Sat 18 Apr 2015
Around Christmas, my only pair of slippers came apart, and a cobbler in San Rafael insisted the damage could not be repaired. This would not be that big a deal for most people, but I wear size 15-wide, and no shoe store in Marin County handles slippers that large.
I went online to see if anyone around here does and found a shoe store in Santa Rosa which has shoes and slippers that big and bigger, Santa Rosa Shoes on Cleveland Avenue, so Lynn and I took my car to Santa Rosa Saturday to check out the selection. Sure, that was a long way to go for a pair of slippers, but who wants cold feet?
We headed east on the Point Reyes-Petaluma Road on a warm, sunny day until we reached the McEvoy Olive Ranch on Red Hill where a Highway Patrol officer standing on the road signaled us to stop. We, of course, did.
The reason was obvious. Less than an hour earlier (around 1:45 p.m.), a big rig tractor-and-trailer combination, which the CHP later said was traveling too fast for the road, had overturned. It was now lying on its side. Its cab was still on the pavement, but its trailer was dangling precariously down a steep embankment.
“The driver of the truck, 54-year-old Douglas Schmidt of Winton [Merced County], was uninjured,” Highway Patrol press officer Andrew Barclay reported today. “Schmidt related that the refrigerated truck was full with miscellaneous grocery items and that he had lost control of the vehicle after he felt the trailer begin to sway from side to side as he navigated a series of reversing curves.”
One lane of the road was open, but by the time I’d picked out a pair of slippers and we’d enjoyed dinner in Kettles Vietnamese Bistro near the shoe store, the situation had changed. When we tried to drive back home on the Point Reyes-Petaluma Road, we discovered both lanes were blocked.
The heavy equipment being used to pull the trailer back onto the road needed all the maneuvering room it could get.
Traffic was being rerouted onto San Antonio Road or back through Petaluma to Western Avenue. The officer directing traffic said he believed the San Antonio Road-Highway 101 connection, which has been closed for construction, was momentarily open. So we tried that route. Bad idea.
Not only was the connection still closed, we ended up driving for miles on frontage roads before heading back to Petaluma. From there, we drove west on Western Avenue toward Hicks Valley and saw an amazing scene. All the traffic on the Point Reyes-Petaluma Road was being diverted onto much smaller, rural roads, making backroads seem as crowded as Highway 101.
When we finally got to Hicks Valley, another roadblock was diverting eastbound traffic off the Point Reyes-Petaluma Road. But we were westbound, and we were able to continue on our way back to Point Reyes Station. It had been a surprisingly tiring hunting trip, considering that our quarry had merely been a pair of slippers, but we did survive.
The road, which had been closed nine hours, was reopened today at 12:40 a.m.
CHP press officer Andrew Barclay reported this morning, “Our preliminary investigation indicates that unsafe speed for the roadway was the likely cause of this collision.”