It was close to 4 PM in the afternoon and typical of the Los Angeles basin, traffic was already getting quite heavy and so things were quite slow as we tried to make our way up to Costa Mesa. We proceeded for about 5 miles before I saw flashing red lights in the rear view mirror. I stopped and tried to make way for the vehicle to pass but then noticed he just pulled in behind me and opened his door. The next thing I knew, he was accusing me of hit and run and wasn't too interested in my story about an elephant sitting on my hood.
Another patrol car arrived and soon we were guided to the nearest police station where they talked to us further and then made a few calls to substantiate our story before releasing us with their apology. For two people that were not seasoned travelers, this was turning out to be quite a day. We got directions back to the Freeway, tried to call our friends but there was no answer so we just left a message that we were again further delayed but getting closer.
I was absolutely exhausted having had little sleep that past two night and not handling, quite frankly, any of this very well at all. I asked Jane if she wouldn't mind driving the rest of the distance since at this time of day it was still going to be a good 45 minutes to an hour in traffic before we reached their place and I thought I would take a short nap. I crawled into the back of the camper, took off my pants and lay down to get some shut eye and I was asleep in no time. Jane had the instructions but it was getting later in the day and with so much traffic and not being used to LA driving, it was a bit stressful. She had rolled down both windows to get some cool air flowing through the cab which may have helped her to stay focused on the road but she was not paying attention as the instructions went flying out the window. She saw the signs that said "Costa Mesa" but she could not remember the turnoff and when reached for the piece of paper it wasn't there.
She had only one choice and that was to pull off the freeway and see if the instructions were on the floor as she put in another call to Janice. It took a minute or two to work her way to the shoulder but she finally made it and came to a complete stop turning off the engine just as Janice answered on the other end of the line. I was off into dream land when the camper came to a complete stop and I could hear the engine being turned off. Although it still sounded like traffic a bit outside, I knew it was LA and traffic was supposedly everywhere. So that did not hit me.
What also did not hit me was that my pants were on the floor of the camper. I got up, opened the camper door and stepped outside to see where we were. Just then, Jane, got her instructions from Janice, started the engine back up and before I could react to anything she was back on the freeway and on her way. There I stood in my boxers, t-shirt and sheet-wrinkled face with no shoes on. "THIS CAN'T BE HAPPENING TO ME!" is about all I could say to myself as I embarrassingly looked around at the rubber neck traffic. It was only about 20 minutes later when I heard the siren again approaching my position.
Thank goodness it was the same Highway Patrolman who couldn't help but believe my story since I was the only idiot he had met in that whole day. Fortunately for me, I had taken down the original instructions and so I knew the turnoff and the address and so the patrol man offered to drop me off in my boxers and all as we both laughed about our crazy day. Jane had found the turn-off but she turned left when she should have turned right and so before she knew it, she was about 4 miles out of the way. She knew Janice was not at home yet so she called her cell and got new directions and was soon back on track. In the meantime, I was dropped off at Andy and Janice's home by the patrolman but now it was starting to get somewhat dark outside. No one was home so I sat on the front porch and waited.
About 20 minutes later, Jane drove by, noticed someone in boxer shorts sitting on the front porch of her friend's house. Jane did not stop but drove around the corner, and called Janice who then called the police and you can just guess the rest of the story. We enjoyed the evening with our friends laughing our heads off but that next morning we quickly packed the camper back up, and headed back to Arizona never to see the California coast again.
Jeff Gustafson is a media professional with iMpro, LLC. An accomplished singer/songwriter as well as founder of http://www.myhatt.com an international cultural awareness concept and StrategyGolfCentral.