I’ve written on my website about my solo trip to Sedona and The Grand Canyon and I’ve told you about the amazing highs and lows of travelling alone. Now I’m ready to confess a really embarrassing situation that happened near the end of my time in Arizona.
I was making the return trip from Sedona to the Phoenix area where I’d booked a hotel in a town called Surprise. Starting out at ten in the morning, I knew I had a long drive ahead, but having spent the week with Sedona’s sculpted red mountains and mysterious vortexes, I was feeling strong and confident.
Picture the scene: endless switchbacks and hairpin turns up and down mountains, hour after hour of going around and around. Other-worldly scenery that you don’t dare look at for too long where nature has layered the physical world’s history in sedimentary layers, each distinguishable from the others. The geological story of the world towers to the sky in the red rock that is native to this part of our world.
I don’t know why I didn’t pull off or stop somewhere. I knew I was getting bug-eyed as I approached the Phoenix area. Now the land flattened out. Ahead was my hotel and the successful completion of this adventure.
I saw a sign for Surprise. Yeah, I was almost at the end. Then I noticed another lane that seemed to get off the main highway and likely headed for surprise. In my foggy state I decided to take it.
Oh, oh! Too late. It turned out to be one-way the wrong way. Immediately I heard a siren. The flashing lights of a police car faced me.
I got out of the car fast. The officer looked nervous. I wanted him to see that I was just a little old woman: harmless: no gun in this land of guns. Just a nice Canadian who got confused.
I could see him checking the California license plates of my rental car.
“I’m Canadian,” I assured him. “I’m just so shocked at what I did. I can’t believe I drove the wrong way on a one-way road. I guess I’ve been driving too long and got over-tired,” etc. etc.
He was beginning to relax. It seemed like hours but finally he called the fire department. Why the fire department? He wouldn’t allow me to get back behind the wheel and needed help. A fire truck with a crew of three arrived. One fireman was assigned to drive my car to my hotel where the rental company would pick it up. (No keys for me.) Then the policeman drove me to my hotel where we met the fireman. These two nice young men carried my belongings to my second-floor room since the elevator was out of service.
I thanked them profusely. They were so kind.
The policeman turned to me and said, “Well, if that happened to my grandmother, I’d want someone to take good care of her.”
“Your grandmother!” I was about to protest. Then I thought better of it. Leave well enough alone, Mary. You’re really lucky you met this policeman and not some mean guy.