Thank you, Caltrans

Forgot to post this when it happened, a few months ago…

Tuesday, when the “bomb cyclone” hit the Bay Area. We agreed to pick up my sister-in-law Diane at SFO on her return from China.

Bad driving conditions. Worn windshield wipers, intermittent rain and gusty wind, glaring headlights, almost invisible lane markers. Like driving through a Matisse. Fortunately, traffic was light, and we were all cautious.

We were on the road by 11 pm, CF and I and the little dog Cooper. The plane was delayed due to weather, and Diane didn’t clear customs and immigration until midnight.

Coming back across the San Mateo Bridge, the road noise got louder. Was it the truck following on the left? No, it passed. The volume increased. CF and Diane were chatting away in Chinese. The tire pressure light on the dashboard was on, and I had a sudden realization. Oh shit oh shit. A flat tier on the San Mateo bridge after midnight in a storm.

We pulled into one of those emergency pullouts. I got out and looked, in the wind and the drizzle — the left rear tire was mangled and flopping over the rim. CF called AAA and got through to one of the most unhelpful people you could imagine. Someone more interested in chewing gum than helping motorists stranded on a dark and stormy night…

After apparently rummaging around the cheat sheets on her desk for many minutes, and putting us on hold while she went and checked with her supervisor, the completely unsympathetic young woman finally came back and told us that Triple-A couldn’t help us — we needed to call Caltrans instead.

We called Caltrans. There a brisk woman told us that we shouldn’t call them directly, we should call our insurance company and they would call Caltrans.

Called AAA once again, and this time got someone who knew what to do. Half an hour later a giant Caltrans tow truck pulled up behind us, and an incredibly efficient and friendly driver in a yellow slicker soon had us on our way.

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