Previously on......

by Jon Sullivan - 2022-09-27 - Travels

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A lot has happened since the last post. Let's recap and go over the crazy that was the move up.

The simple plan was to have Marilee come down, eat a last San Diego meal at Nine Ten, then drive to Eugene. Simple. It proved anything but.

The first sign the universe was trying to say something was before she arrived. I hired folks to load it all in the van. I knew if my knee went out I'd never be able to get things up the stairs in the new place. So trying to get it all up the ramp of the van myself seemed like a poor choice. For the record, not sure if they have them everywhere, but if people need stuff hauled, College Hunks Hauling has been incredible. Hired them twice in this process and would again. Sadly, they don't have folks in Eugene. At any rate...... The load master informed me he was the best West of the Mississippi. He might have been, it was a piece of art when he was done. I still needed to go buy straps though, which I did, but when I added them (load master had gone by then) I obviously fucked it up. And getting the truck from the old apartment to the hotel it all collapsed. And what was a tidy and tight puzzle that took up half the space turned into all my shit avalanching through the whole truck. I climbed in and considered how to unfuck it, but the only way would have been to unpack the whole thing and redo it. But by then I was out of time and decided to just try and lock down the random pile. But it looked like some of the stuff must obviously be trashed, and a few bins had broken open.

It turned out this was the least of the problems this trip.

Marilee arrived. We had an incredible meal. The hotel had a great balcony where we could look out over the city and say our goodbyes. I'm unlikely to ever come back. Too many other places with adventures I need to chase.

We got up with the dawn and hit the road. My trucker skills are shit, so I was white knocking it the whole way. I literally got a blister from my death grip on the wheel. And once we got to LA it only became more stressful. LA has the best and most aggressive drivers in the world. They don't mess around or give quarter. They prefer to dive bumper to bumper at 80. I can keep up, but not in a shitty U-Haul truck. It was not fun. And then suddenly it got less fun.

There was a two foot square piece of plywood in my lane. I didn't see it quickly enough due to traffic. I ran over it and was fine. But it lifted enough to hit the Mazda's radiator at 75 mph, then flip up and put a dent (yes, dent, not crack) in the windshield. The front of the car from the bumper to the engine was totaled. I looked back and saw some unknown fluid spraying out of the side of the car. A lot of it.

This is the 5 freeway in LA. You DO NOT want to pull over to the side. People die that way every year. So I hit my blinker and headed for the closest exit. Marilee and I had no way to chat about it, so I just prayed, "please get off the freeway please get off the freeway please get off the freeway". We made it off, parked in a seriously sketchy neighborhood, and called AAA. I was able to Stoic the shit out of it, but Marillee was visibly shaking. I tried to have my calm migrate to her. That didn't work as well. She was shaking for a long time.

There was nothing she could have done. She couldn't have even seen it until just before impact. And even if she had, the lanes on both sides were packed. She'd have had to swerve into a line of cars coming at her at 75. Brakes would have done nothing. She got lucky. I blame myself. Should have just eaten the hour it would take to avoid LA altogether. I was busy radiating calm, but wanted to hold her and weep. Fuck. It will be nightmare fuel for a long time.

We had it towed to a place AAA recommended. It didn't look too bad under the hood, but we really couldn't see much as it was all compacted. I was guessing a lot of stuff we couldn't see was torn away and mangled. We needed to be in Eugene the next day. So staying with the car till it was repaired wasn't an option. Which leaves me thinking about asking the repair place if they can store the car till I fly back down in a week or something. And them laughing at me. It went like this.....

I start to tell the repair guy my story and I guess he can immediately tell I'm in a huge pickle. He holds up his hands and says this, "Let me stop you right there. I need to say something. First, is everyone okay? Second, we will make this easy, we will help you however we can, I promise this will be better very soon. Please stop and breathe. I can tell you have a situation and we are all here to help you work through it. I give you my word. As long as no one is hurt this will be okay. " I'm tearing up just writing that. I felt this wonderful person lift a ton of stress off my shoulders. And he was right. They helped us more than is reasonable. That man deserves sainthood. We walked out the door and looked around wondering what the hell to do now. He left the front desk, came out to the street with us, and we talked it through together. Marilee can confirm, he is a saint.

Good Year Tire Center, 817 S Brookhurst St, Anaheim, CA 92804. Highly and aggressively recommended.

I've written enough for now. Still need to get a bunch of unpacking done before tomorrow. I'll continue the story as soon as I can. There is a LOT more.

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