Sunday, April 01, 2007

Stranded in Paradise
The Kindness of Strangers

So it's Spring Break (finally). We spent all day and all night Friday frantically cleaning the house so it would be under control when we got back, then yesterday we threw skis, climbing gear, and a suitcase into the van and left for Utah.

The plan was this: lunch at Irmita's in St. George, then camping just outside Escalante and getting up early to hike and fish on the way to Calf Creek Falls. We stopped in St. George to catch a movie (Blades of Glory--good mindless fun surrounded by mindless Mormon teeny-boppers), then headed east through Zion and towards Bryce Canyon. I crawled back to the bed a little after 9, then was awakened by T yelling "fuck!" then being thrown forward off the bed and onto the floor.

T had come up over a hill and met up with a huge buck, just standing in the road like a moron. When he told me what had happened, I, of course, was picturing the bloody, mangled corpse of a deer jammed up into the front of the car, perhaps dangling in chunks from the grille, and it took a few moments before I was brave enough to go survey the damage.

One headlight was out. The grille had been shattered, and something, car part or deer part, was stuck in the fan, resulting in a loud thwapthwapthwapthwap from the engine.

A white van pulled over to help within about three minutes of the accident. The driver, an older woman who had been on the road since 3a.m., offered to drive or escort us to town. While she was offering her assistance, her husband stumbled out of the passenger door and threw up onto the side of the road. They, apparently, were having some of their own problems.

We made it to Mt. Caramel Junction, less of an actual town than an assortment of 2 gas stations and a hotel, at top speeds of 20 mph, that thwapthwapthwapthwapthwap sound drumming in our ears. Naturally, everything was closed except the hotel lobby. The night guy gave us the name of a guy with a garage in the next town who might or might not work on Sundays, as well as directions to his house.

This morning, we decided to forgo the cold cereal breakfast we'd bought earlier and do a real meal at the hotel. T had his computer out and was searching for mechanics in and around the area, or, at the very least, a tow company to get us back to St. George or Cedar City, when a guy named Ed from the golf shop showed up. He offered to call a couple of people he knew and see what he could find. He made us mochas from the espresso cart and, in the end, called his own mechanic to come down and take a look at the van. "While you're waiting," he said, "there's a black Samurai in the lot with the keys still in it. Take it down the road a ways until you see a cave. While my guy is working on your car, at least you'll have something to do." He even offered to run our credit cards at the hotel so we could pay the guy, since all the cash we have is probably not enough.

All in all, it is probably the nicest thing that has ever happened to me. If we ever make it out of Mt. Caramel Junction, we'll have Ed to thank for it.


Elaine said...

I found it quite intriguing to see the difference in how you and Tyson describe the same event... the different details you each selected to highlight... the different adjectives... so on. What I am just dying to know that neither of you mention, is what happened to the sleeping Erin when Tyson hit the deer. Were tossed out of the back seat onto the floor? Did you awaken with a start in utter confusion? Were bounced upright? I have an incomplete visual, and it is driving me nuts.

Erin said...

I did what I always do when faced with a crisis: sit really, really still and hope no one will notice me and yell at me for being in the way.

Elaine said...

I find a dark closet behind the clothes works best.