Tow Truck Drivers
Mark and I packed the Ark and headed for Roseburg this weekend. We have been through the city, about two hours south of here, several times, looking for food on Sunday afternoon and have always been disappointed. But, Mark thought we could move out of the rain clouds blanketing the valley and find some new trails—which we did. We had an amazing hike along the ridgeline of an old ranch, now managed by the BLM and found a small campground by the Umpqua River for the night. As always, I chatted with strangers in the campground; we all agreed that the occasional downpours which infinitely preferable to last summer’s drought. After an excellent night listening to rain on the roof of the Ark, we headed further into the mountains to hike waterfalls.
Then the transmission felt funny. We stopped at a small store, Mark went in for juice, and I tried to move the gears into first—but... We were stuck in second gear. I turned the engine on, eased the clutch to see if it would budge, but no. Whacked it. No luck. Slipped backwards a bit. Nothing. It is not uncommon for the Ark to break down far from home; we only drive long distances. We have broken down all over the country. In fact, when we stopped in Cottage Grove on Friday morning, I felt a bit smug that the transmission was working. It has died not once, but twice, in Cottage Grove. Mark called AAA. Half an hour later, the tow truck was hitching up the Ark. By then, I had it in neutral.
“So,” he asked, “what do you want to do? I’m towing you to the only place that’s open, but they don’t do transmissions. There’s a place down the street that does, but they are closed until Monday.”
“Great,” I muttered. “Any ideas?”
“Well,” the driver considered the options. “You can drive it slowly to the other place on Monday. It’s only two lights away. Or…you can rent a U-Haul and a trailer and bring it home.”
“Could you take it home?” Mark asked.
“AAA only goes a hundred miles…”
We pulled up to the one open shop in Roseburg. The mechanic on duty laughed. “We can’t fix that! Maybe a U-haul home?”
Our driver looked at us. He did not drop the Ark on the streets of Roseburg. We climbed back in the truck and headed to the U Haul.
“I guess I can drive a U-haul with a trailer…” I said. Mark did not even offer.
“Well,” our driver considered the options and did a little GPS research. “It’s probably cheaper for me to drive you home than for you to rent a U-Haul.” And he did.
A week and a half ago, the ancient willow in our neighbor’s yard came down, in two chunks, in the middle of the night. We were all sad to see it go; no one wanted to cut down the remaining dramatic tall stump, but it had to happen. Last Saturday, the tree came down, leaving a stump about five feet around and four feet tall in the back driveway of our neighbor’s house. This Saturday, Jean walked by it on the way to the grocery store. Someone had carved a life-size beaver into the side of the stump, turning the sad remains into Art. We have no idea who did it or when.