Of all the places in the world to be stranded, Crater Lake is probably one of the best I can think of. And no that is not a hypothetical statement. That is exactly where my dear friend Maria Imig and I found ourselves stranded yesterday; sitting in wooden rocking chairs, overlooking one of the most nationally recognized scenes of beauty in the United States.
It all started when Papa told us we could take the Taurus up there and he though it would be just fine. I wasn't so sure, but with no other real options we decided to go for it. The drive was gorgeous and car was just fine...until 5 miles before the lake. It suddenly lost all power and white smoke began pouring out from underneath the hood. Just my luck, and just what I feared might happen. We pulled over, as did the people behind us. Of all the people in the world who could have stopped, it just happened to be a young, extremely good looking, wonderfully friendly man from New Zealand, who is a teacher on holidays. Unfortunately his girlfriend was with him, but nonetheless I was happy. He asked me to pop the "bonnet" and grab some water from the "boot." I obliged. We couldn't do much until the car cooled off, so our NZ friends gave us their phone number and headed off, while Maria and I laid a blanket out in the woods and settled in. She read Psalms out loud to me, while we munched on carrot sticks and imagined what our course of action would be if we saw a bear (jump up and run for the car or jump up, grab the blanket, and run for the car?).
Several other nice folks stopped, but we just waved them on. When the bugs forced us out of the trees we got back in the car and pondered our fate. After 45 min of letting the car rest, we put water in, but it still wouldn't budge. A family from Alabama stopped and two kind brothers checked it out (well one brother checked it out while the other told terrible jokes-what note do you get when you throw a piano down a mine shaft? A flat minor!). We discovered the transmission fluid was gone, but even after putting in a half quart the gears still would not budge. So we grabbed our stuff and piled in the suburban of our new Alabaman friends, and listened to their corny jokes the rest of the way to the lake. After calling my Dad and my brother's friend, Russ, who is living with us, Maria and I spent the rest of the day waiting to be rescued from one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Papa thinks the car is toast. That would make three cars in one week that have pretty much bitten the dust. O dear God what are you doing?! He must have something up his sleeve. While we waited for Russ to bring transmission fluid and a trailer, Maria and I read and soaked up the view (Well, I actually chronicled the day's adventures so I can record them in my memoir someday, which Maria assures me she will buy many copies of to give her friends for Christmas!)
After getting some dinner at the Rim Village we sat outside on the veranda watching the sun disappear behind the mountains. As it slipped away, the mosquitoes came out in full force. It was nearly impossible to keep from being attacked. So with our hooded sweatshirts on we twirled, and swatted, and walked trying to keep from being eaten alive. Around 8pm we knew Russ couldn't be far so we stood by the road on some boulders, in a field of wildflowers, singing all the praise songs we could remember the words to and watching for our knight in shining armor.
Meanwhile, 5 miles down the road our rescuer had found our car. Not knowing if we were by the car or at the lake (or he thought, maybe looking for wild berries in the woods?), he parked his truck and shouted my name over his PA system several times so that "An-ge-la!" echoed through the woods for miles. Eventually through a text message and some broken up phone calls he found us. We were elated to see our knight in shining armor come around the corner on his white steed (okay-a giant white Ford pickup). We snapped some pictures of the lake at sunset and headed off to find our poor Ford Taurus.
Even in the pitch black we could see the fading hazard lights (of course I left them on and killed the battery). The three of us took turns holding a flashlight and pushing the car uphill, trying to get it on the trailer.
After 15 minutes or so with no success, we saw headlights in the distance and flagged down the poor unsuspecting couple. They were enthusiastic to help to be sure-but they turned out to be completely drunk. So even with a drunk girl in a skirt and stocking feet, with a cigarette in one hand..and a drunk guy with a rope and a shovel we were getting nowhere. Long story short we finally rolled the car so it was facing downhill and got it on the trailer. After thanking our enthusiastic/creepy helpers and telling them for the 14th time that we didn't have any beer (like they needed more!), we were off. Happy, tired, and covered in mosquito bites and transmission fluid, we crammed in the cab of Russ' truck. After a long day, we munched on skittles, like little kids, guessing which colors we were holding, and sharing stories about our lives. Falling into bed at midnight, I thanked God for His protection, our knight in shining armor, good friends, and this always adventurous life!