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Saturday, December 20, 2008

once upon a ... 14 hour drive to ashland

How do I tell this story in the most minimal way as possible? Ahh, it's a story, that's for sure.

Thursday, 12/18: cara drives with mr. darcy to ashland, OR to spend the night with old roommate/travel companion, Lola. That which is supposed to be a 6 hour drive ends up taking a little bit longer...

8.15: leave san mateo

8.20: stop by starbucks, of course

8.35: on the road again!

11ish: stop in Vacaville to find windshield wiper fluid that won't freeze under 32 degrees (courtesy of advice from smart Mr. Whitney) and to hopefully find a nice person or two who will help me install my driver's side headlight.

11.20ish: Target is of no windshield wiper fluid avail, and neither is Chevron. I take a chance on Big O Tires and make 7 new best friends whom I treat to Starbucks in exchange for help with all of the above. Main quote here: "how many men does it take to change a headlight?" ...love it. I SWEAR I didn't bat my eyelashes too much.

12ish: on the road again, though hitting Redding a bit later than expected.

2:45: forego lunch in Redding as to hit the pass more timely

3: we're less than 5 miles north of Redding and carrying chains is (already!) required. that is EARLY. I pass by showing them my sweet new chains sitting in the backseat next to MD.

3.15: it's time to put on chains! I take a deep breath, decide I probably know what I'm doing (I've had some conversations about it), and pull over to the side of the road. I disassemble my chains and attempt to put them on my front tires. I am mostly finished when the guy in the car behind me comes up and asks if I a) know what I'm doing and b) need help. He takes a look at my handy work and calls me a pro, and proceeds to help me with the tighteners. I give him a chocolate bar in return. Hey, tis the season!

3.30: mixed CDs courtesy of friends Jamelyn and Raymond are playing off and on in the background on full blast in an attempt to drown out the constant clicking of the annoying chains. Traffic is not going more than 30-35 MPH.

...still in chains...

4.45: I look ahead of me and realize that I am about to run over what looks like a semi's set of chains. I run over the chains. Immediately I hear a crazy additional clicking on my driver's side chains. I pull over to the side of the road and see that one of the links has come undone. Well, what to do but continue driving? So I do.

4.55ish: all of the sudden: KSDFOUISDGHLEKRJL@K$*@$KJDFLKSDF. My driver's side chains fly off. Dang Gina. I call Dad and ask for his advice: "well, driving with only one tire chained up defeats the purpose. You'd better get another set of chains!" I decide to go to the next chain-place I can find and remedy the problem.

5.15ish: I think I am getting close to new chains because we are, afterall, in the middle of a crazy snowstorm in the middle of nowhere. Nope. ASKFLJ@#(*ASJDFLKASJ@#$@#$!!! Chains on the passenger's side of the car fly off, as a result of hitting the semi's chains too?

5.16: I pull over to the side of the road. What the HELL am I supposed to do right now when my chains are splayed all over the road? I am chainless. I will call Emergency Roadside and have them either tow me into town or bring me new chains. I pick up my phone to call. Nope. The phone is beeping that it's dying a fast cell phone death. If I call now on the phone it'll die in the middle of it. Must find a new cell phone (and a charger, for that matter).

5.17: with my beanie, gloves and uggs on, I put the flashers on and step outside of the car. The wind is crazy. Snow is flurrying madly. And I am on the side of the road trying to see with my arms waving in the air. A moving truck comes up upon me, and like they do in the movies, I am waving, waving, waving him down. He doesn't stop. Whatever happened to the goodness in society? Oh wait, now he is stopping, though a football field ahead of me.

5.18: I start running towards the moving truck while he starts backing up towards me. Hope I don't get run over.

5.19: Mr. Moving Truck man and I meet. I explain the situation and ask if I can borrow his cell phone. "Sure, hop in." I hesitate for a second...Mama said not to get into cars of strangers. What if he takes me to Mexico? Too late. I'm in and we're backing up torwards Raul the Jetta.

