Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Still on the road and what a trip it has been ...

We are in Monterey, California and it's just gorgeous here. It is sunny but pleasantly cool, a most welcome respite from the Arizona heat to which we will reluctantly return the end of this week. But it is not the weather I am basking in right now, it is the awesome news on Prop 8 and DOMA that came down from the Supreme Court this morning, all of which I will dedicate to a post unto itself, probably tomorrow since it is late and I am kind of loopy with fatigue right now.

But back to our road trip. All I can say is thank goodness for good news and good weather because this trip itself has had its fair share of unwelcome surprises. And we should have gotten an inkling of what was to come when things started going awry almost immediately upon landing in Seattle.

We landed at 12:30 pm and our daughter picked us up at the airport and announced we might have some trouble getting to our 3:30 pm appointment to service her car in preparation for the long drive back to Arizona. We looked at her and asked why since it is basically a 20 - 25 minute drive and we thought we had built in enough time to allow for lunch and some catching up.

Well ... that is not what the flying spaghetti monster had in store for us.

So as it turns out, we chose to fly into Seattle on one of the few days the entire city is shut down, including the I-5 and the SR99, both major highways for getting downtown from the airport. It seems there was a big marathon and a big summer solstice festival that day and everyone knew about it but our daughter, my husband, and me.

Well long story short, it took us longer to get to that darn Toyota dealership than it did for us to fly from Phoenix to Seattle. We sat in completely stopped traffic for hours and when we finally thought we'd found a back way out our of our misery with a shortcut our daughter thought she knew about (did I mention she has zero sense of direction?), we were stopped 10 minutes later by a really long train that went on for what seemed like an eternity and just when we could finally see the end of the train coming into sight, it stopped, then began to back up on the tracks for another 25 minutes and then stopped again for good, smack dab in front of our not-yet-serviced Toyota, leaving us stunned, trapped, and in complete despair of not making our appointment. We finally did make it to the appointment - late and very, very stressed out.

The appointment did not go well either. We were scheduled for a basic servicing (oil change, etc, etc), but I guess someone or something decided our day hadn't been disastrous enough. I knew things were about to get a lot worse when I saw the sweet little Toyota girl come out with a very strained smile that screamed your $89 oil change is about to become something much more complicated and expensive.

Among the myriad of problems was a nail in one of the tires that was so precisely placed that it rendered the tire irreparable and adding insult to injury was the fact that we needed to replace it and the other front tire because of something, something wear and tear or something. And, wait for it, they had no tires in stock in that size. (Thank goodness for Costco.) Then there were the two little gaskets which needed replacing because fluids were leaking, don't even ask me which ones because at that point I was shutting down and not hearing much. Oh and add to that some sort of fuel sensor that had gone bad and also needed replacing and ... you guessed it, they did not have that part in stock either. But the very worst part was that this was all transpiring on a Saturday evening at 6:00 pm and the dealership was getting ready to close for the night and remain closed through the weekend, throwing a huge wrench into our meticulously planned schedule of leaving bright and early Monday morning.

And ... we still needed to help our daughter finish moving out of her apartment on Sunday, get the stuff that would not fit into the car shipped to AZ (and do it all with no car since it would be perched high up on a whatchamacallit at Costco getting 4 new tires - hey in for a penny, in for a pound as my husband likes to say).

Ok, time to wrap this drab story up. The Toyota dealership really came through. They got the car all done mid Monday morning and we got on the road about 3 1/2 hours later than planned. We spent our first night in Eugene, Oregon. Delightful town. Delightful evening. Troubles seemed to be behind us.

But ... it didn't last long.

Left early the next morning. Next stop: Redding, California. Again, everything going along ok, aside from a torrential downpour towards the end that had visibility down to almost nothing. But we got through all the mountain passes safely. Car was just purring it was running so great. Tires fine. Gaskets great. Fuel sensor thingee sensoring just fine. And then wham! 15 minutes before our exit was about to appear, we see a bunch of brake lights ahead. Kinda a deja vu from the Seattle arrival day debacle.

And here is why:

A 4 vehicle crash on the Pit River Bridge involving 3 big rigs, one of them carrying diesel fuel that spilled all over the road, and one truck towing a boat.

Another 3 1/2 hours in stand-still traffic in the pouring rain with no means of escape.

There are still a few more days to this trip. Tomorrow we see our son and his boyfriend in LA. Nothing is going to put a damper on that day. Nothing. Cuz you know why? Today the Supreme Court made my son and his boyfriend equals to their fellow straight Californians (Prop 8 ruling). If they want to get married they can. If they don't, at least they have the choice. And thanks to another ruling (DOMA) by the Supreme Court, they will receive all the rights and dignity and protections and benefits that everyone else receives.

Nothing is going to rain on that parade.

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