Whiskey the Dog, Dingo the Human - Traveling High and Low 10/27/21
After we woke up in the morning, it was a quick shot down the mountain. Earlier in the night we’d heard heavy rain, as the frozen onslaught turned to water luckily. Wanting to waste no time, the snow was supposed to resume at 9-10 am, we hightailed it out of the seasonal stop and pressed on to warmer climes further down. The ride down was slightly nerve wracking, Whiskey’s head on my shoulder staring out the front, Daniel’s hand on Whiskey’s head calming him.
We picked up the parts, shared one last joint as we watched the icy rain lash the windshield. The wind whipped against the moisture while we both examined our next moves in our heads.
I said goodbye to Daniel and Whiskey, and headed on my way towards Salt Lake. Unfortunately roughly 2 hours into the drive fate, as it happens, had other plans and threw a new curve in the road.
Since I’d gotten to Colorado, I’d seen signs, and heard advice to keep an eye on the road. There’d been a lot of rock fall that year, and things were extra active at the moment in terms of things falling. A good thing I paid attention too because coming down the curve of an away road about. 30 minutes from anywhere with no shoulder impact.
Within about 10 ft of the hood of my car, two 3 ft chunks of what looked like sandstone suddenly dropped to the road, and rolled towards me resulting in a decision between the cliff and the car.
I chose the car. With about a 5 back and forth conversation in my head happening in about a fourth of a second I decided to take my chances that the car would protect me and ram the mother, although I took my foot off the gas trying to lower the front. The goal was to keep it dead center and away from the wheel wells. My biggest worry was that one of these would get lodged underneath a front tire and simply flip the car over the edge of the cliff with the curve and small space. The guard rail looked pitifully small and weak to be hoping.
The instant I hit the rock, it exploded outwards into large chunks of softball sized rock, and my car immediately started scraping. I slid to the side of the road, flapping the plastic undercarriage and trying to keep my wheels on the road enough with a sharp drop off to the right.
Although no-one stopped, I was able to cut off the plastic torn carraige with my pocket knife saw, and I could see blue fluid dripping onto the ground. I prayed. It didn’t look white. It looked clear. Maybe it was just the one. The part ironically I took Daniel to get was a radiator, and he’d explained to me what was going on with his car to keep him distracted from his situation, and to learn something. From that I could see the problem was going to be radiator, at least from the leaking fluid.
I slid into town and immediately found the nearest auto shop with a check on the phone about how to get there. I slid my civic into the parking lot at 2 pm and they closed at 5. It was not looking good. Saved Was I however by the grace of these mechanics. Mountain Auto Repair and Mechanics. This is not a paid post at all I’m just super grateful for the help. If you’re ever near Heber City Utah and need anything auto, Hit them up! If I’m near again, I will drive out of my way to get my oil changed or anything I need next time.
They were not only able to grab me a radiator, I fully expected to at least be stuck that night, but stayed open almost 2 hours late to put in. As I sat there in the final 30 minutes before they’d toss me the keys, his phone rang as he put the papers together. The details aren’t relevant but he was being thoroughly ground by his significant other for being late. For that as well, I am 100% grateful. If his wife is reading this, I am so,so grateful to him. Please don’t be angry.
As we signed papers and exchanged I said, “It kind of feels like Karma, helped me out here from stopping.”
He said, “Yeah, you helped someone out and karma threw a rock at you.” We laughed and I said,
“Yeah, but now the next bad thing, you’ve got the get out of jail free card now.”
We laughed as the other mechanic brought the keys in. He gave me the keys, and I gave them a hearty, hearty thank you, walking out into the dark parking lot. I slid into the growing darkness, eyes ahead. It’d been about 4 hours in town taking a nap, grabbing a walk towards the horizon line to think about the situation and pray the car would be fixed, and a cup of coffee and a couple of granola bars to fuel up. The reason I fueled up to is that I’d made the decision to try and press on through the night. Dingo, a fellow inaugural Ganjier saw my post and suggested meeting up since I’d be passing by. An early riser himself, it'd be no problem rolling into town first thing.
