The $150 Adventure!


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A couple of days ago, my friend Judy asked me if I wanted to take a drive up to Mt Pilchuck with her on Tuesday.  Of course, that means bring your camera and let’s see what we can see!!  Well…I’m in!!  But wait Judy!!!  Before we go, let’s see if we can get ourselves in to a position of adventure that creates fun, a bit of danger, get almost frozen, and have no money available to us, or cell phones!!!  Wouldn’t THAT be fun?!?!?!?  Let’s do THAT!

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I digress…Yes Judy called and asked me to go and yes my camera and I jumped at the prospect!  We always have fun together and laugh a lot.  Yesterday, we had such a great time traveling where neither of us had been in years!  We headed up towards Granite Falls and stopped at the cable bridge that is up there.  We get out of the car with our cameras, walk across the bridge to get some pictures, and Judy says, “Oh no!  My battery is dead.”  Now there is NOTHING more disappointing than to go to take pictures and find you can’t!  Total bummer.  So my brain starts working on what we can do to fix this.  I tell her about a device that you plug into the lighter and charges your other devices.  So…we stop at Granite Falls Rite Aid and look around.  I ask God to helps us find what we need to be able to connect and charge her battery up.  I asked Judy if she had her charge cord with her, and low and behold, she did!!  Who’da thunk?  God came through and we found one that would fit the lighter and charge her camera battery.  She bought it and hooked that baby up!   Away we went, charging her battery all the way.

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We used my maps on my phone as far as we could, watching signs.  We did find Mt Pilchuck.  Judy is a great navigator!  We were taking pictures along the way.  We found some wonderful views.  There is just something so fun about a rode trip, whether it be for the day or a few days.  In our case, it turned out to be a very LOOONG day!

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There were some interesting houses to see and we drove up as far as we could to Mt Pilchuck and then we turned around.  But we saw a wooded area of birch trees that we so beautiful against the snow.  We parked kind of weird because, who would be coming down this road?  Not like people lived there, right?  Nope… we had a car come barreling down the hill and there the Tahoe sat.  We were busy taking pictures, and they managed to get around us.  Judy and I looked at each other and said, “Go figure.”  On down the road we went and Judy was wondering if the Mountain Loop Highway was open all the way to Darrington.  I didn’t know.  Adventure!  Let’s go see.  On the way up, we saw some beautiful scenery; beautiful sloping roads with mountain backgrounds, snow stuck to birch tree limbs like cotton balls, and little waterfalls along the way.  Another stop…

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We continued up the highway, catching up on our lives and in-between, we are saying things like, “Oh that is gorge!”, or “Look at that!”,  and the brakes would come on for another stop to take a photo!  When we go out, often times, we find the same thing to stop for and at the same time.  SO fun!  (Manuscript Notes):  Just for the sake of background, I would usually leave the door on my side open, sometimes close it,  but Judy would grab her keys, lock it,  and put the keys in her pocket.  We had a system.  You will notice some photos have a lot of twist and turns in the road; little did I know, our day would be a lot like that.

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BBQ anyone?

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We traveled up Mountain Loop Highway and no signs to tell us whether it was closed or not.  We were enjoying ourselves, so we kept going thinking we might be able to go across to Darrington.  But we got up to where the highway narrows, found rocks piled up high, and the saw horses are out to indicate it is the end of the line.  We turned around and headed back down looking for things we might have missed coming up.  As we are traveling along enjoying the beauty of the mountains, the sun silhouetting the mountain tops, we are both in awe over the beauty!  We felt it was great to see this on such a sunny day.  We rounded a corner and we both saw it at once!  Beautiful wall of hanging icicles and strange formations of the melted ice that looked like flowers and diamonds.  Eeerch!!!!  Swing this baby around and park!!  We get out and put our coats and scarfs on because it is cold!!  Freezing cold!  I had been having a bit of trouble at times getting out of the Tahoe because it sits so high, so I was trying to be careful this time lowering myself to the ground.  I didn’t want to touch the door because of the locks there.  However, somehow, even though I used my right hand to brace myself with the vehicle, my left arm must have brushed those locks just enough to touch them.  Judy was outside the Tahoe already and when I heard it beep, I thought she had locked it, so I closed the door.  Came around the front, and the horn honked.  Oh NOOOOOOO!!!  The doors locked and Judy did NOT have the keys in her pocket!  I tried to be so careful getting out and was sure I didn’t touch the door.  But, Judy in all her kindness says with an expression of sorry, “I think you did.”  Oh my gosh!!  We are now at least 18 miles up Mountain Loop Highway, no living people within miles and miles, locked out of the Tahoe in freezing weather, with nothing around us, no phone, no purse, not a thing to help us.  AND…all those items?  Yah…they sitting on the seats in plain sight!

