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From Apocalyptic Fire to CSI: Yreka

I'm in Oregon this week, helping my parents prepare my grandma's house for sale.  (Though she lived in her house up until just a few years ago, she now has Alzheimer's and is 99-1/2, so returning to her own home just isn't realistic.) Going through a long lifetime of possessions is simultaneously exhausting and interesting, but it was the trip up here that was truly surreal.
I left on Monday morning.  The skies were still hazy from the Sand Fire.  The commonly-used description was "apocalyptic."  John helped me load up the van, and stayed outside to see me off.  As I started driving down the street, John started waving his arms for me to stop.  I did, and opened my door--one of the van's little quirks is that if you roll down the driver's window, it doesn't always roll back up.  John asked, "Did you hear that?"  I hadn't.  John and I traded places, and then I heard what he was talking about:  a horrible clanging; it sounded like someone had emptied the contents of an entire toolbox in our engine.  We quickly decided that I really wanted to take the other car instead.  John helped me move everything from the van to the car, and I was on my way.  (John ended up taking the van into the shop, where it was determined that the van had a bad axle and bearing.  We definitely made the right call!)

I drove north under hazy skies.  After many miles, the sky finally resumed its normal blue hue.  About that time, though, I observed something that was anything but normal.  You might remember the time I saw a woman trying to rescue a pigeon.  At least that woman was on the shoulder of the road at the time I saw her.  On Monday, I noticed a woman who was clearly upset. She started on the right-hand shoulder of I-5, but as the cars went by, she shook her fists in the air, yelled at the vehicles, and ran into the lanes of traffic!  I was driving in the second lane, and I was so relieved that she didn't run out in front of me!  I was also relieved that no one hit her, and that I had seen a motorcycle officer on the side of the road just a minute or two before. I imagine that as soon as he got back on the road again, he saw her and got her the help she so clearly needed.  

From that time, the drive was (thankfully!) rather uneventful. There was a time when traffic came to a standstill, but it was also right at an exit where I saw a Costco.  I took the exit, filled the car with gas, and bought some raspberries.  By the time I got back on the freeway, traffic was flowing again.

Photo:  Mt. Shasta, with green trees in the foreground

I stopped in northern California to take a photo of Mt. Shasta. Soon after, I arrived at my stopping point for the night:  the Super 8 in Yreka (not to be confused with Eureka).  Yreka is a little town of 7,500 with cute mom-and-pop restaurants and antique stores.  I waited in line behind a retired couple to check in to the Super 8. The employee at the desk was friendly.  As I walked to my room, I noticed a young family swimming in the pool.  The most unusual thing I noticed was the really bright green color that my room was painted.  The room was clean and well-kept, though.  Nothing made me feel like anything was amiss.

The next morning as I left my room to go to breakfast, something was clearly amiss.  The entire parking lot was filled with what had to have been the entire Yreka police force.  Officers were milling around, and some were taking particular notice of a car in the parking lot.  I had no idea what was going on, but I knew it couldn't be good. 

When I went inside the breakfast room, other guests were talking. A woman said that a policeman had told her that a man had been shot in the stomach, and that he had died.  I later learned that he hadn't died, but that the case was much more involved that "just" a shooting.

Tuesday night, I looked online for news about what had actually happened.  The suspect apparently had killed a woman in Oregon, kidnapped another woman, drove south and shot the man in the motel, carjacked a car--with part of a family inside--from a gas station in Yreka (I almost filled up in Yreka on Monday morning, but for some reason, did not), then led police on a high-speed chase, before finally being arrested.  Here's a link to a news report about it. 

I was so glad to arrive at my parents's house on Tuesday! 

Have you ever found yourself a little too close to a dangerous situation? 

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Thanks for safety.

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  1. I'm glad that you listened to the soft voice urging you to purchase gas somewhere else.

  2. Oh. My. WORD!!!! I'm glad you were blissfully safe and unaware of all that was going on so near you!!! What a terrifying and horribly sad situation for so many people...

    It isn't easy cleaning out the house of a grandparent/parent. Hopefully you can take it at a relaxed pace.

    Here's to a completely uneventful trip home, whenever it is!!

    1. I can hardly believe it myself. It was bad enough when I learned about the shooting, but then when I heard about everything else, I realized just how close to danger I really was! I guess I just assume that most violent crime isn't committed by strangers to the victims, but in this case, I think it was!

      Relaxed pace isn't happening, but that's OK. I'm here for only a short time, so I want to be as helpful as possible in the time I am here.

      Thanks for your wishes for a completely uneventful trip home--that's exactly what I want, too!

  3. I'm glad your "adventures" were from a safe distance.

    1. A bit too close for my liking, but I am glad that I was safe. My adventures worked out just fine. :-)

  4. God have been watching over you. Thank goodness you did not get down the road and then realize you had car trouble. That would have been bad. I can't believe this terrible ordeal with that murder occurred all around you. So sad for the people involved. It's so unreal. Too much for even a bad Lifetime movie! I feel for you doing all that work of clearing out the house. However, serving your love ones is such a blessing. I just traveled that I-5 up to Eugene/Springfield, Oregon. Yreka is such a lovely little town. We stop there all the time. It just doesn't seem possible that would happen there. Enjoy your grandma. Hug and kiss her.

    1. You are right--it was too much even for a bad Lifetime movie! (Great line!) Yreka was an unlikely location for such a terrible thing.

      You are also right about what a blessing it is to serve family. I'm so happy to be here and to be able to help.

  5. What an adventure. I would have been terrified. You made a trip that I would not want to make all by myself. Glad you made it to your folks safely - and with stories to tell!

    1. It's not usually a scary drive--just long. I'm anticipating (or at least, hoping!) that the return trip will be nice and uneventful.

  6. That is one scary story! Glad you are OK and it is now just a story for the books.


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