5.20: I get out to find the number, sitting in my own car (safety first!) dialing. Thus begins the conversation with ER Roadside:

"Are you okay? Do you need immediate assistance or medical help?"

"Well, yes...no...I mean, I'm on the side of I-5 in a snowstorm, by myself and my chains popped off. I mean, what do you think?"

"Ma'am, where are you?"

"I'm on the side of I-5 heading northbound."

"Ma'am, where are you, more specifically?"

"I'm on the side of I-5 heading northbound between Redding and Yreka."

"Ma'am, I'm going to need a bit more information than that. Do you see any signs or signposts indicating where you are?"

"Ma'am," (now I'm inserting the 'ma'am'), "I'm in the middle of a snowstorm. I can't see anything. There is nothing but snow in front of me." (Cara is getting frustrated and wants to cry now)

"Okay, we want to help you, but I need to know where you're at."

"Don't you think I'd tell you where I was at if I knew where I was at?"

Silence.

Cara remembers: GPS device. I look at my GPS and see that I'm exactly 47 miles from Ashland; Ashland is exit 14 over Oregon, so it's 14 miles into the state. 47 - 14 is 33.

"Ma'am, I'm exactly 33 miles from the California/Oregon border. Does that help you?"

Calculating, calculating...

"Oh, you're outside of ______________" (can't remember).

"Sure."

"Okay, we'll send a tow truck to you as soon as we can."

"Thank you."

I give the guy back his cell phone, he departs.

Roadside calls my near-dead cell phone and the automated voice picks up: "Emergency Roadside Assistance ... will be to you ... in approximately ... 1 hour." 1 hour?! I could get eaten alive in 1 hour!

With the engine running, a book on tape playing (which I now need to listen to over again), a near-dead cell phone, a dog who hates me and doesn't understand why we can't play in the snow, I sit in my car. And sit. And sit.

6 pm...
6.15...

6.30: emergency roadside calls: "If your emergency roadside assistance has arrived, please press 1...if your emergency roadside assistance has not arrived, please press 2." 2!!! "If you need to be connected with your emergency roadside provider, please press 1." 1!!!

Tow truck company answers:

"Hello!!!! I'm on the side of the road. Where are you?" (Distress, distress, phone beeping "death" in my ear)

"We just got onto I-5 and our chains popped off! We're trying to fix our truck, but we'll be to you as soon as we-"

Phone dies.

this is it. I really am dead now. I guess I can eat Mr. Darcy's dog food and stay alive for a little bit. Ewww. I really don't want to eat puppy chow.

6.40.

6.45: bright lights are behind me. Jesus? Sirens come on. I've never been this happy to see a police officer in my life. I jump out of the car in glee.

"IT'S OKAY MA'AM. JUST STAY IN YOUR VEHICLE."

Oh yeah. Forgot about that part. Hwy patrol man comes up to me:

"Are you okay? I see you've been here for awhile."

Wait a minute...I look at him quizzically. He KNOWS I've been here for the past who-knows-how-long and hasn't come over to assist me?

Officer reads the look on the face of she who can't hide her emotions.

"No, I saw you from the other side of the freeway, but I couldn't get over to you because of all the snow in the median. I had to go down to the next exit and turn around. Are you okay?"

I explain that my chains have popped off and I'm waiting for roadside to come and rescue me, but I don't know if they'll ever make it and my cell phone's dead...

"Ma'am, you do know that you're on a 10-mile stretch of the freeway in which chains are not required?"

ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME.

So, because of the lack of hills on that minor stretch, chains aren't required. He directs me to Chevron, 7 miles north in Yreka, to get a second set of chains, as they will be required at that point.

"Will you be okay?" I nod my head yes.

7.05: Chevron gas station in Yreka. I buy chains and the tighteners. I charge my cell phone in the bathroom and call dad to let him know that I haven't died, contrary to popular belief. I call Lola, apologizing for being 3 hours late. Chevron treats me to hot chocolate. I appreciate them. I install chains a second time and the Chevron guy nods his head in approval. These chains look much more manly and stable. I cross my fingers and leave that joint.

