stranded on a mountain
today i remembered why i never leave the house.
when i leave the house, something bad always seems to happen. drama. money is lost. something gets broken. it’s safer (and cheaper) just to stay home, sweat out the heat, and play video games. i’ve been able to make a lot of progress on earning trophies on the PlayStation Network.
i woke up today and tried to estimate how miserable the heat would be. went through my usual morning ritual of closing all windows, pulling blinds, and turning on the swamp cooler. it was mild, about 92 at 11am, and the weather report said it’d get up to 105. no monsoon clouds to take the edge off either. ugh.
i was about to doze off again when a friend from back home texted me a funny quote:
I bet if porn was completely pulled from the internet, there would only be one website left, and it would be called “bring back porn”
so in texting back and forth, i was describing the heat, and getting away to the mountains to escape for a few hours, when a burst of motivation struck me. i looked at the boys (my dogs) and said, let’s get the hell out of this heat!
i took a quick lukewarm shower, even though only the cold water knob was turned on. i was envisioning the cool breeze, green forest, plants, flowers, and otherwise non-barren-wasteland ecology. it’s going to be a really lovely day, i thought. just in time to miss the hottest part of the day, too.
i got us packed in a jiffy. the boys were excited when they saw the hiking shoes and camelbak come out. last week we went for a 3 hour hike, although i figured we’d go up a bit higher this time to reach even cooler weather. got some gas and a redbull to help maintain my motivational state and headed toward the mountain.
by the time we reached the base of the mountain, i was singing along to music and happy to be doing anything, really. i saw the sign that said it was about 25 miles to the point where we were headed. another 35 minutes or so, and we’d be surrounded by lush, verdant flora.
cruising around the twists and turns, we passed a couple of the campgrounds at the lowest altitude. it was still way too hot there. we had a ways to go.
i was headed toward a concave curve along the mountain, when i heard a strange metallic crunch and felt my rear driver side tire kind of sink. thankfully the traffic was already slowing for the curve, and there was a pullout at this particular location. i started pulling over to the side, thinking i had a flat tire.
i felt a second metallic crunch, and then i only felt metal on the pavement. i saw my wheel rolling straight on, as if i hadn’t turned.
fortunately it was headed mountain side and i figured i’d have no problem retrieving it. i just knew i had to get to a stop quickly and safely if i wanted to salvage the housing on my brake.
by the time we were still, i was shaking. two cars pulled over immediately to offer help. no one had cell service and no one knew what to do. i didn’t have AAA. no local family. XBF told me he didn’t want me to tell him about anything stressful (that’s another story for later). friends were out of town. i was going to have to stick this one out on my own.
i couldn’t leave my dogs. one of the ladies that stopped offered to stop at the ranger station to request help. i estimated it was another 15-20 minutes from where we were. it would have to do.
it felt like forever before the sheriff arrived. it must have been a while because two women heading down the mountain stopped to pass on a message to me that the police had been notified, and would be heading down soon.
i spent the time retrieving my wheel from the small ravine it fell into. NOT AN EASY TASK. i drive a jeep wrangler that is lifted a couple of inches and has some decently big tires. not to mention that, as luck would have it, we didn’t break down on the shady side of the mountain. we were in a prime location to fry on pavement. i almost fainted a couple of times as i heaved it uphill. my entire front side turned black from the tire and wheel because i had to use my whole body to move to confounded thing up a steep and rocky terrain.
i finally got to the road and back in the car. now my whole body was shaking. i drank water and tried to cool off. my poor dogs were panting even with the a/c on. i tried to listen to the radio to pass the time but radio in this town seriously sucks. besides, my fingers were shaking so badly it took me forever to change the stations. i settled for crappy music and tried to manage the self-flagellating that was already starting.
finally i saw the sheriff’s SUV. the lights came on as she slowed and pulled in behind us. i cheered and the boys got excited, although they didn’t know for what. the sheriff took a look at the place where my wheel used to be and concluded i would need to be towed for sure. all i heard was dollar signs. but, what choice did i have?
it was another hour before the tow truck arrived, although they had estimated it would take about 30 minutes. living here, you have to just embrace the sweat. don’t try to fight it. you are going to melt like a fucking snowman in the middle of july. by the time the tow truck arrived, i was swimming in it. i waded out of my car to talk to the tow guy and the sheriff and come up with some plan. we decided to tow Delilah (my Jeep) to the nearest tire store. the sheriff would drive me and my dogs down, since the tow guy wasn’t allowed to have dogs in the truck. by then it was nearly 4pm, so i’d probably need a ride home too.
for some reason, the tow truck driver didn’t have a jack nor tools to stick the tire back on temporarily. sheriff to the rescue again! she had whatever it was we needed and i watched my broken baby limp onto the tow truck. i busied myself taking pictures of that whole process, and of the boys in the back of the sheriff’s car. the back seat, although enclosed in a cage, was quite comfortable. the sheriff’s a/c was on. my boys were safe. my little excursion was costing me a fortune but at least we were all okay.
on the way down i sent out an SOS text to three people: a friend, Satan Spawn, and XBF, although i was reluctant to sent one to him due to his moratorium on my stressful events. meanwhile, Beautiful Disaster is texting me and we’re having a conversation about sitting in the back of a police car, among other things. yes, he shot my dog. but i needed some fucking support so give me a break.
no one responded to my text, so i called each person. no answer. of the three people i contacted, i only heard back from two during this whole mess: my friend, who turned out to be in oklahoma, and Satan Spawn, who called me after i had already hitched a ride from a stranger at the tire place. radio silence from XBF, until about a half hour ago when he responded “if you’re looking to talk about us, then yes i’m busy. i’m studying.”
i’m starting to get really sick of that guy.
fortunately, a very kind retired airforce pilot gave me a ride home, all 25 minutes away from where we were. it was going to be a hefty cab expense and i was glad to have the ride. i had him drop us off at the university, so at least my boys could get some kind of walk today.
we finally arrived home, all exhausted, hot, panting, sweaty. i walked straight into the bathroom, peeled off my dirty clothes and took another lukewarm shower to rinse off the day. made a pb & j sandwich–two actually–and sat down for a relaxing evening destroying shit in Infamous 2.