I should get a dog to be able not to say this.
Friday! I was done with my work, ready to go, just needed to ask for a permission and after I was given one and waited for a rat man to let him in, I could take off. I threw everything I needed in my car earlier that day, stopping in REI and finally getting my own stove (and immediately burning my finger when trying it out). So I just collected all the necessities like phone, charger, and drivers license and hit the road.
With dark sneaking in really quickly, before I got on a freeway, I didn’t see anything. And the lights behind the numbers on both tachometer and speedometer stopped working.
With another 2.5 hours of driving, this situation wasn’t the most desirable.
During my drive, I had to keep turning on and off the lights above me to see how fast I was going. And when a police car drove past me with sirens on, I was pretty sure they were going after me.
Luckily, my old Toyota really cannot go so fast, at 70 miles per hour it starts shaking and you are afraid that it’s going to just fall apart and you’ll be left with only your seat and the steering wheel in your arms in the middle of the road. Yeah, that image sounds really funny, I admit that.
Without getting lost (but I suspected Google Maps during the last two miles from leading me to an end of the world), I made it to my destination (not the final one); Walmart. My plan was to stay there, catch a few hours of sleep and continue in the morning.
To get a spot at any of the first-come first-serve camps in Yosemite, you have to be there pretty early in the morning – and I didn’t want to get up at two to drive all the way there from home; sleeping at Walmart sounded like a better plan.
I bought some snacks for my hikes and an energy drink for the next morning, parked my car in a better spot near the entrance and went to sleep.
Now, so you don’t consider me totally dumb, for my defense I have to tell you this. When the lights (talking about the lights on my car) are on DRL, they turn off automatically as I turn off the engine. But what I didn’t know (because since I have moved to Cali and started to drive that car, I didn’t drive in dark, not even once) is that headlights don’t turn off.
And you can see where I’m going here.
I got up at five, all ready to go and wanted to unlock the car so the alarm wouldn’t go off the same moment I try to start the car. But nothing happened. It was suspicious, I immediately got this bad feeling. You know, that one when you already know something is really wrong but you refuse to admit that to yourself.
I put the key in the ignition and tried to bring the engine to life. Nothing. Shoot.
I saw some Walmart employees having their break for smoking outside. I felt so stupid as I walked to them and asked for a help: “Excuse me? Good morning. Could anyone please help me? I have no idea why but my car doesn’t start…”
The second I said that, one woman slowly let the smoke out of her lungs and said: “You forgot your lights on, sweetheart.”
God. It was so degrading. Stupid, stupid, stupid!
Luckily, good people still exist and one young man offered to get cables and jump-start my car. Thank you.
And then, getting out of the reach of all the artificial lights, disappearing into the darkness of the world right before the sky starts getting lighter, I finally hit the last stretch of my way to Tuolumne Meadows.
I promise the next part will be more poetic than this but I just had to share this with you all as it is a part of traveling too. There are a lot of things and complications like this or worse when you get stuck somewhere or come to really dangerous or very unpleasant situations – and people usually don’t share these parts when something like that happens (or they are just being dumb like me that evening). I want to keep this blog as authentic to my experiences as possible.
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And have a flawless day! 🙂