What just happened? I remember leaving work an hour early and getting calls as I rushed to get in the truck and leave...
I was driving the 40 and K was driving the 80. We headed north, stopping to wait for Nico in his D90 that was doing 35mph or so up the steeper grades. We got gas again before Fort Tuthill/OVEX. I definitely remember saying hello to a lot of people and looking for a campsite. Was that Mtdrift? I know that truck!
Yes, it was. Is that Jon? Is that Nena, is that ... I can’t remember. Time for a beer and to try not to feel too bad for not being here all week to work and prepare the site with the rest of the guys and gals. Hey guys, how bad was prep? (GUILTY FEELINGS!!!!) Drop by Dennis’s booth, check in to see how it’s going. Stop by more booths, say hello. One more beer... I can feel sleep coming on.
Up and at it, eat some breakfast, get out to the big sandy racetrack to start preparing for class. Moving sand around, scrounging for gear to use as examples. Trying to make sure I know where my classes are. Everything’s moved, everything’s changed. Phone’s ringing. Texts and calls coming in from friends. “Where are you? When is your class? Can I get a free pass to camp or enter? Come by my camp, it’s next to the BIG truck. Where are you? We’re looking for you.” Tons of folks are trying to drop in and say hello. Must reply to them all at once. Create big text, send “sorry, at driving course, drop by, teaching all day.”
Okay, time for class... blur.
Time for lunch. Shove food in face and bring food down to the rest of the guys. Drop by and check on leather-worker buddy Dennis. Stop by FrontRunner, stop by Sierra Exp, stop by more, get stopped everywhere you walk. Hello! Hello you! Hello you!
Feet hurt. Classes almost done, hang in there. Meet more people. Drive to happy hour. Voice is scratchy already. Want to sleep. STAY AWAKE YOU IDIOT, you only see these people twice a year. Stay awake! More texts, “where are you. We were looking for you... thanks a lot. We saw you drive by us.”
WAKE UP. That can’t have been the whole night. What is that light... shit, the sun.... Time to get moving. Don’t miss class. Don’t let em down. Go go. Check on Dennis. Say hello to friends. “Sorry, I didn’t drop by. Sorry I didn’t make it back by last night. Will later. Talk to you later. Later, for sure. Okay. Later on today. Promise.”
Day done. Feet sorta hurt, but sorta numb. Beer, happy hour. Going to Camel Trophy presentation and chatting about fun stuff! Cool, let’s go. Stop by to see Dennis. See another person. and another.... and another... “No, let’s go to bed. No presentation, let’s just sneak to bed. Okay? Good, quietly go to bed.”
Wake up! Wind, cold. No voice. Try to yell over the wind in class. So much dust. Dizzy. Eat more, drink more coffee. Shaking after the second thermos of coffee. Have to talk coherently on a panel. See more people on the way there. See in-laws. Old co-workers. Old bosses. Try to form words at the roundtable. Call from buddy, “Tell Alison I won’t make my class. In the ER with Alergic reaction!” Okay, will do. “Don’t leave without dropping by Tim!” Okay, for sure. Will do.
One more 2 hour class. Don’t want to stand. Don’t want to talk. Okay, here we go. Other instructor insists “Always have a set of offroad tires and specific on road tires. Always. No exceptions. Never drive while using right foot to brake, ever again. Only left foot brake from here on through life!!” So many definitive statements. Try to say things like “In a perfect world yes, but I know you can’t all afford that or have the time for that. No, it’s not deadly to use offroad tires on the road.” Gotta undo what he is doing to them.
“Never drive on the road with your offroad tires... They are compromised. Never! Do you want to kill your family???”
“Well, I disagree with him, but You can all understand his point. It’s okay, you won’t die. It’s okay, but just be careful after offroading in case tires are damaged”
“Never air down your tires. I NEVER did and I NEVER get flats and those that aired down had all sorts of issues. It’s stupid, NO NEED.”
Oh shit oh shit. Come on man, that was 30 years ago. When was the last time you offroaded, at all? Hmmm, what do I say to combat this. Talk to each student one on one. “Yah, he has some kernals of truth and he likes to do things the challenging way. It’s OKAY, It’s OKAY, you will be fine if you air down. Okay? It’s okay.”