I’d had an enormous break, had had two large breaks that day of 4 hours and 1.5 hours, but this would turn the ride into what would end up being 19 hours of driving in 26 Hours total. Left 6 am the day before, Arrived 8 am the next day. Just so that this drive makes a little more sense.
The trip afterwards though, was quiet. Spectral honestly. I stopped for a box of value tacos at a place and gassed up the car, but really, it seemed as if traffic was dropping lower and lower.
Little did I understand what I was about to experience. Flat. So. Much Flat. It’s flat. Flat, Flat, Flat. At one point so unendingly flat that as I checked my mirror again to see straight and then looked back through the window at the straightness of it there too, I simply screamed.
Straight up. Just a simple roar at the landscape. Not even out the window by the way, simply at the car dashboard,
“FLAAAAAAAT!!!! IT’S SO FUCKING FLAT!”
This unending stretch of flat did make me think to myself in slight boredom:
Why don’t we make an American Autobahn out here? It's not like there’s not enough room, and it’s not like there’s not enough flat. Heck, at the rest stop out of Salt Lake you could walk right up to the Salt Flats that the world speed records are broken on. Not a huge deal, but it seems like a fun thing to add.
As I pressed on through the night though, wandering thoughts were kept away with coffee and sing alongs as I watched the road lines curve underneath and behind. At one point all light extinguished in any direction but up and I took my foot off the gas and coasted to the side of the road. The clock showed a late night, or an early morning.
The keys rattled on the chain and swung back and forth as I got out, and the gravelly dust coughed under foot. The moon, hidden behind some cloud, kept silent. Just the dullest silver glow cast over the horizon line. We aren’t taught to understand our soliitude, but staring out at the desert landscape, the smoke lifted upwards from my hands, and I watched the silent earth in comfort.
I got back on the road after a while, a total of two passing cars passing me between the arms of the mountain in about 30 minutes. I closed the door, jangled the keys, and felt the road resume against the gas pedals under my feet, my toes so in tune with the car, it may as well have been an extension of me. As I pulled into the rest stop, I simply replied to Dingo with an update, set my alarm for 6:00 am, leaned my head against the window, and slept.
“The circular lights of my phone pushed against my eyes as I opened my eyelids and unstuck my forehead from the glass. An hour and a half break and two hours left? We would make it. I slid through the California forest towards Grass Valley, yes actually, and floated through the predawn morning mountain light. I came to a stop beside Dingo’s car who would be my breakfast savior.
Gave me a terrific green juice and I felt my legs vibrate slightly as we checked. I fealt life surge back into me as I pulled down the green liquid of juice, veg, and all of the things that a long road trip in the car does NOT provide. Probably the biggest challenge to a dirtbag? Greens. Most of the time it’s a whole box of it just devoured in two settings or one afternoon. As Dingo and I passed the joint on his porch, the vitamins and vegetables flooded my system and returned me to human, my body soaking in the much needed substances in every way. We talked shop and hung up, but after a few hours, I featt the thrill of arrival and hanging with Dingo wear off and my eyes drooped, my responses slowed. Generously Dingo let me close my eyes in the back while he watched the baseball game on tv, and I put myself down on the carpeted cloud.
I napped in exhaustion, making up for lost time with 2-3 hours feeling like 5 or 6. I opened my eyes, multitudes more functional, and watched some of the baseball game with Dingo, Braves and Dodgers, as well as smoked another joint. At that point, the afternoon had arrived and it was time for me to hit the road. I got a hug, we agreed to meet up if we were in the area, and I resumed my cruise.
I continued to Garberville, where I would find sanctuary for the night, and an end to the greatest part of my journey in driving, and the beginning of my time in Humboldt County.