On The Road Again

As we are preparing for our first river / Havasu trip of the year, I decided that I would post a short story I wrote last year after our first trip out... And even though I have called it a story - sadly, it's not fiction. I pray for safe trips this year and that we will have better luck on our journeys this summer.

So we set out on our first trip as a family – me, Jason & little Dillon… Everything was going great – Jason got off work an hour and a half earlier than planned & Dillon took a nice long nap so I could finish packing. All was right with the world.

We got in the car and hopped onto the always traffic filled 57 freeway. Amazing luck – NO traffic. We were breezing along. We transitioned onto the 60, still smooth sailing. We made it to the 15 in record time… I should have known something would go wrong.

And wrong it went…

As we were making our way through the Cajon pass I remembered what I hadn’t paid attention to as I was watching my daily addiction, my ABC soaps: The warning from the National Weather Service of thunderstorms. No big deal Jason says as I bring it up. It’s not going to rain. The sky is growing blacker by the minute. I tell him we should pull over to the shoulder and bring the suitcases into the already full truck. He still doesn’t believe me when I tell him it’s going to rain.

Then I see it – a huge bolt of lightning. He doesn’t see it – you’re crazy he says. Pull over! I tell him. No need he says. Another warning rips through the sky – he sees it this time! So I’m not crazy after all… I’m looking at my sweet baby boy sleeping peacefully in his carseat next to me and Jason says: “It’s not raining enough for me to pull over.” What?!? It’s raining!! I hadn’t even noticed. I snap my head up and there on the windshield are little drops of water. No big deal I think. Wrong again…

We drive along a few more miles and all of the sudden the sky opens up and the heavens pour down upon us. The dust from the open fields is blowing everywhere. I can hardly see and the traffic almost stops. It’s couldn’t get much worse, right? It could. Now it’s hailing – huge pieces of ice are falling at us! “I’m not getting out now,” Jason says. Duh, I think, as I see our luggage getting a shower. Then I notice that my suitcase isn’t even zipped all the way. Great.

The storm finally clears and we are zooming along again. We stop at the Carl’s Jr. in Barstow to grab a quick dinner. Jas runs in and I stay in the car with Dilly. Oh no – more lightning. The skies around are black. Jason comes back with the food and warnings of flash floods. Lovely, I think to myself. We get back on the freeway and head towards the 40 and our destination: Lake Havasu. The people said the storm was moving in from where we came from. We pray that we can outrun it and not get stuck in any of the flash floods. We get on the 40 and magically the black foreboding sky clears up and turns into beautiful, cloudless blue skies.

We cruise along the 40 and can’t believe how many highway patrol cars we see. There is usually only 1, maybe 2 tops. No biggie: we have our radar detector. Along we go, no more rain, no more hail. Our “landmarks” that we are getting close start appearing… the sign for “Las Vegas / Searchlight.” Yeah! The sign for “Old River Road” “Needles – 8 miles” Wahoo were almost there – only about 30 more minutes! Once again, I should have known something would go wrong.

NO!! Jason yells. “What” I question him. The Jet Ski trailer has a flat he informs me. “We have a spare, right?” I ask. “Yes, we do (yippie), but it’s locked on and I don’t have the keys (noooooo).” So we pull over and Jason gets out to survey the damage. It’s 102 degrees and were stranded. Would be so bad it we didn’t have a 3 month old with us. I start praying. Please, God, send us help. I’m crying. I’m frustrated. Dillon wakes up. I play with him, making funny faces at him and he laughs at me. His first real laugh. I can’t believe it. He chooses the best possible time for his first laugh. I stop crying and he starts. We’ve been sitting there for forever… Ok, so it’s only been 15 or so minutes. I take him out of his carseat. He stops crying.

Finally, I see a CHP car coming – Help is coming! Nope, he drives on by! Aren’t they out there to help? Guess not, they just want to give tickets and get the money, I decide. Here comes a Sheriff car. There goes the Sheriff car. I’m praying again.

Jason comes back to the car and tells me that help is on the way. My cousins are coming to save him and my Aunt is coming to rescue Dillon from the heat. I should point out that I’m not really burning up. I’m running the air and draining what little gas we have. After all, were only 7 miles from “civilization” so we won’t run out of gas.

I see a second CHP car coming, I don’t even hold my breath thinking he will stop. He doesn’t disappoint and keeps on driving by. Oh well, at least help is coming, even though it will take them at least 30-40 minutes to arrive. I look up and gaze out the window. I see Help!!! I pull open the back window and yell to Jason. God has sent us an angel. Our angel came in the form of a balding, overweight man wearing the pants required of plumbers. But he was an angel never the less. This man was pulling a trailer with more trailers on it. He came up and offered Jason a spare tire. Jas tells the angel that we have a spare but no tools to pry off the locks. The man goes to his car and returns with tools… Hallelujah, were saved. Jason and the man work in the blistering heat to get the spare off and they do. Now they just have to get the flat off. No such luck. We have now been stranded on the side of the road for 90 long minutes. I see a car drive by on the other side of the Highway. It stops and pulls onto the dirt between the roads. It’s my aunt. The boys aren’t far behind and they arrive with what was at the moment was God’s best gift to man – Power Tools!!

I load a now screaming, mad baby into my aunt’s car and thank God for sending us help. By the time Dillon & I leave the side of the road with my aunt, our 4 heroes, sent from God, have got the flat off and almost fixed.

We all arrive at my aunt & uncle’s house safe and sound. Jason tells us all that he offered the man some money for his time and that the man wouldn’t accept any. The man said he was just glad that Jason’s wife and little baby were safe. I think that he really must have been an angel sent by God…

After a nice weekend, we headed home. I was a little apprehensive, wondering what was in store for our trip home. But, Got smiled upon us and it was a boring, uneventful trip. Amen to that.

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