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Borrego Springs, CA

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Trapped!

It seems every time I think life is getting a little mundane, something happens to make things more interesting.  Today was a good example.  I didn’t have to set my alarm clock last night, so I slept in until 7:30 before leisurely getting ready for work.  I figured I’d leave the rig about eleven to get to the VIS in time to take the second shift assignment from noon until six.  On days when there are Rail Walks offered, the VIS is open from 6:00 am until 6:00 pm to accommodate the ‘walkers’.

I cooked myself a good hearty breakfast, and got the truck loaded with all my paraphernalia.  As I got in the truck to pull away, a FedEx van pulled in through the gates to make a delivery.  That’s odd for a Saturday because no brown shirts are working on the weekend.  Of course, he flagged me down and I signed for the package that I’ll turn in to the office on Monday when it’s open.

IMG_0588He then followed me to the automatic gate to get out, only it wouldn’t open.  Okay, I’ve seen that happen before, so I spent a couple of minutes pulling back and up, and back and up at a slightly different angle making sure my tires crossed the sensor lines.  It didn’t work. 

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Next, I got out of the truck and went and pounded on the control box.  I’ve seen others give it a swift kick once in a while to get the gate open.  That didn’t work either.  Then I tried both codes on the numerical opener pad… nada, zip, zilch, nothing happened!  We were trapped inside!

Time for Plan B.  I talked to the FedEx guy and explained the problem.  He tried whacking that box a few times and even tried to pull the gate open with no results.  In the meantime, I whipped out my emergency phone list for the refuge and began dialing away.  First I called Stephanie, the volunteer coordinator, then the Law Enforcement Officer, and finally the Assistant Manager of the refuge.  All resulted in this message, “ So and so is not available at this time…please leave a message.”  Disappointed smile

It seemed to me that the FedEx guy was getting a little nervous at this time.  I could just imagine his mind thinking about being stuck here with a little old white lady for the weekend.  Surprised smile  So, he decided to climb over the fence to get to the numerical opener pad on the outside of the fence.  After all, it had just worked two minutes ago.

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Did I mention that these spikes top the fence he was going to try to climb over?  I said, “Please be careful!  You don’t want to ruin the family jewels!”  His answer?  “Oh boy, I just have to be very careful because I’ve had two knee surgeries!”  I really wasn’t worried about his knees…  He hopped on top of the control box to help get over the fence and made it out.  However, after putting in several codes that I gave him, the gate still didn’t open.

At this point he was outside the fence, and I and the two vehicles were still inside.  That’s when my phone rang.  As I went to answer it I noticed that he was trying to make himself skinny enough to try to squeeze his way back into the compound under the fence.  Luckily, he was a slim young man.  FedEx guys wear shorts down here, and I’m sure he probably scraped up his knees.  My call was from the Assistant Manager, and he suggested trying my key on the second larger gate on the other side of the compound.

So off we went, and my key actually opened the lock, but the two sides of the gate were not level, and where they came together pinched the lock so tightly that I couldn’t get the lock out to open the gate.  The FedEx guy came and muscled it open, and we thought we were free at last!  That’s when we noticed that there was a second gate with another lock with a chain around it that I once again didn’t have the strength to remove.  I’m sure glad his muscles were there or I would have never made it to work.  Once we got the second gate open, he was out of there like greased lightning. 

I don’t know why these things happen to me, but it sure livened up my day!  Later in the afternoon, I got a call from staff saying that two minutes after I left my rig, the electric power in Winnie went out.  That’s why the gates wouldn’t work.  It took a couple of hours for the electric company to restore power, but at least I got back in through the gates tonight.  I don’t even want to talk about the glitch in the electric at the VIS this afternoon, and the problems that caused.  This morning’s adventure was enough for me.

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

37 comments:

  1. You do lead an interesting life.

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  2. That fence should have a battery backup - not very good if there was an emergency and the power is out.

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  3. Or better yet, a solar panel.. A lot across the street from the RV park here has an automatic gate and they power it with a solar panel.

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  4. I swear, some people have all the fun! I can just picture the FedEx guy getting more worried by the minute.

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  5. Not a good thing to have happened!

