11.3 Monumental Lockout

Well, it finally happened.  I locked myself out of the car.

Fortunately, it happened near civilization, at the Devils Tower visitor center.

Unfortunately, they couldn’t help me.

Fortunately, the “road unit” ranger could.  This happens periodically and the park rangers deal with it.

Unfortunately, the road unit ranger was unavailable, in a meeting.  They were short-handed—other units had been called out for forest fire work.

Fortunately, the meeting would be over in about an hour.  I took the opportunity to hike around the tower.

Unfortunately, when the ranger arrived, he didn’t have the lockout toolkit.

Fortunately, he knew who had it.

Unfortunately, there would be a delay while his partner arrived.  I watched parties of climbers ascending the tower.

Fortunately, the other ranger arrived in fifteen minutes and had the tools.

Fortunately, they worked!

I was embarrassed by this episode.  I once was unsympathetic to such stories, but I will never make condescending remarks about these things again.  I felt like the Norwegian who had locked his keys in the car.  It took him nearly half a day to get his family out.

A half day had passed for me and now, through the help of park rangers and their preparation for this semi-rare event, I could continue my travels.

My minivan, with its two rooftop cargo carriers spends an extra few hours at the Devils Tower visitor center, a consequence of its absent-minded owner.

Nightscape Odyssey
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