Date: Sat, 15 Apr
1995 20:33:15 MST
Some recipients have seen part of this before....or heard it...apologies for duplication. In late March we went to Portland for a week and AQ did her thing at a bunch of meetings for HP Education folks, including engineering ed, continuing ed, etc. I stayed in the motel and sent out lotsa postcards to folks and also did a little antiquing, mainly coming home with a big stack of wonderful old postcards. Trip was fun but pretty tiring. Weather was fairly good except for a bit of snow on the Blues, both coming and going. The Airport Sheraton was pretty nice and comfy and I enjoyed goofing off.
Then, after a year on the market, we got an offer for our cabin in the mountains...at last....we counteroffered and agreed to carry the paper at 9.5 with their significant down payment. Still has to get the water officially blessed for health (not likely a problem...the iron in it doesn't matter for that purpose) and septic blessed too, but also not a big deal. That made us feel good since we dont' get there much anymore due to other travels, and can put the money into something that will do better for us towards retirement.
We were home the next week and gail spent it with a cold, but went to work though she felt pretty crappy. Then the next week on Tuesday we drove up to Lewiston Idaho on way to Spokane. Stayed there that nite and in morning went on to Moscow to have breakfast with Cinda. She'd burned her right hand pretty badly the Saturday nite before and was in considerable pain, especially since she'd stopped the morphine and other painkillers that day. As of now she is still bandaged, and the worst burns have quite a way to go yet, but her pain is reduced and she's able to use it a bit. We also took her an overstuffed chair and a big old microwave (an actual Radar Range) for her apartment. They both came from the cabin. Fortunately we were in the 4Runner to have room for all of it.
We then went on north to Post Falls and stopped at the Outlet Mall. We have one in Boise, but the one there is bigger and better...including a store that sells stuff from .oz, and I got a great hat....made of rabbit fur felt.. black and comfy and wonderful. Not cheap, but worth the Cnote. Then on towards Spokane and stopped at the HP site there where we visited their library, continuing ed center, etc. And then into Spokane for antiquing. Amethyst Queen found a crock, some cobblers tools,a nd other treasures, and I got a few postcards.
Wed nite and Thurs were pretty routine library conference...a joint meeting of Wash Libr Assn and Idaho Libr Assn. The highlight for Gail on Thurs nite was the dinner speaker....the author of Breaking Blue....a book about the guy who broke a fifty year old murder case in Ponderay County WA, norht of Spokane. It is one of the best true crime books she has ever read....and she was even MORE thrilled to meet the sheriff who did the work on it...at great personal sacrifice (losing job, wife, etc, in process). Almost all she reads is true crime and she was really stunned on this one.
Friday Carol Oakes and I did our "WWW for Libraries" show to an overflow crowd of about 400, and it went REALLY well....we were thrilled. Carol is the author of "Carol's page for reference librarians" a really great set of tools. http://cyclops.idbsu.edu/carol.htm We do the show again in August up in Whistler BC at Pacific NW Libr Assn. Another trip to look forward to, esp. since Gail has never been to BC. Friday's speaker was another wonderful one, Ivan Doig. If you haven't read his books about Montana and other parts of the NW, do it. You'll never read novels closer to poetry. Great stuff.
Sat (now a week ago) we headed south and meandered across the Palouse buying a few antiques and enjoying the sprouting wheat, still brown fields, and little towns. We stopped in Moscow again for lunch with Cinda, who was still pretty bandaged, but as always for a college student even happier to get a free meal than to see Dad and stepmom. o-) More antiquing as we continued on south on 95, and we saw about every kind of weather that exists....rain, snow, sleet, bright sun, high wind, drizzle, etc. Each burst lasted about ten minutes in widely varying orders. The trip is about 300 miles, and does vary between 800 and 5400 feet in elevation, adding to the variety. More antiques, including more cobblers tools, pottery, etc. Even some postcards for me.
We were south of Cascade when it got dark, and then on south of Smiths Ferry, in the Payette River Canyon...about 9pm. Two line highway, no traffic except a car the other way every few minutes, light rain/snow mix, road wet. To the right is no ditch, just cliff. To the left with no shoulder is the Payette River, about 30 feet below roadbed. It is VERY high and VERY fast. Even the expert kayakers don't run it this time of year, though they do most of the year. If you go in you're not likely to be found for a good long time...assuming anyone even knows you've gone in.