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  6. Oh my, alls well that ends well I guess! Good thing you had some company during your "lock up" (and your cell phone!). Reminds me of the time a few years ago when I got locked into my RV's storage yard when the elderly attendant didn't happen to notice that I was still on the premises, locked the gate and went home for the weekend! It was the dead of winter in Chicago (you know how cold THAT can be!), but I had my car and my cellphone with me thank god! After not being able to reach the storage company, I finally had to call 911 who proceeded to send out 2 police cars, a paddy wagon, and finally a giant hook-and-ladder fire truck with 4 burley firemen to come cut the chain locked around the front gate. On Monday, the Storage Lot owner and I had a good laugh about it--- I was the first person in his 45 years of running the place that he ever managed to leave locked up on the lot for the weekend (lucky me!). Ha ha!

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  7. Whew! What a way to start the day. Love the photo of the spoonbills!
    - Mary Ann

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  8. Egads...now that is an adventure you never want to repeat.

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  9. "I didn't know why these things happen to me". LOL! Makes for interesting blog material though.

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  10. Seems every refuge we've worked at has these electric openers... door openers, gate openers... even security systems... but without a battery back-up they're worthless... or worse. Glad you got and the UPS guy got out okay.

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  11. We have one of those types of gates where we are at now. I hope we don't get trapped.

    Glad you got out and it wasn't anything on your motor home that you would have had to pay for.

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  12. Well, at least you weren't alone in your adventure. After all, who would believe you if there were no witnesses? LOL!

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  13. Glad you got out and the FEDEX guy was able to get back to work. Interesting episode...

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  14. Sounds like a great title for your book Adventures of an NWR Volunteer: Trapped with the UPS Man. A best seller in the Thriller category for sure. :-)

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  15. Never a dull moment as they say. Those guys are on such tight schedules and drive like crazy all over the place. He must have really ampt up his drive after that

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  16. What a frustrating morning. I sure hope they put in some kind of back up after your experience. But boy does it make for fun reading for us. I can just picture the panic on that FedEx guy's face when he started getting behind in his schedule. That is not acceptable for those guys.

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  17. That one would be hard to explain to the FedEx bosses!

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  18. aii yaii yaii. . .that was quite the dilemma. . .ugh!

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  19. You're right - we never know what's in store for us. Sounds like you handled it well, though.

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  20. Sounds like a good reason not to show up for work. Having worked in HR for over 30 years, I thought I'd heard them all!

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  21. Whew. I feel like I've just been through a Mission Impossible double-feature.

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  22. Gosh, my Saturday ended up going topsy-turvey, but wasn't quite as exciting as yours! I'm okay with that, actually. ;) Glad you got out and in!

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  23. It never rains but it pours, doesn't it? Talking about rain, you better batten down the hatches, it looks like there's a gusher coming your way!

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  24. I've got a couple of gate stories, too long for comments, so they'll have to wait until we meet on the road. Of course by that time, you'll probably have a few more... :cO

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  25. Good grief, what a mess. Challenges lurk everywhere.

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  26. Great story! Nothing like being trapped.

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  27. Well at least you have a sense of humor about it all! It always happens that we never think of the easy answer, I usually don't anyway! Who would have though it was the electricity.

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  28. I think you have all the fun!

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  29. Well, at least you got trapped with a good looking guy in shorts!

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  30. I remember having that problem with automatic garage doors, but you could still muscle the door up so you could get out. That could be a problem in an emergency. Glad you got through it. It's always something, isn't it? But at least this problem didn't cost you!

    Thanks for the ID of the Northern Pintail - I think you are exactly right. I did some Google searching and came up with lots of photos. I think mine is scrunched down and you can't see the white of his chest continuing up his neck in the back in the narrow line of white. And, as you said, no tail feathers. That was quite a mystery to me, I never would have ID'd him. :)

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  31. What a hoot! Makes for another good campfire story.

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  32. What the other Dawn said!! :)

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  33. Wonderful birding pictures!! I'm looking forward to your pictures and comments on Tamarac NWR. The northwest is one part of the Gopher State I'm quite unfamiliar with and need to learn more about. Mrs. T. and I are always looking for new camping venues...:)

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  34. Way behind reading but just had to comment, what a morning you had.

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  35. Nice Post.Thanks for Sharing this in your Blog

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