Just Another California Story

Stories from Curtis

Last month I wrote about an encounter I had with an Uber driver in Oakland, California when I flew down there for a quick one day trip.

We just got back from California again, this time for a four-day trip to take in a church event in Modesto and to spend a little time with my Grandparents who live there. Once again, we bring a story back from there.

If you have never been to the Modesto area, this time of year is an exceptionally beautiful time to visit. Not too hot yet, but warmer than here, lots of flowering trees and the roses are just amazing! If you get a chance to go, I think you would enjoy it.

Grandpa and I taking a stroll around his yard. Marla caught us unaware as we were trying to remember which one of his daughters were married by this redwood tree. Good memories.

I’ve been going there as long as I can remember so it is almost like a second or third home meaning I may be biased, but I don’t think so.

A trip to the Cafe.

The Monday we were there also happened to be Marla’s birthday. To celebrate, Grandpa’s and us piled into our Suburban and headed off to a restaurant that is about a half hour away for lunch. It’s a great spot called Jantz Café, owned and operated by a Mennonite family.
(It is a restaurant and a bakery, so not the best place to start your low carb diet.)

The gal that seated us knew some people from Othello. It’s a small world. After lunch, we headed back to take naps and get ready for dinner plans.

A drowsy drive awakened.

We were driving along, chatting some and fighting post lunch drowsiness when we saw something that I thought only happened in movies.

We were cruising along at about 55 miles per hour on a two-lane road out in the country when we heard an engine whine heading towards us.

It was rapped all the way out and sounded like the driver thought the red line was just another color! The sound caught our attention and I looked ahead to see a car approaching us from the other direction at a very high rate of speed.

It looked like a midsize import of the kind that kids like to fix up, modify, and race, so I didn’t think too much of it at first. Just another kid hot rodding. But before I could start dozing again, I noticed that I could see the radiator. A weird mod, I remember thinking. No grill to get in the way. This guy was serious!

Then I noticed that there were pieces of the front bumper dragging on the ground, which seemed even weirder. As it drew closer, I noticed other flaps of plastic flapping around both sides and some on the hood.

He wouldn't be stopped for anything.

The car kept accelerating and just before we met, the rest of the bumper let lose in a mini explosion of plastic with pieces going up and over the car, around both sides, and even some on the ground with a “whack, whack” as the car ran over them. It didn’t slow down the driver.

Their foot was firmly planted on the accelerator and as it shot past us, the wind from it actually shook our large Suburban.

Grandpa and I looked at each other in shock and we all started wondering aloud what that guys deal was. Of course, we didn’t get a look at the person so it could have been a gal as well. I would have estimated it went by us approaching 100 mph but who knows.

It was a hit and run driver.

As we discussed what could have happened someone mentioned maybe it was a hit and run. We drove on about another mile to the next four way stop, and sure enough, there was a half-ton pickup facing the same way we were going with its side smashed in.

He had been hit so hard it appeared he had been shoved from our lane all the way across past the oncoming lane. The impact had hit hard enough it had knocked the drive shaft apart and he was dead in the water.

As hard as the car hit that pickup, for it to still be going was amazing. I’d like to know what kind of car it was as it was one tough vehicle!

None the less, now we know that not all the action in California is just imagination! Although Grandpa did say he had never seen anything like that in all his 89 years, so I can’t promise a recurrence if you visit!

Author Info

Curtis Wray
CEO, C&E Trenching LLC

Digging dirt since 1994.

And we don't plan to stop anytime soon.

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