7:30: I-5 corridor.

"Sorry ma'am. I-5 northbound is closed right now. Check back in half an hour."

Grrr.

This is crazy.

I drive on over to Super 8, thinking, maybe we can get out of the car for a bit. Me and Mr. Darcy, with my cell and charger walk into the lobby. I stand in line and raggedly smile pretty for the receptionist.

"Hi there! I-5 is closed right now. Do you think my dog and I could wait in your lobby for a few minutes and charge-"

"Ma'am, this is a commercial food zone. Dogs are not allowed. Please leave."

"Uh....could I still charge my cell phone?" She looks at me like I'm holding a Sprint PCS bomb. She has pity on me.

I sit in the car and steal internet from the Super 8.

8:15: Get cell with minor juice now, and drive over to the freeway entrance. Still closed. I wait in line with the other cars and steal internet from another hotel.

9:15: I-5 is open!!! Drive the remaining 40 miles to Ashland, with Hwy patrol leading the way at an even 32 miles an hour.

10:30: arrive at Lola's. Home sweet home.

---

So, merry christmas...happy travels...be safe...and live, love, laugh about the little and big things this holiday season. god bless.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Cops is filmed on location with the men and women of law enforcement...

I'm writing one of two last NT Wright papers for this horrid (but mildly enjoyable in an academic "I'm learning lots!" sort of way), I must speak of an incident in the city this morning:

*car one: black Honda Civic.
*car two: silver Honda Civic
*car three: Raul the Jetta

We're on 19th Ave, which runs through SF to the Golden Gate Bridge; I was heading up there to go on a little hike through the Presidio with MD and an old friend Mary. The time: 10 am. So here we are on 19th Ave in the farthest right lane. The light turns red, and car 2 rear-ends car 1. Car 1 stops, puts on flashers and (rightfully) thinks, oh, perhaps we'll have a little discussion about this minor accident that just happened (of course, since I'm putting words in Car 1's mouth, this could also completely NOT be the case, but as narrator, I reserve the right to put words-in-mouths as much as I like).

Meanwhile, Car 2 thinks to himself, DUDE! I don't want to have an accident on my insurance! I'm outta this joint!

So Car 2, while Car 1 is getting ready to approach him, instead backs into Car 3 (that's me) in order to pull into traffic and avoid the collision all together. I'm honking. I'm talking to sister-in-law Melissa on the phone going WHAT THE HECK?!!! Granted, car 2 merely "bumped" my bumper, so I'm not too worried at this point. There are worse things that can happen.

Well, back to the story: Car 2 takes off down 19th. Driver of Car 1 gets back into his vehicle, honking, screaming, and thus starting a high-speed chase down 19th Ave. Meanwhile, Car 3 is in the back going, wait a minute, am I part of the scene now? Do I now join Cops....is filmed on location with the men and women of law enforcement.... and become the race-car driver I've always dreamed of being?

Car 1 - high speed down 19th.
Car 2 - high speed screamer down 19th.
Car 3 - mmmm, I don't want to get a ticket, kindof high speed, I'm really not that hardcore down 19th.

Stop light: Car 1 stops because he has no choice with the buddies in front of him. Car 2 stops. Flashers come on again. This time he jumps out of his car, again, with some slick looking weapon of sorts that he's holding in his right hand while banging on the window of Car 1, screaming.

Car 2 guy keeps yelling, motioning for the window-roll down, flashing slick weapon thingy. Meanwhile Car 3 is thinking that she's pretty much pretty not hardcore and would like to not get killed.

Light turns green. Car 1 takes off. Again. Car 2 man jumps back into his car, squeals ahead and Raul the Jetta keeps on puttin away. They turn onto a side street and zoom up the hill. Car 3 loses them.

Whew!!

So now the question is: do I call the popo of San Francisco in order to provide evidence for the rear-ending and front-ending of two vehicles? Am I now a witness to a crime?

dun dun dunnnnnnnn