At this rate, we're going to develop a water phobia.
No, our ceiling is still in place, and our apartment is completely dry. Fortunately, this time, the rain is outside. Unfortunately, this time, we had to spend a lot of time out in it.
January usually signals the end of fire season and the beginning of the rainy season. This is actually can be a big problem, because when all of that rain comes down in burn areas, there is a tendency for mudslides. Given that Malibu was the site of a couple fires this year, and the predictions have said this storm is bringing the heaviest rainfall in several years (when we saw water shooting up through the 110 freeway), there was some concern.
Not for us, though, we're from the Midwest where we can drive through snow blindfolded with no brakes, right? Not quite.
I got a call from Cecilie around 8:00 and she said she'd hit a rock in Malibu Canyon and her tire was flat. She wanted me to come and be with her because AAA was going to take a while to get there, and it was dark, windy and rainy. Having a vague idea of what it would be like, I left work and started driving. Before I reached our apartment, roughly a third of the way between my work and Malibu Canyon, I'd already passed two parts of PCH that were flooded. There was virtually no one out, which was good. It was also good that I've driven PCH between Sunset and the canyon a zillion times, because the road was not easy to see.
When I got into the canyon, my lights were good for maybe 20 feet and the fog was pretty dense. Cecilie warned me of the rocks and said snowplows were going through the canyon clearing rocks. I didn't see much on the way in but there wasn't much in the way of visibility to begin with. I finally made my way to Cecilie's car, pulled behind it, put my hazard lights on and waited for Cecilie to get in. She got in, told me we weren't expecting a tow for another hour, potentially, and so we prepared for a long wait.
At night the sense of space in the canyon drops considerably and you don't really have a feel for the area. Really, you could mistake it for a country road and wouldn't necessarily think there was a steep drop a few feet off the road. But tonight that closed-in feel was twice as bad, and it was like being in a very small room. With lights flashing in our faces. We waited, watched a movie (Hotel Chevalier on my phone), and then finally the truck came and loaded Cecilie's car.
We began the slow drive out of the canyon and almost immediately had to swerve to avoid rocks in the road -- rocks the size of a basketball on the small end of the scale. There were three or four major slides on the road, with progressively bigger rocks in the road as we moved down. As far as I could tell, all those slides happened in the thirty minutes or so that I'd been in the canyon waiting with Cecilie.
After the absolute most tense drive home I've ever had (sorry, Ragged Point; sorry, Christmas Eve 2002), we arrived at a gas station off of PCH and headed home. The tow truck driver told us that there was a larger slide that completely has blocked the tunnel midway through Malibu Canyon -- and he had several more cars to pull out.
So once again, we hope everyone in canyon country is safe (while wondering why you'd want to live there), especially the road crews and tow truck operators. We are back in the Palisades, warm and dry and just fine, but with another errand to run this weekend.
And to cap it all off, our power has just shut down for the second time; doubtless to go down more tonight. At least it's not a work day tomorrow.