We headed North on the Coast highway, Bill and Michelle ahead of us, back to life as normal. After stopping in Depoe Bay for gas and one last stop to see whether we could spot any Whales, we continued on to Lincoln City where we had agreed to stop for breakfast at a new Pancake House that had recently opened. There we filled our tummies said our final good byes to Bill and Michelle and continued on toward Tillemook, OR where we stopped to tour the cheese factory. We bought some goodies and ooo'd and awed over the trinkets in the large gift shop. This was to be our last stop, except for gas, when we loaded ourselves and more "stuff" into the van and drove North to Portland before heading East to Pasco. Of course construction and traffic were heavy so, by the time we drove through Portland, we were ready for lunch. We stopped somewhere in Gresham, had our lunch, then it would be straight through to MaryHell's home.
Well, we hadn't driven far when we saw the Scenic Route sign. We all agreed, "Why not", knowing it was only about a 30 minute delay. The winding road was a narrow two lane leading us up a mountain to where we could stop at an observatory and see the beautiful river views from a completely different perspective. We stayed for a while, taking pictures, and touring the building before continuing on that very narrow road which would join with the Interstate, a few miles East. Traffic wasn't bumper to bumper, but there were plenty of other "tourists" taking in the beauty of the byway. Sandee was driving at a safe speed, while the rest of us chatted about our week and the things we had seen and done. The road narrowed as we started the downhill decent and became darker with the lushness of the forest on both sides. I could see a curve ahead, noticing what appeared to be a brown paper bag laying in the middle of our lane. I knew Sandee couldn't swerve to miss it because of the blind curve coming at us. Next thing I knew there was a loud crunching sound as we passed over the bag which was, in fact, a rock. We drove on for a couple of miles and spotted a rest stop to our right, deciding to stop to check for any damage that might have occurred. It was not pretty! Although the damage was not visible, the lake of oil flowing from under the car told us that we were in deep doo-doo.
We couldn't get any cell phone service to call for help, and even though there were at least fifteen other vehicles there, no one asked if they could help in any way. Obviously, we couldn't drive the vehicle, so what were we to do? Mary walked up and down the road trying to find a spot to get a cell signal, finally getting through to her husband after about forty minutes. I don't remember all of the details, but finally, after what seemed like the whole damn day, but was more like two hours later, along came a tow truck to our rescue. Bill had let them know there was five of us so the tow truck was equipped with a "crew cab". After he got the van onto the bed of the truck, we all climbed in, made ourselves comfortable, and headed back to Gresham.
By the time we got back to the tow yard, it was getting late in the afternoon and we had became friends with our tow truck driver. It was the weekend, and his day off, but he treated us with nothing but respect and concern. We let him know what a privilege it was for him to be in the company of five beautiful, intelligent and funny women. He agreed..........he dared not!. Truly, he was a fantastic young man. Anyhoo, after a dozen phone calls, we knew we would not be arriving in Pasco that night. We reserved a room big enough for all of us and arranged for a rental car to get us home the next day.
Realizing that we had no way to get into town and had about a ton and a half of luggage, and a ton of women, that same fabulous young man, called his boss, got another tow truck with a flatbed, unloaded Mary's van of our precious belongings and loaded them on the back of that truck and drove us to the motel. We were hungry and thirsty, so before getting to the motel, he agreed to stop at a convenience store so we could load up on beer, pop, water and snacks. We got more than a few looks of curiosity as we pulled up to the front door of that motel, five of us pouring out of that truck, bed loaded with suit cases, shopping bags, and to-die-for treasures. Donald Trump never had a better chauffeur than we had that day. If that young man never does another kindness in his life, he has earned more respect from five Idaho women than he'll ever need in this lifetime.
Damn, this is a long story but it's not over yet.............there's more to come.