The Mammoth Effect

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Hello to you all!  I just wanted to share with you some things I’ve been learning.  Perhaps I can lend a hand to some of you with perspective in regards to life.

Back in August I was excited to “replan” a little father son trip to Mammoth Mountain for some serious snowboarding with my boy Jack.  I say replay because in the 2012 season we tried to go, but Jack came down with a serious bout of stomach flu which kept him bedridden the entire weekend.  So this was “the year”!  We even had snow, which has been in short supply over the last couple years.  Anyway, this time I was super excited and had the whole trip planned out; first off there was snow with more to come, the days worked perfectly, I got a screaming deal on the hotel room/lift ticket package, it was going to be magical!  Fresh powder, waxed boards (my wife pointed out to me that I spent two hours waxing two boards), and sunshine!  The Mammoth Effect.

We planned on leaving on a Wednesday night after I was done with work.  That evening I got home, the little woman had dinner to-go for us, we were all packed, and ready to go.  Oh yes, my wife was now coming on the trip!  This was a good thing!  Our family had suffered losses of dear family and it was no time to stay home alone.  Or was it?  More on that later. . . well, we all piled into my commuter van, a 2004 Chevy Venture van and off we went. . . our first stop, Big Pine.  It was going to be amazing!!

It was about midnight when we pulled into the Bristle Cone Pine Motel (there is no website for it).  Yes, I took my family to a motel.  This was the first time we’ve ever shared in this adventure together but I was excited!  (About an hour before arriving, my wife starts in with the subject of bed bugs.  She told me of a friend who experienced bed bugs on the mattress of a hotel bed, and how to check for them.  This dissertation  included a play by play of her friend’s experience and a step by step tutorial of how to check the mattress for bedbugs.  That promptly flowed into an impromptu internet search for magnified pictures of bedbugs and what they look like all filled up with human blood and what they look like “empty”, in addition to what bites from a bed bug look like.  My wife stated that if there was even a sign of any sort of bed bug or bed bug remains, that she would be sleeping in the van for the night.).


We had never stayed at a motel that offers a fish and game cleaning facility!


In the morning we were rested and feeling happy in the fresh crisp mountain air of the Eastern Sierras!  We left the little motel (there were no bed bugs, but there was coral formica in the bathroom) and continued our trek up the 395.  We passed the town of Bishop (the best bread ever, at Erik Shatt’s bakkery (yes, with two k’s)), and I was getting more excited every step up that step grade, heading toward Mammoth!  It was great to be with family, have a beautiful day and the promise of cut rate snowboarding ahead of us!  Until smoke started streaming out from under the hood.  Of course me being the eternal optimist, I thought the engine was just a little hot, no biggie, we’d give her a rest and then pick up where we left off.  However when we popped the hood we could see a crack in the radiator hose and knew we were destined for a little tow by AAA.


Getting a tow on a stunning day!


After a brief potty stop across the highway in a ditch, and assuring our son that yes, he would make it home in time to work Sunday morning (it was only Thursday), the tow truck pulled up and towed us the last 40 miles into Mammoth.  Even after all that, there was still hope and the promise of a weekend of much needed rest, with the family!  The garage we towed it to assured us they could replace the hose and thermostat if needed, and they’d call us to come pick it up.  Well, yeah that didn’t happen.  Despite their best efforts over the weekend, the car was looking at needing thousands of dollars in extensive repairs, even more than the thing was worth.  We did snowboard, but the snow was slushy and we didn’t get as much time in as we would have liked.

On our way back home we had to rent a big UHaul truck and trailer to tow the van home ourselves.  It was a super expensive trip, but I can say that perspective is everything.  We three enjoyed spending time together, had great food, snowboarding and even a little shopping.  The bottom line is, God is in control, in the good and the bad.  And there’s always something to be thankful for.


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