Since this is "rock season" due to runoff and freeze-thaw cycles a couple times a day, I was running just under the limit of 55. Then in front of me was a rock....a BIG rock....the size of a BIG picnic cooler....about 2 feet by 2 feet by 18 inches high....I hit the brakes hard....but didn't want to skid....switched lanes....then saw a similar rock in the middle of the OTHER lane too....so I kept on braking and snapped back into my lane.... then it was a classic "oh shit" time....because RIGHT in front of me was a third identical rock....there was NO time to do anything except keep on braking...and to aim to go over it dead center....because if I'd hit it with right front (only other option in that split second) we would have rolled & been in the river...and that would have been that....even if we had survived going into the river....we'd have never made it out alive. This rock was actually closer to us when seen than the one in the other lane....thus no time..... We DID go over it dead center....and carried on over it with a monstrous jolt and bounce....it was very hard to keep it going halfway straight and out of the mountain and the river....even though was down to 35-40 mph when hit it. By the time I got it stopped the engine was squealing so shut it off, put on flashers, checked to see that Gail was also ok. We were wearing seat belts, of course. My new hat was kinda flattened from hitting the roof, but has recovered. We were both shaken up but unhurt.
We got out into the rain/snow (light only, thank goodness) and all was pitch dark except the headlights and emergency flashers. The body of the truck looked perfect....right rear tire was flat, cut on inside by just nicking the rock....but we knew it was VERY sick. I went to try to move the closest rock (the one in other lane) but couldn't. It was just too big. As was trying saw a guy headed north for me and the rock and flagged hiim down. He put on flashers and between us both we were barely able to get these three monster rocks off the road. They were all basically right angular, so wouldn't roll, so it was push it up on edge, push up on next edge, etc, one little bit at a time. And all three were smack dab in the middle of the lanes, 2 in mine, one in his.
About this time a flashing light came along...the county dump truck with plow on front....ready to plow the rocks....he'd been through an hour before and removed several others. He radioed in to the sheriff up in Cascade and the sheriff headed out, as did a flatbed towtruck. About 45 minutes later they arrived.
Several other folks did stop and offer assistance.... and several didn't. But not much traffic at all. While he was there the dumptruck guy did shovel a bunch of sand on all the oil rivers we'd left on the road. From looking under the truck we knew it was in bad shape...and also from finding the skid plate (piece of 1/8 inch steel held on with four monster bolts, to protect the oil pan) in the road....it was basically turned inside out, bowl shaped in the opposite direction. Ripped directly off the bolts. Sheriff arrived and wrote up report, then the towtruck. He winched it up onto the flatbed...was definitely not towable with front steering trashed and right rear flat.
The tow into Boise (about 50 miles) was $265, and he dropped truck at Toyota dealer and us at a Circle K across the street. A pretty quick $20 cab ride and we were home after midnite. Sunday I borrowed my boss's pickup and went across town to the Toyota dealer so we could get all our luggage, antiques, etc. We stripped every thing out of it in case it was totalled. We still haven't heard, as Toyota and State Farm are still fussing about whether it is totalled. SF wants to use used parts...Toyota doesn't...and I don't....so we shall see.
Meanwhile we've tried to get our brains back in order, though our bodies are fine. We've looked at Toyota Camrys since we've sold cabin and don't need 4wd too much anymore. We want something comfy for long road trips but with halfway decent mileage and good quality. The Camry seems to fit that. What happens and when will depend on insurance, etc. Meanwhile Gail is driving a little Geo Metro that the insurance covers. It does the job fine, no complaints. So....we're thankful to be alive...and unhurt....and thankful for our other blessings.
Tomorrow our grandkids will come over and all of us (including Chris and Laura, their parents) will go to church and have brunch here afterwards....partly for Easter, partly for Laura's birthday. Guess that is enough news for one message.
o-) hugs and love
How can one fool make another wise? 208-385-1235 Kansas, "No One Together," 1979