How I Pick Up "Treasure" On The Side Of The Road

I should have a bumper sticker that reads "I brake for trash." I can't tell you how many times I have spun the car around because I saw something cool in the ditch. I have picked up some cool stuff over the years. A tow strap, a cooler, a gas can, a Phish toboggan, a number of bungee cords, a blue flathead screwdriver, and a soggy sombrero. I lost a woman's push-mower off my trailer once... I wonder who picked that up? Anyway, here is what happened yesterday.

I was headed out of town, starting out on the 3.5 hr drive back to Charleston, when I realized I needed to stop by my friends house and pass along some mail I had been holding for him before I left the area for a week. It was a rainy weekend in Greenville, and the roads were wet and the sky was overcast. The traffic was busy as people started home from their offices, and because of the weather, everyone had their lights on. As I approached an intersection, I realized it was going to take me a few minutes to get into traffic, because of the congestion at the stop sign.

While I waited for the cars ahead of me to turn, I noticed 2 long slender boards approximately the same length laying in the grass on the shoulder of the road I was about to turn on to. It appeared that they might be loading ramps for a lawnmower, which had fallen off the back of a trailer. Maybe these were something I could use? Maybe I should just stop and look at them and see what they looked like? I couldn't take these all the way back to Charleston, but my friend had a lawnmower, maybe he could use them? I had an opening however, so without much thought I took my opportunity and pulled out and went on my way north. I only made it about 3 driveways however when I decided: I am going back for them. So, I pulled in the next large driveway, and waited for the traffic to let up so I could go back to the spot once again. I headed south.

As I came up on the intersection, I saw that a man in a pickup had stopped exactly where the boards were located. Realizing I had missed my opportunity, and someone other sly individual had had the same thought as me, I drove on past the spot and found another driveway where I turned around once again and headed back north. To my surprise, when I came back to the intersection, all I saw were two spin-out tire tracks, and the boards remained in place. Maybe the man found that the boards were cracked, broken, or rotten? Maybe he didn't want to get wet in the rain?

I slowed down quickly and pulled off onto the rough shoulder of the road. I'm not sure whether the ground was very uneven, or if I came into it too fast, but my teeth got chattered together in the maneuver. I hit the 4-way flashers and got out in the light rain to look at them. Good news! These were some good looking ramps! As cars whizzed by and sent the water spraying my way I decided to load them up.

Now this could be a problem. Because of the rain, I had put my bicycle inside the x-Terra rather than on the bike rack. Fitting the ramps inside wouldn't work. I quickly decided to put them on the roof rack, which proved to be a bit difficult alone in the rain, without swinging the end of the plank out into oncoming traffic. Still, after some effort, and some timing to avoid traffic, the planks were in place. I bungeed them down (with 2 rubber straps picked up off the side of the road earlier this summer) and jumped back in the driver seat only moderately wet from the rain.

Now I had to take it easy. The boards were heavy, the rack was wet, and the bungees were not designed to be the only thing securing down this type of cargo. I didn't want to lose my newly acquired ramps into the front of the BMW station wagon now tailgating me closely behind. I pulled over on the next church parking lot to check my load, and let the string of cars behind me pass. Everything looked secure! A few slow miles later I had arrived triumphantly at my friend Austin's house. I encouraged him to come out and see something I had "picked up" for them. (Little did that know the reality behind that statement) Fortunately he saw the value in my gift, for it would have been very disappointing if he had said. Well those are kinda lame... I beamed as Austin showed excitement for these two magnificent planks of wood, and I nearly shouted out my response when he asked: "where did you get these from?

"You gotta hear the story!"

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:04 PM

    You sound like my brother-in-law that lives in Mt. Pleasant. He has a great affinity for "treasures". We call him "Lamont" b/c of the character on Sanford & Sons. (Yes, I know that was before your time.) Seriously, please be careful picking up "treasures". Your family needs you!