Flirting with Disaster – ATV Mishap

So this weekend, whole family went to upstate NY to  a friends cabin for a weekend retreat from civilization.  Little did  I know that this trip could be disastrous.

My Friend has 2 ATV’s and I’ve ridden both of his ATV’s in the past, so I was pretty confident that I would be able to control. The one he calls the “big one” is the one that I rode almost caused me and my daughter to end up in the hospital (or worse).

My family (wife and Kids) and my sister-in-law were supposed to meet up at my friend’s cabin, but due to traffic they turned back and went back home.. Not good.  So since my friend Jimmy’s Cabin had no cell signal nor was his landline operational, I volunteered to drive  with my daughter a few miles up the road to get a signal on my cell phone. My intention was to call my sister-in-law in Queens and to tell her to back on the road and get up to the cabin, as we had activities planned.

Of course as we know all good intentions can sometimes be fraught with errors in judgement.

As my daughter and I took off up the road going about 30 mph, my baseball cap flew off.  Me, in my infinite wisdom (or lack of), decided to make a U-Turn to get the cap (now lying on the road).

As I turned the ATV to make the U-turn, I lost control and instead of braking, I accelarated into a tree (tree suffered no damage). Instinctively I stuck out my right hand, so my 10 year old daughter would not fly over the front.. I took most of the blunt force  against the front of the ATV and of course the ATV was a wreck.. Destroyed the front end, radiator and flat..

I somehow flagged someone down and they took us back to the cabin so we could get Jimmy to survey how to get this huge ATV back to his cabin. Somehow Jimmy managed to bring the ATV back to his cabin (don’t know how he did it but he did it) .

I suffered bruising on my right leg and stomach and fortunately my daughter came out unscathed. She was just shaken up.  Yet when I reflect back,  I’m certain I had an angel on my shoulder that afternoon.  Consider this: If I would have missed the tree by a few feet to the righ, there was steep down slope into  a ditch/stream. I don’t want to think what the outcome would have been there.

I sit here and reflect on my luck, because hindsight is always 20 – 20.  If only I had decided to stop the ATV on the side of the road and WALK back to get the cap, none of this would have happened. Better yet, no baseball cap is worth the stupid actions that I did.

Rest of Saturday/Sunday, I spent taking Advil to for the pain and icing down my bruises.  I guess I was more embarassed than injured. Yet today, I’m still hobbling and still very sore from this mis-adventure.

Next day, I knew I had to get on the ATV to get over the shock/fear. I was shaking when I went on the other ATV that Jimmy had, but I had to fight the fear and get back on the ride.  Fortunately, I stayed off road (most of the time) and was able to successfully navigate the smaller ATV.

So with the rowing adventure/mishap last week and the ATV mishap this week I’m 2 for 2 on successive weekend outings during the summer of 2009.  I think the lesson to be learned here is to  just stay away from the great outdoors for the time being.

One lesson that I do want to share is this: If it looks hard, it probably is. Make sure you are properly trained before you get on any ATV and above all use common sense instead of  being lazy.

Next weekend is the annual Mid-Summer Masala at Six Flags in Jackson NJ.. Yes I know, stay away from anything that might throw me off.. I think I’ll stick to the Merry-Go-Round or the Ferris Wheel.

India's answer to You Tube

quick post.. I saw this beta site site that is has some pretty cool music and  videos from the Indian Subcontinent as well as links to You Tube to get your daily dosage of Bollywood!  check it out.

Rowboat Rescue in Mannasquan Resevoir

Manasquan Resevoir Boat House in Howell, NJYesterday, we went to the Mannasquan Resevoir for a day long outing. Our objective was to do some row boating, and have a leisurely picnic. There were about 16 of us.  Now of course these plans seem pretty sedate and simplistic, but oh boy did we have an adventure!

My whole family (except my wife, who was working – very important to this post) went to the Resevoir and rented rowboats and kayaks for a leasurely adventure on the lake.  My warning flares should have gone off when the attendent said “rowboats” are harder than kayaks.

We rented 3 rowboats (4 in a boat and) and one kayak.

As soon as we got into the rowboat we knew we were in trouble, because none of us had past experience in rowing a boat. Oops, let me say that only one person had done any rowing before this and this person was NOT on my boat.

