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The trip to the Sequoias was beautiful. As we rose in altitude, the already mild temperatures grew cooler, the air thinner, more pure and the scenery more lush, more verdant.
We had never been to the Sequoias before, but Conni, our exchange student, had. She traveled to the US with her family last summer and they camped up in the mountains between Sequoia and Yosemite National Park. She was our tour guide and we took a small hike around the grove where General Sherman stands.
We breathed in the cool air, while the snow blanketing the ground was slowly melting. The temperatures were around 45 or 50 degrees and the snow in the high branches slowly fell from its perches softly among us. We stopped along the road up the treeline to take pictures near Moro Rock and see the sites. There were views everywhere. Shannon, who gets car sick on occasion, especially on windy mountain roads, rode up front and did fine.
Pay no attention to the date stamp. My dad has not set his camera properly, so the date stamp has no meaning.
We spent the day among giants, watched a short National Park Service film on bears at the visitor center and after hiking, watching, spending the day in awe-we headed down the hill. Our first stop was to return the chains we had to rent because the government says so–and for which we paid $75. For rental. I don’t want to talk about it–mainly because the cost of it now seems trivial by comparison.
We met my dad and step-mom for dinner in Tulare at the Black Bear Diner and it was a nice end to the brief interlude. Into the car again for the roughly 3-hour drive home. It was around 6 p.m. when we headed south on Highway 99. But about 10 minutes into the drive, the check engine light came on.
I won’t belabor the point–within just a few minutes of the check engine light, the dashboard lit up like a Christmas tree. And then the car stopped. There was nothing. Breaks worked, steering was no longer power steering, but it got me to the side of the road. 6:30 p.m, Sunday night–five of us stranded on Highway 99 in Pixley, Calif.
Cell phone. Triple A. Flat bed tow truck within 20 minutes. We rode in the car as he drove us back to Visalia where there is a Hyundai dealer. Called dad, who lives in the town-he met us there. We transferred gear to my step-sister’s car–went back to the hotel.
Missed school Monday. Rented a car and drove home. Today, one week later, we picked up the car. An oil gasket cover leaked oil onto the alternator-killed it. So…
$182 for towing.
$200 for two hotel rooms.
$173 for one-way rental mini-van.
$130 for rental car at home from Monday through Friday.
$740 car repair.
Two tank fulls of gas to drive up and meet dad above Bakersfield to pick the car up.
And now home. Shannon is sick this weekend–a fever, probably a virus–something like that. Long day. Long weekend.
Nothing poetic about it.
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