Back in August we drove to Humboldt County, which is on the northern California coast where we want to move. We rented a little car, a Kia, because our pickups aren't getting any younger and they aren't great on mileage, and this is a small expense compared to new tires and whatnot.
It's a 3 1/2 hour drive there over four mountains, much of it very pretty. Gary was driving. I was in charge of the tunes. We were about 9 miles from our destination when I saw a deer on the left side of the highway. I said, "There's a deer." Gary said, "Yeah," in the same tone he might have used if I had said, " I have a dentist appointment next Tuesday."
I now know that I should have appended "SO SLOW THE FUCK DOWN."
The deer continued across the highway and we continued driving, and it really was like in slow motion except everything happened fast. The deer ran in front of the car. I heard and felt the impact and then I saw the deer fly upside down in the air, which I had never seen before and it was surreal, I'll tell you. And then the deer wasn't there and we were still driving. Gary didn't seem to know what to do.
"Pull over," I said, and he did.
We got out and looked at the damage - the front end was crumpled and there was deer fur on the hood, which was bent, and the headlight was broken. I looked back toward where the deer might be. It was in the ditch along the highway trying to stand up and failing, and I knew this was not going to end well for the deer, but I didn't know how to put the deer out of its misery. I do not have a gun and we didn't have a big knife.
At the same time, I saw a car pull over on the other side of the road. A beautiful young woman wearing hippie clothing - that's the only way I can describe it; if you visit Humboldt County you see many people wearing similar gauzy ethereal clothes - got out and asked if we were okay. She had been behind us and seen the whole thing. She had a smartphone in her hand and had the highway patrol on speed dial, which amazed us. "My dad's a highway patrolman," she said, which amazed us even further.
In about four minutes a highway patrolman arrived, which was even more amazing. We explained what happened, which I guess he could see, and he went over and located the deer and dispatched it to deer heaven. He said he'd hit four or five of them himself so it didn't bother him.
We asked him where the nearest Enterprise Car Rental office was and he thought there was one at the airport, so we headed that way. We drove slowly because we were afraid the hood might fly up and also because we could hear bits of broken car falling off along the way.
When we got to the airport it turned out there was no Enterprise Car Rental there, that the nearest one was in Arcata, about 8 miles away, so we headed down there, and dang me if it wasn't exactly where we had been told it was (I am skeptical of the directions people give us). When we walked up to the little office I saw a sign that said CLOSED 12-1 FOR LUNCH and it was then about 12:10. I screeched, "YOU FUCKING BETTER NOT BE CLOSED FOR LUNCH" before I realized their window was open and there was indeed someone in there working, after which I proceeded quietly and sheepishly.
Well, Enterprise exceeded all our expectations, and here is where I tell you that when you rent a car, ALWAYS BUY THE COLLISION INSURANCE. Yes, I know they ("they," whoever "they" is) that your own car insurance will cover you and so will the credit card you rented the car with. But what "they" don't tell you is that the collision insurance means they will not be filing a claim with your insurance company and they won't be extracting your deductible from you on the spot and you will not be filling out piles of paperwork and having to deal with your insurance company and/ore credit card company.
It's like the collision never happened. THE BEST THIRTY DOLLARS EVER SPENT.
Instead, they found us a car and they washed it and cleaned it and handed it over to us, and that was that. Within an hour, we were on our way.
Other than that we had a nice weekend. Gary dropped his Mac laptop off at a repair shop and we had lunch and we drove around looking at property. While walking around, we saw an odd building a few blocks away that Gary was curious about, so we walked over to it.
What would you think it was? We had no idea. But as we walked back toward the center of town, we spied a man through an open window, and we got his attention and asked him. He said powdered milk had been made there; in some fashion that I have now forgotten, the milk was poured from the top of the building and (I think) heated so that it turned to powder as it fell. He sounded like he knew what he was talking about. In fact, he had a somewhat affected but lyrical way of speaking, and we wound up talking with him about half an hour. His name, he said, was Federici - just Federici - and he was an artist. Eventually we went into his studio and he really WAS an artist. He made these unusual standing scultptures from cured willow bark with engravings on each piece.
A guy I went to high school with met us at a brewpub that evening, and we had a fine time chatting. He had lots of good information for us and he and Gary got along well, which is always a nice thing.
And later Gary said, "I thought the deer would wait until we went by." And I wisely said nothing.
He drove more slowly on the drive home.
So that was back in August. And in the month since then - as a previous post says - we found out the third person on this house's title died, meaning we can sell it. So we got in touch with the realtor who sold my house and she came and took a look around and made some suggestions (i.e. "How do you feel about cutting down this dead tree?").
We have a neighbor who is very interested in buying this house but he had a bankruptcy a few years ago. But we have since learned that if that was discharged over four years ago, it won't affect him getting a loan. Now I just need Gary to tactfully approach him about this.
On September 8 we drove up to Oregon to the Britt Music Festival to see Stephen Stills and Judy Collins. This time I rented the car and yes I got the extra insurance.
Back at that time this area was choking with smoke from many forest fires, as well as oppressive heat, and for some reason on September 8 the smoke cleared out and the heat went down to a tolerable level. When we got to Jacksonville (the town the festival is in), we were told that it had been so awful that some of the festival had been canceled that week due to unhealthy air conditions, but that this was the first decent day in a few weeks.
We walked around the town, which is lovely and old-fashioned and charming, and went to the show that night, which was fun and I am glad we went because neither performer is getting any younger and they'll likely never tour together again.
The next day we drove back toward Humboldt County. It was very foggy along much of the road and there was a lot of road construction, so it took much longer than we had expected, but we weren't in a terrible hurry. We picked up Gary's computer - which was exorbitantly expensive to repair - and had a nice lunch and then checked in at an AirB&B. It was really just a room rented out by some graduate students but the price was right so we couldn't kick too much.
I had made contact with a woman I used to work for who now lives in the area, and we went to visit her and her husband. Really nice people. They also gave us loads of advice and even made circles on a map of the areas they thought we might focus on when looking for a house, which was enormously helpful.
The next day we drove home and we drove through an area that had just been burned by a wildfire. The destruction was terrible to see.
Today I ran into a woman I haven't seen in a year or more. She lives in my old hometown. After exchanging pleasantries, I asked if she had driven past my old house and what it was like.
"Well, it isn't improving the neighborhood," she said. "Old cars all over the place."
That's exactly what I was afraid of. The new owners of my old house are trashing it.