Well how hard can paddling a rowboat be? Very…

First off:  if you are not well coordinated between you right and left hand you already have one strike against you.

Secondly: If you don’t know how to row a boat while not facing the direction that you are going, this second strike will get you in deep trouble.

Thirdly: Always make sure you have able bodies on your boat, in case you need relief from Rowing.. Also make sure your navigators (facing the direction the boat is going, know how to naviagate the rowing.

Ok, back to the videotape.

We  start off and we start spinning, because we decided to have two rowers and if the two rowers are not synchronized, you will spin in circles with endless futility.

So we finally got our act togther and we started to “row, row row your boat down the lake”.  No.. let’s just say we were drifting and spinning in the lake. That’s more like reality.

After about an hour of this activity, we realized we were about 1 to 2 miles off shore and we needed to get back.. this was the beginning of the end.

Of the 3 boats, only one boat got back without help (Speedboat Tow).

We had somehow managed to exchange passangers in midst lake and I had my daughters and my friends teenage daughter (my co-captain) on my boat.

My younger daughter  “N” was on the aft and the older one “P” was on the front side facing the front (our so called navigator).

Me and my co-pilot “V” were trying to go straight (with not much luck). Keep in mind that after an hour of being on the lake, we knew we were in trouble and making it back to the boathouse was going to take a miracle.

So “V” and I kept on rowing in unison trying to make it back to shore, with no luck. For every 15 feet we rowed in a straight line, we were sent back 30 feet by the strng wind on the lake. Of course we didn’t realize that the wind was doing this to us until “after” our rescue boat towed us to shore.

Our other boat with my sister-in-law and other kids, was in deeper trouble than we were.  She fell ill and was in need of help. Fortunately my wife  who was at work called us on all our cells and was getting the blow by blow of our misadventure. So she initiated the rescue of all of us.

So after 2 hours of being on the lake, both boats were making no progress of making it back to shore.  “V” and I were determined to make it. We got to within a mile of shore before we were rescued. My sister-in-law was about 2 miles off shore when she was rescued.

Getting rescued was ok, but “V” and I knew that it would take us at least 2 or more hours to make it back to shore with the wind conditions.

Both “V” and I were determined. Yet we were so embarassed/upset that we kept our head down until we got back to the shore. We had the utmost confidence that eventually we would make it back to shore.

Lessons to be learned from this adventure:

  • Always have keep track of the wind conditions when you are on a row boat.  we were facing a head wind and didn’t even realize it. In between our spins ,we were making forward progress , yet every time we stopped, we got pushed back double the distance of our row.. 😦
  • Before you go rowing,  pick a day that has very low winds, as the winds will wreck havoc on your rowing experience.
  • Rowing looks easy, it is not. Unless you have a concerted effort, spinning (360 degrees) will be the result, if you cannot keep the rowboat straight.
  • Always keep track of how far from shore you are, otherwise  you will drift further and further from the shore.
  • Have a cell phone, plenty of drinking water, and protein bars on board  when you go row boating. With the sun and efforts, you will dehydrate quickly and hunger will set in.
  • Never underestimate the difficulty it takes to row a boat in a straight line from/to shore.

When we finally got back to shore (after out tow), we took off our life preservers and had an exhausted picnic.. Of course we had to make an emergency run to the local store, as we had forgotten to get enough Soda/Water and utensils.

Personal thanks to the Monmouth County Parks Park Rangers that came out and towed us back to shore!

Valet Pickup – MT daycamp

Valet PickupA few weeks ago, I had to pick up my child from summer camp and got introduced to the new concept of  “Valet Pickup”.  Now I’m sure you are asking yourself, what the heck is “valet pickup”?

As a trial in my town of Middletown NJ: You are given  a 8 1/2 by 11 Pink sheet of paper with your child’s name. When you go to pick up your child, you hand this to the “attendent” or volunteer and he/she goes and brings your child from the day camp to your car.. I gotta tell you this concept totally blew me away. Instead of parking and going inside to gymnasium to get my child, my child (correct one) was delivered to my car!

This pick up service is indeed the next fad that I think will sweep the nation once it’s publicized..


  • For parents that are tight on time, this makes the child pickup from day camp a speedy and efficient process!
  • Creates additional jobs for teenagers who act as valets

Kudos to the Middletown parks and recreation for beta testing this concept this summer and hope they keep it for the long term.

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