While on vacation last week in San Francisco this happened. Around 10pm, nearly home from a lovely evening in the city, my good friend Miki and I were heading south on the 101 freeway, already in our exit lane, when traffic came to a dead stop. This exit is currently a construction site for a new overpass and changes to the exit lane. About 15 minutes before we arrived we learned that four electrical wires fell onto the 101 freeway after a crane knocked down a transmission tower. Nice going PG&E.
We and hundreds of strangers were then stranded on the freeway for nearly five hours, with zero communication from any kind of official. Not even a CHP on a motorcycle, who, of course could have easily driven between the stranded vehicles with a bull horn to let us know what the heck was going on and when we might actually make it home.
AM radio, our only communication to the outside world, tried to keep us informed, periodically stating that PG&E would soon be arriving to shut down power, remove the lines from the highway, and send us on our merry way. NOT. About two hours later PG&E finally showed up, albeit without the proper equipment to remedy the situation. Really?
comedy tragedy of errors we were surprisingly zen about the whole situation. Maybe it was because it was late and we were tired. Maybe it was because we realized we had no options, short of abandoning the car, walking off the freeway and UBERing home.
About three plus hours into this situation, with no word on when we might be set free, nature began to
call roar. Hum, what to do? We noticed a few women had crossed over the concrete divider onto the dirt around the construction site to discreetly relieve themselves. Not the best option, but clearly no other option existed.
Miki, wearing a dress, followed suit like the other women, and went for it. For me the choices were a bit more dicey. Why you ask? I was wearing a jumpsuit!! Figures, right? I’ve always considered myself very resourceful. This was certainly put to the test that night. Without getting all TMI on you, let’s just say I had a “MacGyver” moment on the 101, not one I care to replicate anytime soon!
An hour later, at 2:30am, a lone CHP showed up and had everyone turn around and drive north on the southbound lane to exit.
This nightmarish experience got me thinking that certain emergency supplies must now always be in my trunk (and yours)— just in case. Living in earthquake country this should be a given, but it’s something we just don’t get around to doing.
First on the list of must needed items is of course a device to use when nature calls. Believe it or not this portable urinal works for males and females. If that doesn’t seem doable, there is always Depends!
This site and this one provide comprehensive emergency supply lists for your car, home, school, etc.
Other items that will soon be making their way into my trunk, include:
Charger for phone
Water bowl/treats/food/meds (if you travel with your pet)
From this day forward I will never get into my car with a full bladder. I challenge you to do the same!