Was it last year or the one before that I last got lost at the cabin? Well, this year was a very different experience. My daugher had freshman orientation, so we went up several days later than my husband. The night before we were to leave, with the number 2 dog in the car, he called to warn me that there was a fire nearby and we might encounter delays on the highway and have to go in escorted fashion. So I got online, looking for information. What I found was a fire that was supposedly contained, but road conditions said that the highway was closed and we should take alternate routes. Somehow the two things did not go together.
I wondered if we should even be going, but my husband did not seem unduly concerned about the fire. I was quite concerned about the road closure, since there is basically only one way in. I did find another road on the map, but with mountain roads, one never knows what kind of conditions you will be dealing with. I do have 4WD, but it’s really easy to get lost. If the road is impassable or you get stuck, there is no cell reception, so I wondered if the alternate route was even possible. In the morning though, the highway was reported to be back to escorting cars, with occasional closures, so off we went.
Well, it turns out, the fire information I had found was not the right fire. When we got up there the road was crawling with fire crews and the underbrush was smoldering. There was a lot of smoke along with thunderclouds, so it was very eerie. We got there okay, and the guys had the cabin closed up because of the smoke, so it was stuffy. Obviously there would not be much hiking this trip.
The next day was clearer, with fewer overflying aircraft, which is a good sign. However we were getting calls from other cabin owners concerned that the fire was getting closer. Meanwhile, my husband had brought up his old car and it was seriously overheating. I convinced him to have it looked at, instead of just hoping it would make it home. So off he went with his friend following, to Sonora, where they had to leave it overnight before it could be looked at. While they were gone, we had several calls that spooked us, so we were packed up, assuming we might have to evacuate at any time.
When the guys came back though, they called the fire information number. The fire was not considered an imminent threat to our side of the highway, so we stayed. The next day, we again packed up, but when the guys went back for the car, which could not be repaired by the place they had taken it, it proceeded to blow the engine completely when they tried to come back to the cabin. So there was yet another odyssey, while they followed a tow truck all over the place and paid for over the limit mileage, to take it to the dealership. My daughter and I had planned to leave in the late afternoon, because the whole thing was crazy, but I wanted to get everything figured out with my husband. There was relatively little smoke that day, and we did hike to some of our favorite spots, down the road to walk a labyrinth and just around the property. I had dinner in the crock pot and also made some cookies to use up some of the food supplies. By the time the guys came back, I felt it was better to stay overnight again, which put us leaving on our original schedule.
Because we were now down one car, we had to figure out how to fit everyone and everything in. I would be taking both dogs, which was a little tight. On the way up I had all the luggage on the seat anyway. That would make it tight to fit another person in, and I had not brought the roof pack. So my husband decided to take the ice chest that I couldn’t manage and go home with his friend, rent a car and return from there the next day. The guys would wait to hear from the car dealership about what could be done for the old car before they left the cabin.
Well, this dealership was able to order in a used engine for the car and install it within the week, so my husband was already making plans to go back up. Rental cars are cheaper by the week with a return than just going one way. An additional complication came up when we got home. It seems an uncle of his had died while we were gone and the service would be on the following weekend. That complicated things quite a bit but we worked things out and he went to the service, stayed again with his friend, dropped the rental and picked up the old car, even making it home in time for a 50th anniversary celebration we had planned to attend.
So, all’s well that ends well, as Shakespeare would say. Maybe in the future we will be able to laugh about it all. But it was an anxious time, and expensive as well. I keep wondering why, when we had that car in for servicing over and over, no one figured out what the problem was until it was too late to fix it. Hopefully next year will be better! I have yet to figure out if there should have been any lessons in the experience. If I figure any out, perhaps I will add them as comments.