Cars coming or going are not much of a happening thing up there, if you know what I mean.  We walk around the Tahoe trying all the doors, like the Tahoe won’t lock ALL the doors in the vehicle; just ours.  Duh!  Yah, uh huh.  We look at each other and say, “What are we going to do?”  What DO photographers do?  We had stopped to take pictures of this, so we might as well take advantage of this situation!  We both cross the road and snap away!!!  At least we are going to get pictures out of it!!!  Ok.  Back to reality.  We reaccess our situation, which is no different than it was before.  We again wonder what we can do.  Judy said she was tempted to break one of her windows.  Oh man!  Not that!  I hated to see that happen but we were kind of desperate!  If we stay out in the weather, we are going to freeze to death.  Immediately, a news scrip comes to mind on our current situation.  News Flash!!!  “Two women found on Mountain Loop Highway, around the Silverton area above Granite Falls, frozen to death with cameras in hand.  The women are yet to be identified.”  Hahaha!!!  Nope.  Don’t want to go there.  I prayed and ask God to provide somehow for us because this was a dangerous situation; it was late afternoon and soon the temperatures would drop even more.  I was so thankful I hadn’t just hopped out to take the pictures; I had my coat and scarf!  I pulled it closer around me and my scarf up by my ears.

The pictures we stopped to get:

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After a few minutes of walking around, feeling rather helpless, I again prayed and asked God to provide.  A few minutes later, I looked again up and down the road.  Nothing.  We talked about options as we walked around to warm up.  Pretty soon, I walked back to the road looking up and down just in case there was something.  Not sure what I expected but I was praying God would answer.  This time I saw a pickup truck coming.  All ideas of the danger of hitching rides and strangers went up in smoke.  Desperate times called for desperate measures!  If there IS a car, I’m getting them to stop.  So I am raising my arms and waved them as I walk closer and closer into the road.  I look over and Judy has joined me in doing the same, and the pick up slows down, swings in, and then stops.  We walk over to the truck to find a guy leaning over to open the passenger side window.   After explaining our situation, he got out and did a check around the vehicle to see if there was something he may know of.  Nope.  We learn his name is Mike and we ask if there is any land line close by for us to make a call.  He thought that just up the road there was a sheriff’s radio available to make contact for emergencies.  We both thought this was an emergency, and so when he offered to take us up the road about 8 miles to check it out, we agreed to go.  So, he cleans out his front seat of his little beater pick up truck and we climb in.  Now, I am in the middle, with a small portion seat, and this is a 5 speed…not easy on my knees to say the least, but God had provided us transportation.  His little truck was warm.  I’m thankful.  His name was Mike and he is from Snohomish.  He was coming up to check to see if there was snow.  We gladly told him there was, but hoping he would help us women in distress first.  When we arrived, there was no sheriff’s radio anymore.  We came back down and he said we can try the ranger station because they have someone to man that.  That was 8 miles back and then another 8 or so miles to the station.  We are thankful for this option and gladly say yes.  So as we travel, he gives us some history of the area.  We find out he is a birdwatcher and some of the jobs he has done in his life.  He is a very kind man and when the ranger station is closed, he again tells us about having a spare key in a secret place, and calling a tow truck.  Yes we COULD call, IF we had a cell phone and IF there was service.  He says he has a cell phone but this area is a no phone zone.  Oh goodie.  In all our efforts to figure this out, Judy and I are trying to whisper a bit back and forth what we can do.  Judy tells him that she would like to get to an area where she can maybe call a locksmith to come and open the Tahoe.  So THAT is our new plan.  We drive along and it is getting kind of crowded for a long trip to Granite Falls and Mike tells us, “This  pick up was made so that three Japanese men could comfortably sit in it.  What were they, gnomes?”  We laugh our heads off!  He had a pretty dry, funny sense of humor and we are glad for the distraction.  I’m am glad for something to laugh at, because in the back of my mind, I’m thinking, what if this person is just telling us about all these places and knows they aren’t available just to get us to a place where bad things can happen?”  Crazy how your thoughts go sometimes.  Then, I think of Judy and I, and say to myself, “Hey, it’s two against one!  He wouldn’t stand a chance!”  So, then my mind goes to thinking about whether we can get someone to do it, and how much will it COST?  I feel responsible!  I’m closest to the Mike and look down as his gas gauge, and become a bit worried when it is down on empty!  He’s trying to help us and his tank is empty.  But I remember having a few cars where I would have to guess on my gas, so maybe he has one of those kind of cars.  I mean, the guy was going UP mountain when he stopped for us.  No gas stations up there!  As we got into cell range, I was able to call Terry and let him know a little of what had happened so he would expect me to be later getting back home.  As I hung up, his phone dings, so I know he has a pay per use phone.  I am wishing I could buy some minutes or gas for his trouble.  Mike drives us into Granite Falls, and Judy asks him if he could drop us off at the police department.  So, bless his heart, he takes us there and we thank him profusely, as we have nothing to give him since our purses are locked up in the Tahoe on the mountain.  He parting comments was, “Spare key!”  I secretly thank God, that He sent us the right kind of person, and that He would bless Mike for his kindness.

