California: Car and Driver are reunited
California is a desert. Every now and then we get WEATHER.
Yesterday, we went down the coast to attend a memorial service for a dear cousin. I tell you this so you know that only a truly important event would have gotten us out of the house on a stormy day – the likes of which we have not seen in a long time. The memorial service was deeply moving and connected us as a community of friends and relatives.
When we went to leave, Half Moon Bay frogs were SINGING. We got in our car and went NOWHERE. We were STUCK. While we were inside enjoying food, song and conversation, my car was sinking. 3 men tried to push, 3 manly-men admitted defeat. With all the weather-related events happening, AAA was over 90 minutes away but then they went to a similar street name in San Mateo instead of Half Moon Bay. So we waited, made comfortable and welcome by dear cousins.
Finally, help arrived. AAA had to get creative to get my deeply-stuck-in-the-mud front tires free – this was not a straight forward release. Then Bob painstakingly rinsed the mud from the brakes. We left behind a huge hole – sorry cousins! Finally, we were on our way home – around 11, not 8. All this time, the weather cooperated with only light sprinkles from time to time.
Home stretch: Coming into Pacifica, we encountered a police action. The road was closed due to a mudslide. I got out of the car and politely approached one of the many policeman (some of whom were waving flashlights around seemingly randomly, getting all the drivers confused). The officer I approached was not helpful. Isn’t part of a policeman’s job to be polite to regular folk, to answer reasonable questions in something other than unhelpful monosyllables? As I returned from the policeman, many people in cars scattered all over were waiting and asking ME what was happening. I could have relayed good information; I could have been a bearer of NEWS as well as good will and a collective understanding that stuff happens.
At that point, we had a choice. Go all the way back to Half Moon Bay and around – at least an hour of driving with no knowledge of what we’d encounter (the AAA driver had already told us they were pulling a car out of a ditch on the main road) OR WALK.
We parked, got our headlamps (yes, I carry one in my car – thank goodness), an umbrella and started walking. The heavens picked THAT moment (the very moment we started walking) to dump BUCKETS of water on us. We sloshed for 45 minutes in a deluge of rain, running water, puddles and debris all over the roads and sidewalks. We had a powerful tailwind. Pacifica frogs were SINGING. We got home safe and sound and soaked.
The next morning, I woke up realizing all my gear (for my morning class) was in my car. Plus all the yummy food from last night’s gathering. Highway One was still closed, but they were running one-way controls, causing big delays in the morning commute. Bob and I braved it. We arrived at the tail end of traffic in both directions. Instead of over an hour of waiting, we retrieved my car in 10 minutes. It was a breeze, almost as if nature was apologizing for the night before.
Update: Good news – no one is hurt. Bad news – AAA tow truck driver damaged my car when he tried the first 2 times to pull it out. Toyota says it’s irreparable, structural damage and egregious incompetence of a tow truck driver. Sigh.
Hindsight lesson for my readers: A simple tow out of the mud should not result in severe damage to your car. Never again shall I ASSume that the professional tow truck driver knows what’s best without monitoring closely.