End of Summer

It’s Thursday. Time to write the blog. I’m sitting out on the porch watching the rain fall, listening to the grumble of thunder, and thinking about this interesting week.

We came home from the beach like the ocean–in waves, some of us on Sunday and some of us on Labor Day itself. My thought process was that I didn’t want to be on the road on Labor Day, and it turns out I was right. There are too many nut jobs out there who are tail-gating jerks, who drive 80 MPH when everyone else is doing sixty or less, and who duck in and out of lanes, passing on all sides with wild abandon. The only time they’re happy is when they’re on somebody else’s back-bumper. The Sunday travelers made it home without a hitch. The Monday travelers? Not so much.

Just north of Lacey, one of the tail-gaters couldn’t stop in time when traffic came to a halt in front of him, and he nailed the CRV carrying our kids and two of our granddaughters. He hit them not just once but three times, hard enough that the back end of their SUV collapsed and knocked both the front and back seats loose. The momentum from the blow sent the vehicle sailing across FOUR LANES OF TRAFFIC and onto the median!! The car is probably totaled, but the real miracle is that no one was badly hurt. Bumps and bruises is all. Still, it doesn’t do much good to have your kids belted in when the force of the blow collapses the seat backs.

The cops came. The guy who hit them, a speed-demon heading back home to Idaho, claimed he’d been hit from behind, but Celeste, whose 9th birthday we’ll celebrate this weekend, said “I checked. There wasn’t a mark on his car!” (I think she’s going to be a detective when she grows up.) The cop didn’t believe the guy’s story, either, and slapped him with a ticket. Once the car was towed away, the cop gave the family and their luggage a ride to the nearest Appleby’s where the manager, having been told their story, welcomed them with free drinks and appetizers while they figured out how to get home.

They tried calling a car rental agency, but it was Labor Day. Car rental offices were all closed, so then they called us. For those of you NOT familiar with Washington State geography, they were in Lacey, and they needed to get home to Silverdale. We were in Bellevue. It’s seventy miles on 405 and I-5 from our house to where they were, and sixty miles in another direction for them to get home, after they turn off I-5 in Tacoma. There were four of them. We have a car that holds a driver and three passengers. This is sounding a lot like that old joke about getting the cat, the dog, and the chicken across the river. So as Bill and I headed out the door, I was talking to the Hertz people and arranging to rent a car at Sea-Tac. It may have been Labor Day, but the airport car rental counters were still open.

For everyone’s inconvenience, the car rental building is now some distance from the airport itself. With Bill at the wheel and me riding shot-gun, I had a phone to each ear–one for the Hertz people and one for our daughter. At the last moment before scrambling out of the car, Bill gave me final directions about where we were going. “Call me,” he said, as he and Bella drove away. I would have done so, too, but while I waited at the counter behind an irate customer who hadn’t been given the upgrade he wanted, I discovered I had both of our phones and my iPad in my pockets. We had to revert to doing things the old fashioned way. You go where you said you were going, and you get there when you get there with no conversations in between.

As I said, I didn’t want to be out in traffic on Labor Day, and there was plenty of that. As I drove south, I saw one wreck in the northbound lanes. Driving through Tacoma, the setting sun was directly in my eyes. Just because I was carefully leaving three car lengths between me and the car in front of me didn’t mean there weren’t plenty of yahoos who darted into that space after passing me on the right and before passing someone else on the left, but I made the seventy mile trip without incident. Bill was already at Appleby’s when I got there. We loaded all the luggage into the rental, then we had to go back to Sea-Tac to add Cindy and Jim to the rental agreement. That entailed another long wait because there was only one person laboring at the counter on Labor Day.

That was Monday evening. Tuesday I slept until ten AM, something I never do, and I wasn’t good for much all day. Yesterday I spent finalizing travel arrangements for the tour. I’ve spent more time on the phone with Hertz this week than I would have thought possible. By this time next week, I’ll be two days into the tour, the Second Fire Tour as we call it around here, and the blog will become Tales from the Trail for the next several weeks.

It’s still raining. The thunder is no longer grumbling, it’s cracking and banging. Much as Bella loves me, she’s decided the back porch isn’t for her this morning. She just went back inside. Maybe I’ll do the same thing.

I try to maintain an attitude of gratitude in this blog, so today I’m giving a big shout out and two thumbs up to Appleby’s!! As for the other driver? Don’t be surprised if a tail-gaiting yahoo from Idaho doesn’t wind up dead in one of my books! Soon!

