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Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Christine’s Wild Ride -Trick or Treat? You Decide:
Today is the 5th anniversary of an event that I will never forget. It all happened on Saturday October 26th 2006. The time was 6:26 p.m. David and I had been shopping for our “perfect motorhome” for quite some time; and a month earlier we had, finally, found her. This 33 foot motorhome was in pristine condition and sitting in the drive-way of a family in La Canada, California. This vehicle had, obviously, been well taken care of. The husband was meticulous in its maintenance and upkeep. This motorhome was like one of his kids; it meant that much to him. As we are about to find out; "she" felt the same.
Cosmetically; she only had (one) little scratch on her rear bumper. Other than that; she was beautiful! The husband (owner) was very attached to this motorhome. I think that he, really, didn’t want to sell it. After many negotiations (mostly due to the fact that the owner wanted to make sure the “perfect couple” got his “baby”) we put the down payment on her and made our way back home.
As agreed; we arrived at the seller’s house on Saturday the 26th, with cash in hand. Upon arrival; I had noticed that their front yard had a huge graveyard display with ghouls, goblins and gravestones. That is when I noted that Halloween was only a couple of days away. In the spirit of Halloween; I turned to the wife and, jokingly, said “This thing isn’t haunted or something, is it?” To which she, also with jest, replied “Oh no! I just had it exorcised when I had the Suburban done last week; the lights on the Suburban kept coming on/off when the neighbors used their remote for their car”. With joking aside; we completed our transaction and the husband (owner) pulled the motor home to the property’s edge and just through the gate (again; he was very proud of this motor home and didn’t want us to scratch it). Or maybe he just didn’t want us to take out his fence. We’ll never know.
Just as my husband jumped into the driver’s seat of the motorhome; he turned and asked for directions to the nearest propane place. We needed propane for our trip to Joshua Tree National Park. As instructed, my husband, headed just (4) blocks up Foothill Blvd. For those of you familiar with the Rose Parade; it is on Foothill Blvd. in Pasadena. At this point; in La Canada the four lanes of road (two each way) are separated by a wide median of grass with 100 foot tall trees down the middle. The street is lined with “Rodeo Drive” style storefronts; which all have these huge potted trees on the edge of the sidewalks. The big potted trees are there for aesthetics, as well as, to keep an out-of-control vehicle from coming through their storefront windows. As we are about to find out; that’s a good thing.
I followed behind the motorhome, in the Jeep, with my sidekick “Miss Jazzy” (our long-haired black/tan dachshund) up to the propane station. Initially; when I pulled in to the station, I parked “nose-to-nose” so that I was facing the front of the motorhome. But; when I looked up; I got this eerie feeling. The motorhome was sitting on a slight hill and looking ominously down on me. It looked like Godzilla getting ready to pounce on the Jeep. It was just a little scary. As I exited the Jeep; Jazzy became agitated, jumping back and forth in the Jeep and barking. At that point; I felt so uncomfortable with the Jeep being parked there; that I got back in and moved it. It’s a good thing that I did that.
Once the propane was filled; my husband and I engaged in a light conversation with the gas station attendant, inside of his office. I had mentioned that “we had just bought it (the motorhome) a couple of minutes ago and that we were heading off to an adventure.” I also brought up the fact; that recently, my husband and I had seen the movie with Robin Williams (RV). The attendant noted that he hadn’t seen that movie yet; so we were sharing a few of the, hilarious, highlights of the film. (This is all; not so funny to us, anymore). In a moment that is engrained in my memory forever; the attendant points his finger toward the front window and says “Isn’t that YOUR motorhome rolling down the street?”
Unbelievably; the motorhome was slowly gaining speed and heading, directly into two lanes of oncoming traffic! Instinctively, my husband goes running down the street, after it. At that moment; I turned to the attendant and yelled “Call 911, someone is going to get killed!” Then I continued down the street, myself. At this point; cars are peeling right and left and honking their horns at the motorhome heading straight at them.
As my husband is, feverishly, running after the motorhome; a lady-jogger says to him “What’s going on?” to which he replies “It’s a Runaway!” Then she says to him “Somebody should tell the Owner!” To which my husband yells at her; “I AM THE OWNER!” as he continued in pursuit.
At the next intersection the motorhome made a right turn heading directly towards a full Taco Bell. Just at the last second; again, the motorhome turned (this time left) and began heading in the direction of the proper lanes of traffic. As it travelled past some very expensive cars, which were parked on the street; it just barely “brushed a mirror” knocking it to the ground. After passing 20-30 parked cars (and not hitting a one of them) it slid over to the right and took out an entire line of those huge potted trees on the sidewalk. In the process of hitting the trees; it proceeded to rip off all of its awnings and gash holes in the roof from front to back. It was like a can opener had peeled her open. She wasn’t “pretty” anymore.
Less than a minute later, and over 3.5 blocks down the road, she finally came to rest in what was a “perfect” parking spot; with her wheels lined up at the curb. Immediately upon catching up with the vehicle; my husband pulled open the driver’s door, fully expecting to see who had “stolen” the motorhome. This is where it gets very strange. There was NO ONE INSIDE.
A couple of minutes later; the police arrived, blocked traffic and were helping us pick up all of the carnage. We were pretty sure that we were going to get some kind of a ticket and enormous bill for all of the trees that were hit in the process of the accident. But; when I managed to mumble a few words to the policeman stating that “We had JUST bought the motorhome 15 minutes earlier” he felt so sorry for us that he just kept handing my husband the pieces of the motorhome to put through the back window as he said to me; “I’m very sorry to hear that, Ma’am”.
Here is where it gets even more bazaar. The “driverless” motorhome had not only navigated directly into oncoming traffic, made a right turn at the first intersection and a subsequent left turn (avoiding the Taco Bell full of people), missed hitting all those fancy parked cars on it’s right and “parked itself” perfectly against the sidewalk; that’s amazing enough. But; it had come to a complete stop within a ½ block of where it had been sold, just 15 minutes earlier. If it would have made just (one more right turn) it would have been able to park itself, right back into its own driveway.
Maybe I shouldn’t have made the joke about her being “haunted”. This motorhome obviously had decided to head back “home”. We now lovingly refer to her as “Christine”; appropriately named after the movie featuring a haunted car. So; do you believe this story about “Christine’s Wild Ride”, or do you think that this is just a very good Halloween tale that I concocted for your Halloween pleasure? Trick or Treat? What do you think? Happy Halloween!