September 12 (a Friday), I took the day off from work so I could prepare for and go to a retreat with the ladies from church. I was very excited to get to know them all better and almost as excited that the retreat was in a log cabin in the mountains.
In the morning, I baked a batch of cookies and then left for my hair appointment — my hair lady was able to work me in at 10. I was out of the salon by about 12:30 and went straight to the grocery store to pick up some last minute ingredients for the lasagna I was making. (This was the point at which I tumbled into despair about my new choice of hair color — catching my reflection in the freezer section doors — but don’t worry, I’m all better about it now.) When I got home, I made a lasagna, and I have to say, I was pretty proud of myself considering I’d never made a homemade lasagna before (I did make a “Mexican” lasagna once, but it wasn’t my finest cooking). I was excited that I’d get to walk into that retreat and eat the same thing the other ladies would be eating, only better. I would offer the lasagna to the other ladies, so they could stop feeling sorry for my food situation and realize I do not suffer one little bit (except that yes, I would suffer for eating so much cheese, but whatevs, it was a special occasion).
It took me longer to get packed and get the lasagna finished and leave the house than expected. I had planned to leave by 1 or 2, but I ended up leaving at 5:45, right as Frank was getting home from work. Later I would be very thankful that I got to kiss him goodbye one last time before I died a scary death, never to be found, alive or dead — at least for many, many years.
I got on the road, put on my iPod, and enjoyed my drive through the foothills and the mountains. The retreat was in Crouch, just outside Garden Valley. I was driving the Santa Fe, thank goodness, because I’m not sure how Pinky would have fared. Not well, I think. The directions were on the seat next to me, and I consulted them every few minutes, even though I knew that I was supposed to turn at Banks on FR-24.
Now. We had just gotten new cell phones, and this is important later. As you know, phones generally don’t come with the necessary cell phone accessories like car chargers and memory cards, and we had not yet ordered those for our new phones. And I’m trying to let my battery run all the way down and die before I plug it in — I’m hoping that will make the battery last longer. That day, I should have just charged the thing all the way. But I didn’t, because I thought, “Oh, I’ll be there in an hour and a half. I have my charger with me; I’ll just charge the phone when I get to the cabin.”
When I passed Cascade Raft & Kayak, I started watching for Banks, because I knew it was north of the rafting place, as we had passed it on the way to our drop point. I got to Banks, and I saw one sign pointing toward Garden Valley and Crouch, but the road was called something else, no indication of it being a forest road. I looked everywhere for signs and didn’t see any. I’d been past Banks one time before, and I wasn’t even driving, so I had no idea if this was the only turn or not. I thought it might be, but I just wasn’t sure. So I didn’t turn at the first street.
That ended up being the only street off the highway in Banks. After about two miles of highway (with no exits or turnaround points, as this part of 55 runs right along the Payette River), I finally got to a turnout. I pulled over there and stopped the car so I could get my bearings and figure out what to do next.
To be continued…