the guy my problem. He asked me to send him a map pin. He texted me immediately so I could send it and then called me back. Then he asked me to take pictures of my stuck car. I guess he needed to determine what kind of rig he needed to get me out.

Miracle #4: His name was Angel and he said he’d be there in 15 minutes. What are the chances that you’ll need to be towed out of the ditch and they are available and can be there in 15 minutes? And he did show up in 15 minutes and pulled my car out. Very friendly and professional.

I got my car back to the nice wide parking area right on the highway and parked. By now it was 14:45. I was tempted to consider myself a very lucky, but stupid, guy and drive home. But my SOTA addiction got the best of me. I hiked the peak, had a nice quick activation with 21 QSOs and a few DX.

I made it home by 17:45. Since the towing cost me $150 (espensive but considering the options, a gift), I had toyed with the idea of NOT telling my wife. But I couldn’t resist telling her about my miracle Angel.


wow. vy glad you got “rescued!” the slightest bit of that mud, slick as ice, and if sink in… suction! TNX S-2-S from your first one! 73 fred kt5x (WS0TA)

I’m here for the picture of the tow truck. :stuck_out_tongue: Where is it?

Here’s one of mine.


GUD stuff Pat - glad it all worked out in the end!

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If towing is covered on your personal car, it’s covered on a rental. I have a triple A membership with the top level, because that’s the only one that will tow a motorcycle (VFR800fi).

Elliott, K6EL
Speed Demon

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Hi Pat! Next time you must rent a Jeep Wrangler, Toyota Takoma or something else, hihi.


Wow - that’s pretty cheap compared to up here in NorCal…I hear on the scanner all the time of peeps needed a pull out of the snowbanks over on Donner (I-80) at the tune of $600 +…Yes, you did have an “Angel” :wink:

73, Todd KH2TJ

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And I guess that disproves the age old saying of “Rental cars really will go anywhere” :wink:

Great story, Pat.

In 1999, my first US holiday, I practically destroyed the hired Chrysler Neon on a 40 mile wash board road.

Since then it’s been SUV’s all the way, with a RAV4, a Nissan Armada and a Dodge Durango. They’ve all done the job. The Armada was the favourite. 5.8l V8 and I suspect only available in US and Middle East.

The issue in the US is that many of the nice places are along unpaved roads, which is a nice issue to have!


Unfortunately the modern cars are so low to the ground for economy reasons and can get hung up really easily. I had a really nice Subaru Outback but once SOTA started for me and a 9k km of driving to get round my list of summits each year I picked up a good second hand Ute 4X4 duel cab at the Police vehicle auction. It is very good to do SOTA in with mostly dirt tracks and dirt roads with maybe 5 summits needing low range 4X4. Ground clearance is the best thing about it and it’s a more robust vehicle with lots of room for my mobile radios as well. Just one of the hidden costs of this SOTA obsession we all struggle with. Take care out there.
Ian vk5cz …


Fraser. “…one of mine.” How many tow trucks do you have? That one looks like an able beast.

Here’s the one that pulled me out:



To all. Yes, a bigger boat/vehicle would get me more places. But it’s a slippery slope: bigger badder vehicles get you stuck in bigger badder places. If I had, say, a Toyota Tacoma, I’d try to get into places that require real off road vehicles and most likely, I’d get my lazy butt into more trouble.

And like someone mentioned, you won’t always get you an Angel to pull you out: you might pay $600!

I think the best solution for me is to find another SOTA operator who has one of those big-ass trucks and go with them :wink:

Have not managed to get it stuck yet :laughing:


Josh. I tried a motorcycle last summer. It beat me up a lot more than walking :wink:


That is a neat unit!

Three. Plus two other Land Rovers that aren’t. One is a camper van and the other is a 1969 Series II bone shaker. I use them to do recovery at Motorsport events. Mainly rally, some off road and very occasionally race circuits.

this one has a fold out crane that stows in the back. Seen here playing radio on the Isle of Mull, the day before Mull Rally 2023.


The Defender. Nice rig. Same one “Vera” drives, but I read hers is an automatic and she only pretends to shift it.


Hi Pat, that’s a great story and glad you made it off the mountain OK, plus got a solid activation in the log. I had a similar problem last year and was able to roll back and forth out of a rut I was stuck in. Now, I park at the first wide spot in the road that I can find on my way up to a summit, or I just park at the base and hike up. 73, Bob W4BTH

Great story; thanks for sharing. Glad you made it out OK and got two activations!
Note to self - when the road gets sketchy looking, park and walk.