With heads held high, we walk into the police station and ask for help in finding someone who might be able to get us back up the mountain and unlock the Tahoe.  She directs us up the street to a little place that could easily be missed if you weren’t so desperate to find them.  As we walk into the little office and talk to the guy about our situation, it occurs to us, that we have no money to pay them.  He says, “We take credit cards.”  We say, “Yes that is great IF we had our credit cards.  But our purses and everything dear to us is in that Tahoe up the mountain.”  He tells us that all his trucks are out and it will be 45 minutes to an hour before he will know where his trucks are.  So he suggests that we walk down to the restaurant and get a bite to eat and we can call him to check in to see what he has found out.  We are looking at each and saying, uh huh.  Call with what????  Do you remember the part about us telling you we are locked out with our purses and cell phones in the vehicle?  But, we take the number and walk down the street to the cute little pizza place.  We ARE thinking something to eat sounds good.  Until…we get inside and sit down and realize once again that we can’t do that because we have no money!!!  This sweet little waitress comes up and starts talking and we explain our circumstances and ask if we can just sit here while we wait.  She says we can.  She immediately picks up her phone and calls a someone she knows can help.  She tells us no answer.  She informs us that we can eat and pay later; no problem.  Wow!!  That is pretty cool!  We decline, but thank her.  I was very thankful for a place to sit down for a while.  I had been doing a lot of walking.

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We are sitting there trying to be patient.  So I decided to take a picture of Judy’s camera.  All of a sudden, Judy sees a truck go by from the company we are waiting for.  This waitress see the number on the truck, gets on her cell phone and calls them.  She says, “Hello.  This is so and so, from Granite Falls Police Department, and I have your two ladies here that are waiting for you to take them up the mountain to get into their vehicle?  Do they have time for a bite to eat before you are taking them up or are you leaving right away to take them to their car?”  She pulls the cell from her ear and asks us whether we want to eat or go right away?  We say we will eat later and would like to get back to the car as soon as we can.  It is getting dark.  So in a few minutes, NOT 45 minutes or an hour, a guy is picking us up to take us back up the mountain!  Bless her police woman’s heart.  She used her position and clout to help speed things a long!  We told her we would come back for dinner and out the door we went!  Thank you to the sweet heart of a person who was willing to help two strangers in need!

As we follow the guy, we now know is DJ, to his pickup, once again I am in the middle.  A bit better though because this is an automatic.  Thank goodness!  We learn a bit more about him as we travel back up to the Tahoe.  We tell him our story.  He laughs and says he has heard a lot of stories behind keys getting left in a vehicle.  I ask if he has had any he couldn’t get into and he tells us only one.  Judy and I look at each and think, “Thank you Jesus!”  As we wind up the Mountain Loop Highway, we finally come to the Tahoe and are pretty excited to get back inside.  After a lot of playing with his magic wand, he finally gets it open!  We were happy enough to do a happy dance, but didn’t, because he might think we are weirder than we already were given our day!  I run over and take another picture of the icicles and say, “Take THAT!”  He couldn’t take a split payment, so Judy was on the hook for it until we got home.  We got him paid and he waits until we have the Tahoe running before he leaves.  Thanks DJ.  We both get in the car and are so happy to be “inside” and on the way home.  DJ, you were the best!

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My SO THERE picture I took.

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As we are driving back, Judy and I are talking about how much fun we have when we are together and it is always an adventure!!!  So true!  We have stories to tell and I told her I was going to tell this one.  We kept our promise and stopped for dinner at the little place in Granite Falls.  She greeted us with great relief that we got back safely.  We thanked her for her help and enjoyed a warm restaurant and a good dinner.  On a quiet moment on the way home, I was thinking about our day and told Judy that Mike came up for snow, and that bird watcher got part of what he was looking for…he got to see a couple of crazy birds!!  And Judy says, “Yep!  A couple of loony birds!”  Then, I asked Judy if she thought some of our pictures could be sold for $150?  …Anyone?

I’d do it again with you Judy!!  We had angels in our midst today, but I think we will also stick to your plan with extra keys in both pockets!

A quote that is a perfect reminder:  “The only thing you can know for certain is that you are going to have obstacles in front of you that you cannot count on–only God stays the same.” – Beth Moore

Walking the journey with you…

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