19 thoughts on “End of Summer

  1. I was glad to find out no one was seriously injured! Reading anything you write is a pleasure even if the actual experience was not much fun for you. Hope the tour is a great one!

  2. I’m with you on traveling on Labor Day – or any other holiday. It’s the pits. So glad no one was injured in the accident. No matter how well you drive yourself, there’s always some idiot on the road who thinks he’s not vulnerable like any other human being.

  3. Glad everyone was OK. My anxiety meter goes through the roof when my husband and I are in heavy traffic. There are always a couple of yahoos who think the road is their race track. I17 going North and South through Black Canyon City is like that on a Holiday weekend.

  4. Wow, sorry that happened. Glad no one seriously hurt, glad you and Bill were available to help them. I also try to keep a safe distance behind the car ahead, and also dislike people cutting in. I always am grateful for the driver behind me who stays a safe distance! Have a great tour!

  5. Glad your family is ok. Do not envy anyone the trip from Bellevue to Seatac to Lacey to Silverdale. Dead in one of your books is great. I do not understand tailgaters, as if riding one’s bumper gets them there faster. Scary!

  6. Also happy no one was hurt. That is always a horrible area with speeders. Don’t know why but glad to be out of it. Re-Reading Judgment Call right now, something I never do! Could you write faster? I’m running out of your books to read.

  7. Wow! Sometimes unplanned adventures are really fun — this one not so much. So glad no one was hurt. You and Bill are the best as far as parents are concerned. Safe travels on your upcoming tour.

  8. So glad no one was seriously injured! I, too, hate driving anywhere on Labor Day and other holidays, for that matter! I’m excited for your new book tour! Probably won’t get to see you, but am hoping my daughter in Gilbert, AZ will be able to attend your event at South Mountain Community Library on Sept. 20. She will have a copy of SECOND WATCH in hand!

  9. Judy,

    Is this one of those incidents that you will laugh about someday???? No time soon, huh? Glad everyone is ok.

  10. So sorry that your family had to go thru this super stressful experience. But so glad no one badly hurt. Definitely not the holiday weekend you had planned. Let the sound of that rain help de-stress you.

  11. First my sympathies to you and your family. That is a difficult thing to see and hear about, but so grateful they were basically ok. It had to be very disconcerting to you with all the problems that arose because of it being a holiday. That is great about Appleby’s and the kindness of the police officer as well. I give a huge thumbs up to your granddaughter. Maybe she’ll become a detective in some of your future books? That is great for a nine year old to be that observant. Most adults wouldn’t have the sense to check something like that because of shock.

    You made me miss the thunder, rain and lightning we used to get. I loved it and you re-created memories for me. Glad all your family is well and good-luck on your tour. I ordered “After the Fire” and hoping to get Second Watch when you arrive in our state.


  12. Glad your family is safe! Our Labor Day travels involved flying in a Brittan- Norman Islander 9 seater commuter plane in zero- zero fog down to the ground/ water weather – & rain that could possible match Seattle’s sideways down pours. I declare no-more village travel for my family until Spring!

  13. Look forward to the fictional demise. Perhaps we’ll also see a very astute 9-year-old. Celeste made me smile. Thankful the family are relatively okay.

    Best wishes on you tour, sorry Colorado isn’t on the itinerary.

  14. Put foot on accelerator, go, don’t slow for anything! What is it with morons endangering people, the testosterone syndrome? Hit hard enough to collapse seats, Good God Gertie. How very lucky everyone was at the time. I agree, the may be immortal this month, but, by golly he has to die in a book………….soon.
    Time to hit an Applebee’s for lunch, in appreciation.


  15. As everyone else says, glad no permanent damage to people. We are moving from Arizona back to Washington state from whence we came. We are looking at Chehalis, out of the Everett/Seattle/Tacoma corridor, but when we visit family we will be in it. Wish things were better. Hope to see you in Glendale on 9/24.

  16. I have found the jpbeaumont book in our library and really enjoy reading them. As you can see I am on the suthern shore of Lake Okeechobee in SUNNY south florida. we are all waiting for the heat to change, turn off the AC and enjoy some cool weather. So much for the weather I just took down the inst. for theSugarloaf Cafe sweet rolls an csn not wait to try them.
    Glad your family was not injured and every thing was ok. some day i hope to go to seatle to see the Pike Place complex keep on with the good books. ronnie

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