Camp in Olympic Peninsula.
We spent the school year of 63-64 in Palo Alto, when Dad was at Stanford on sabbatical. The second half of the summer the 4 of us still living at home drove up the coast to Vancouver, and then trained back to Chicago. One of the stops was a camping trip in the Olympic Rain Forest National Park. There is one, and only one, reason it is called a rain forest. We learned to balance our eating speeds with how cold and watery we wanted our food. During family camping trips PT would normally start the fire, using only naturally found ingredients and one match, while PG gathered big wood to sustain the fire long enough to cook. PT performed his task, and anticipating that his carefully procured dry tinder would not remain so for long, elected to light the fire immediately. PG had not been quite so successful with dry fuel, and was thus not ready to sustain the fire. So it consumed every dry burnable within half a mile. PG was known to remark later that it was probably a good thing that human parents are not allowed to consume their young. PT has no particular memories beyond that point.
In our old slide collection we have a picture of “The Rainbow That Saved Our Lives.”
We had been driving our Hertz rental car along twisty mountain roads, twenty miles or so away from Seattle, avoiding the big lumber trucks that sped downhill at a goodly clip. We reached a level stretch that paralleled a lake, and on the other side of the lake we saw a beautiful rainbow. There was a beach with a large parking lot which we pulled into to get a picture of the rainbow.
After taking advantage of the park’s facilities (never pass up a free pee), we piled back into the car and started up. As we got into position to make a left turn onto the highway, the car was not handling well. I circled the parking lot at a slow speed to check it out. It felt as if the rear wheels were mired in molasses, while the front wheels were steering on shear ice. Not Good. I got out of the car and looked under it. Something was protruding down and scraping the ground (I found out later that the tie rod had become disconnected). Presumably the sharp turns I made were the last straw of a situation waiting to happen. If not for the rainbow, it might have happened on a montain curve as an approaching lumber truck was taking its half of the road out of the middle!
This was long before cell phones, so I put a map and the car rental papers in my pocket and hitch-hiked to Seattle, leaving the family looking at the view. Hertz arranged for a tow truck to bring car and family to Seattle, gave us a different car, and we were on our way back to the Olympic Forest where, as described in PTH’s account above, he had another close shave with oblivion.
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