So I go down to Stanford in a rented car. I get the car through a website: https://relayrides.com/ It is fun. Individuals rent out their own cars and you choose which car you would like, normally through an algorithm involving proximity and price.
I get to SLAC and wallow in nostalgia. Lots and lots of old friends. Melinda and I are walking down a corridor when Burt Richter, Stan Brodsky, JoAnne Hewett and Marty Breidenbach came out of their offices at the same time. What a corridor! We all cried on each others’ shoulders. Thanks to everyone who gave me such a warm Californian welcome. The air is full of helicopters – Obama is coming to the university later in the week.
I go quickly to Palo Alto Bayshore to photograph advocets. I go to Big 5, the best shop in the world, http://big5sportinggoods.com/store/ and then to the bank. Somewhere along this route my incredible camera with the really amazing 400mm bird lens is stolen from the car. Palo Alto is not Okinawa. How? I don’t know but I think I had to lock both doors on the rental individually or by some informed slight of hand on the doorlocker thing. Don’t worry I got my revenge on that car.
I make a very bad decision.
“Why drive back up 280 when you could drive through the redwoods up 84? Pass Alice’s Restaurant and cruise down to the ocean as the sun is going down and drive up the wild Pacific coast line into SF, er instead.”
I take the wrong option.
Cruising down to the ocean as the sun is going down on a very wet and muddy 84, the back of the car just slides away. I try to correct, which makes things much, much worse and in a nanosecond I am plunging off the side of the road. I collide with a baby redwood. I thought I was going to die. I survived but not the car.
I am Ok. Thank you seat belt and airbags. This is the first car accident I have ever had, except for one on Jura.
I suppose I should have checked the tires before I set off.