I know I am late, things have been hectic, but here it is, as promised, weekend in a post. For those that do not know what I am talking about. I was stuck over the weekend and that is what I am using as this prompt for mt post.
My husband and I are introverts. We like hanging out with other people, but prefer to be alone. “Stay in doors, no social anxiety there!” Our brains tell us. In order to get out of our house, to prevent crippling anxiety and depression, we go camping. We enjoy hiking, often with our heavy equipment strapped to us via backpack. However, this time, we decided to do some easy camping with off-roading. Our black Jeep Wrangler gets stuffed to the brim with our camping gear and food. My dark blue backpacking backpack is filled with our clothes. We always bring at least one of our backpacks, just in case we have to backpack out of our camping spot. On this particular trip, this backup plan became a very real possibility.
We arrived late in the evening. Just a few hours before dark. Hubbin, my nickname for my husband, and I had camped in this area several times in the past and had not worried about how late it was getting. As per usual, we set up camp in almost no time. We have a system. I get the small two person tent set up while Hubbin takes care of the fire and chairs. Fitting poles together and stuffing our temporary home with our shared pack and sleeping bags is no more than five minutes of my time. The rest of the site can take a bit longer. The place we went to this time has pits already set up for your fire. All we had to do was stack our logs and then Hubbin and I also like to keep at least two gallons of water next to the pit too. Just to be on the safe side, we use a shovel to clear any dead, dried leaves and pine needles away from the pit as well.
Our site was set up, and we were relaxing back in our chairs; breathing the fresh clean air around us and enjoying the birds chirping. As silly as it can be, I did bring my tablet with me. Hubbin was sitting and relaxing his mind while I worked on editing Samantha. It was enjoyable. Eventually we both grew hungry. Hubbin made us some juicy corn and some tender turkey-dogs. With our bellies full, we watched as the sun turned the sky a myriad of colors. Orange, pink, red, filled the once blue heavens. It seemed as if minutes later we were together watching the stars twinkle in a dark night.
Hubbin had a book on his phone that he had planned to read, but his phone was dying. In our haste to get out of the house, we forgot our portable charging pack. So he went to our car to charge the phone. I sat by our fire still editing and listening to the night sounds. It was then that I heard a terrible noise. My Jeep was rumbling and rattling, in a very bad way. I ran to our car.
“Babe, the car, listen.” I said as I hastily the door open.
Hubbin and I shared a look of worry then he shut off the car. With flashlights in hand we went to the hood and popped it open. I do not know much about cars; my job is to hold the light while Hubbin checks it out. Coolant was sprayed about our engine. The underside of our hood had fourteen inches of the greenish liquid dripping down on the filthy parts below.
“That can’t be good.”
“It’s not…” Hubbin began searching for the leak. “Look up coolant leak.” he mumbled towards me as he grabbed the light from my hand.
After several minutes of searching, we found what we needed. We hoped it was a leak in the water pump seal. With that in mind, I quickly packed up our site and doused the fire. Hubbin began trying to use some “trail tricks” to help the car work. He also wanted to keep it together enough for us to drive out and to the town below us instead of us having to hike out.
Ten miles to the nearest motel and another three to the best mechanic in the area. We were on a mountain, in an OHV (Off-Highway Vehicle) area. This means there is a lot of dirt and plants, but a whole lot of nothing else. Not even a mile down the mountain, we heard a new noise and smoke billowed from the hood at the same time. Hubbin shut off the car with another grumble. We, once again, popped the hood. The filthy state of our engine was the same, but as we looked at our serpentine belt, we saw where the new noise came from. The belt had snapped.
“Shit,” Hubbin swore, “Okay, so no alternator, that means no battery, and no belt means no power steering and the coolant problem means that our radiator can overheat. Damn it. This will be difficult…we got this, right?”
I stared at the hairy man I had loved for years. “Umm…yeah.” My lungs filled with air as I tried to clear my mind of the impending panic. I needed to be calm, to think rationally. “Okay, we have a flash light. That will be your lights.”
“Right, and I can bump-start the jeep as needed for the brakes.”
“Right, let’s go.”
We did. I hung half way out of my window holding up our flash light as Hubbin fought with the steering and brakes all ten miles down the mountain. The car stayed off as well as the lights this was to conserve the battery. When our brakes began to give out, Hubbin would stick the car into second gear pump the clutch and let our beast of a machine roar to life. Once he was able to brake again, he would turn the car off once more. With it being so late at night, we coasted into the closest motel and called it a night. There wa nothing more we could do to fix the car until morning. The hotel, thankfully, had one room left. It was a smoking room. As you can imagine, it was sour with the scent of stale cigarettes. After airing out the room, we showered and passed out in the cozy bed.
Now the next morning is when I wrote the book review post and let all of you know that this prompt was coming, but a few more details of this trip came that day, and later that night. So, instead of ending this post here, which is what I had planned earlier, I am going to finish my story.
You know how in movies things go from bad, to worse? Often times I find myself saying things like, “That wouldn’t happen in real life! There is no way!” Yeah, well that is what all of you may think after I tell you this.
California, where I live, has been having record breaking fires this week. Guess where we had been camping? That’s right, right where those damn fires ended up.
Let me back up a bit though. So Saturday night is when we got the motel. Then Sunday, no mechanics were open, so we had to stay another night. Now I have a difficult time sleeping at night. I can sleep all morning, but at night, it is a struggle. So I was up at two in the morning watching TV. It was then that I saw the news about the fires. Santa Rosa was being hit hard. People were being told to leave their homes; some had to leave their pets. Eventually they had to shut down the freeway. It was/ is heart wrenching.
It wasn’t until ten in the morning on Monday that we found out that several fires had broke out. They were surrounding the area that we had ended up in. Hubbin and I were stuck in Ukiah, CA. We were fortunate.
Our house is far from the fires, we already had a place to sleep, we had enough money to get food or whatever we needed. In fact, the only thing we lacked was a working car and Hubbin’s medication. Once the mechanic opened up that one problem of ours was taken care of. As for the other thing, he wasn’t going to die if he could not get them for one day. Plus, we had the ability to call his doctor and have them send the pharmacy the prescriptions. We were far more well off then the surrounding people.
Over the next twenty-four hours we heard countless stories from people that left their house, farm, and livelihood behind. Animals were released into the wild in hopes that they would run from the fire and survive, but many of them will not make it. We heard from people that lost everything they had ever owned. I had never really stopped to think about people that live through natural disasters.
Of course, I always said “poor them,” or a mild, “I wish I could do something.” But I never stopped to think, what would it be like to have whatever I was able to grab in five seconds and nothing else. I mean really think about that. Everything you own is gone. The house that you struggled to earn money to buy, gone. Your place of business is burnt down, gone. All the family photos, important papers, ash. People have no homes, jobs, clothes, beloved items and their pets are gone.
Personally, I would lose my mind over something so tragic. So yeah, my weekend was difficult. I had to call out for a couple of days for work, but at least my home, family, and pets are all safe. My weekend was cake when I stepped back and looked at the bigger picture.
You can find out more about the fires and learn how to donate HERE. Hubbin and I do not have the funds to donate money, but in the next few days, when we are not working, we will be donating our time.
All of you stay safe, and if any of you are, or know someone, going through all of these natural disasters, I wish there were words that I could say, or write, that would make it all better. For now, good luck and may whatever omnipotent being you believe in be with you in these troubling times.
That is all for today.
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