Title: An adventure for the record books...
Description: wacky and very true
Shelley bob - July 25, 2012 05:11 PM (GMT)
On Sun. I decided that I was going to take my mom's prius (important to the story later) on a trip from the bay area over to where my family roots come from in the heart of the central valley. It's about a 2 hr trip. I had a great day doing research and visiting old pioneer graves sites and getting family history info. It was 100* and so I was pretty careful to drink alot and take some extra HC. It was later than I had planned on when I started back to my folks house so I called my mom. She told me that there is a quicker way to get home from where I was and its called Pacheco Pass. So I stopped at a nearby gas station and asked for directions to Pacheco Pass. Well the guy spoke fairly good english, especially for the melting pot of USA, and he told me how to get there. It was very close and quite simple to understand what he said. I headed off with 3 bars of gas (3 gallons in a prius) to the short cut that would save me time. It was an absolutely beautiful canyon drive. It was a very narrow road with single lane bridges, abandoned homes/ranches from the 20's or 30's, no power lines, cell towers or telephone lines..... I felt like I was seeing the land just as it was when my ancestors pioneered and settled CA. Lovely. The canyon got much narrower and steeper and seemed to be endless as the evening began to set in. I saw herds of elk and deer, loads of jack rabbits (big like a med. sized dog) and other scurrying critters. It had now been over an hour and it was getting dark and yet I was still in this endless canyon "short cut". I started to get worried when I had to start playing "dodge the giant jack rabbits in the dark" and the canyon was pitch black and the "windy" road had become hairpin turn after hairpin turn and steep to the point where I couldn't go faster than 15-25 mph. I tried to get cell service but of course there was none. I continued on and came to a T in the road that had a sign.... 38 more miles to San Jose (where I wanted to go) and 42 to a city far to the north. I figured I had already traveled somewhere around 40 miles so I knew I had to continue on rather than turn around. Even though prius cars get something like 40 mpg during regular driving I was getting very concerned because this mountainous very slow going consumes lots of gas even for a hybrid. I began to get really tense and worried as the road became even WORSE than the what I had been on already. I knew I was in trouble but couldn't figure out what I could do to fix it. I started to have to dodge deer, a bobcat and owls screaming down the road capturing the scurrying little critters on the road in addition to playing dodge the giant jack rabbits. I look down and see that there is only one bar of gas....which means 1 gallon. Now I don't know how long its been on 1 gallon but I do know that even prius' can run out of gas. I have no been in this canyon for over 2 hours and still no end in sight.....and believe it or not the roads got even more windy....think goat switch back trails up a mountain side. Finally I come out on top of this mountain and there is this HUGE observatory... the kind where you can see deep, deep into space and off in the distance LIGHTS (0) blessed civilization! I was so excited up until I noticed a huge see of utter black still between me and those blessed lights. I tried and was able to get some spotty cell service by the observatory (which of course was vacant as it was a Sun. night) I called Phillip in CA because he thinks clearer than my mom and can use the internet to search things etc... I told him my situation and he was able to figure out where I was and the big trouble I was in.... I told him if he hadn't heard from me in an hour to call the highway patrol and tell them where I am and to send help. Oh and BTW I have yet to see a single other vehicle on this road. So I continue on hoping and praying that the fuel holds out. I go down the other side of the mountain and am excited that I am heading down and will be out soon...but no such luck....the road begins to climb AGAIN! and I start to cry. After another hour in the car I began to notice a few more houses, like summer cabin type houses but no lights are on....but at least civilization has made it this far. I then come around a very, very tight hairpin turn and bam! there is a tree completely across the road!! I had no idea what I could do! I didn't want to get out of the car because there were bobcats about and who knows what other wild creatures and if a car happened to come around that hairpin turn they would for sure hit me because it is totally a blind curve. I knew I would never be able to go back the other way as I for sure run out of gas, I couldn't stay here in the roadway I would have to back down the road and maybe find a place to sleep by the side of the road. Just then I saw off in the distance car headlights that were winking in and out. As I watch I can begin to tell that they are coming closer. A griseled old guy gets out of a pickup truck on the other side of the tree and I can see that he is some type of maintenance worker ^db^ I still don't want to get out of the car but I roll down my window and I tell him my urgent gas situation etc... he tells me he is going to pull the top of the tree back as far as he can since the top of the fallen tree is in my lane, and I can drive slowly through the remaining branches to get to the other side. Amazingly it works! My guardian ^A^ ^A^ were certainly looking out for me by sending the maintanence man to the canyon when I needed him and also I still have one bar of gas. About 1/2 an hour later I come out of the canyon finally! Phillip calls first thing and is so worried about me....I am more worried about finding the nearest gas station (which actually wasn't all that easy) after gassing up I made it home in just under an hour. When I got home the first thing I did was look up on google earth where in the world this man had sent me! I couldn't believe there was some place that uninhabited in the very populous state of CA. So if you want to see where I traveled go to google earth and type in Del Puerto Canyon Rd. and start at I-5 and follow it all the way over to San Jose. I was in that canyon for over 3 hours! Thankfully I had plenty of HC with me and lots of water but I still was completely drained the next day.
And just to catch you up on my dad, he will be in rehab another 2 weeks but may not be able to come home at that time. He is still confused although better than he was....but the biggest problem is that his balance is way off and he keeps falling to the right. So time will tell I guess. But his primary care doc told me the last time I saw him that he credited me with helping him the most in that I suggested he be put back on the dex and just kept there for the duration of his life. Who cares if his adrenals atrophy at this point? It helps him and he doesn't get headaches while on it.
Well if you are still reading I have to ask you why???? hee hee just kidding. But it was quite the adventure. Today I am doing nothing but resting and resting some more.
NJO - July 25, 2012 07:12 PM (GMT)
Wow! I looked it up on google maps and I saw the windy, switch-back turns...and it looked a long way through there! Glad you got through and back before having to sleep beside the road.
Glad your dad responds to the dex. Hope the rehab helps as well...I agree with you, what harm is it if his adrenals atrophy when his age and in his condition...need to make him feel as best he can. Glad you were able to go out to be with them and talk to the doctors. (grh)
KimH - July 25, 2012 11:20 PM (GMT)
I want to see giant jack rabbits.
Wanda - July 26, 2012 04:47 PM (GMT)
WOW Shelley......what a scary experience!!!! I was nervouse reading it. Take the long way next time!! :)
Joan - July 26, 2012 05:52 PM (GMT)
How scary, Shelley! And fun if you can call it that. I would have liked the excitement of seeing all the neat stuff you did, but not the possibility of running out of gas. Write a book!!! :-)
Did you find good info at the cemetery? Was it worth the trip or will you do the research online next time? Fun to see the graves in person, though.... I agree. AND to leave a flower.
Wanda - July 28, 2012 12:44 AM (GMT)
Have you recovered Shelley? :wub:
Maureen - July 28, 2012 11:30 PM (GMT)
I am always terrified of running out of gas...or my car breaking down when I am out and about alone. I would have been a complete wreck if that happened to me. I'm glad you made it home!!!!!!!!!!!! Whew...what a trip!