“You have the best job, you’re so lucky.” -40th time I’ve heard that this weekend.
Done. I can already see the sun getting low in the sky. More texts from friends. So many good friends. Each one drops by and I try to spend time. So many good people, but no more time or energy to talk. Eat food, say goodbyes. We must escape.
Leave, eyes down. I want to say goodbye to everyone, but can’t. You know how that goes. It will be midnight before you leave. GO GO !
We start on our way. Drive for a while. Slow lane. Me in the 40, K in the 80. Stop for gas. Pumps all out of service. Let’s go across town to a station further from the highway. Okay...
Phone rings... it’s K... wait, what? “Car wont start. Goose wont start!”
Shit. Drive back to her. Pop hood, jump start.... nope... Fuck it. Remove low voltage disconnect. Maybe it’s toast. Re wire to battery. Starts... phew. Let’s go get gas.
Texts flooding in from friends.
“Been stuck on the I-17 for 1.5 hours so far. GET OFF. ADOT Says it’s closed for the night. Take another way home!”
“At standstill on the freeway. This sucks.”
“Get off the I-17 it’s closed!”
Oh no, I have to be at work at 6am. Come on.
Shit... Cops force us off the freeway 40 miles back from accident.... 75 miles from town or so. I think I know a dirt connector. Drive through community. Hit dirt. From Arcosanti to Cordes Junction, to Bloody Basin exits. Each time we cross under the freeway it’s packed with cars. Engines off. People out of their cars.
“Shit, not tonight. I am barely awake. SHIT”
Bloody basin to Bumble Bee exit. More cars now on dirt roads. Dammit, they found these roads on google. “Shit. Let my by slow car, let us by!”
“Wait, did K just flash the high beams? What was that? Oh no, they just dimmed and went out for a sec. What is going on. Shoddy parking lot wiring job doesn’t like these bumps... shit.”
“headlights are out. completely out...”
Call K. You okay? Follow me. We’ll slow down. Follow my line. Okay? No time to fix now. Just go slow.
Behind a line of cars. Nissan Altima? On maggie may mine road? Shit! A 2wd rav4 is stuck. Walk past 10 cars to get to him. Spot him to back down the road. Tell him to turn around and get out of here. Line starts moving again.
SHit, more waiting at a hill. Is that a Harley??? Shit, a fucking Harley bagger is on this road. SO many idiots, so many. He has his stereo blasting country. No helmet on...
Flash forward to thoughts of having to take him to the hospital. Can I stay awake that long? Don’t need to! He made it? He mad that fucking hill on a Harley. Champion! Idiot, but today he’s a champ.
We keep moving.
Start texting friends: “I can see the accident on the highway. They are letting some cars by it, but very slowly. Not open, but moving. Take dirt if you can!! ..........Okay We just hit pavement. Take the bypass if you can!”
We’ve passed every friend, except for one, who left hours before us. I guess that’s good, but it’s been hours. SO tired. Shit, headlights on Goose. Shit.
Wait, no way. They came back on! Right as we hit pavement. No way, what are the chances. Thanks Goose, you always save us. Woohoo, home, home come on. It’s so late, HOME. 7 miles from home... headlights go out on Goose. We should stop...
I call K. Drive slow, keep the marker lights on. You okay? You alright with this? Just keep driving, okay.
Get off at our exit. See a cop car. No, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. He lets us pass with me in the lead and goose almost totally blacked out behind me.
Park in the driveway. HOME. Air down Gooses’ tires to 10psi so he can fit in the garage. Grab a beer from the fridge. Lay down... don’t finish beer. sleeeeeep.
3 hours later. Alarm.
...shit... check emails to tell boss I am not coming in.... see emails and emergencies waiting for me to fix. SHIT.
Get up, go into office.
Sit on phone, send emails. make calls.
Now it’s been 2 hours. It’s 8:12AM AZ time. Enough of the important stuff is taken care of. WTF just happened over the last 5 days. Did this really happen?
Haha. Holy shit. I’d better write this down to remember, it’s gonna suck to read, but still. Log into Overland.