The Homecoming That Almost Wasn’t

Near the Oregon Washington Border, I think it is Mt Adams.
Near the Oregon Washington Border, I think it is Mt Adams.

A few days ago I drove to Seattle from my home in Idyllwild in Southern California, long trip, 1300 miles. It was my 2nd round trip within a month. I dropped off 4 nudes for tonight’s opening The Nude (and nothing butt…) at the Figure | Ground Gallery, and picked up my pastel show, The Wave Series. I love driving and my little Honda Fit Sport, Ella, drove flawlessly. And the western landscapes is stunning. I kept marvelling outloud to myself, how beautiful it is — and making plans to do plein air workshops at several spots.

Figure Ground Gallery Opening of The Nude
Figure Ground Gallery Opening of The Nude

After trading out the shows I immediately headed back home. My route would take me through Reno where I had plans to have tacos with Boone Cutler, my mentor in PsyOp, which I am using constructively for the rising figurative art movement and deconstructively for nihilistic postmodernist and their useful idiot fan base. It was late at night and I was within 30 miles of Susanville were I planned to beddown, and resume to Reno the next morning. My car was on cruise control going a modest 57 miles an hour on a rural highway. I hadn’t but two or three cars for the last 45 minutes. And BAM!!! A mule deer with antlers was framed closed up in my windshield. Then poof, it disappeared, as my car continued to cut through space as if it deflected a pastry. Though the crumbled hook and smashed windshield told another story.

Ella the deer meet and Ella won, but barely.
Ella the deer meet and Ella won, but barely. At the Susanville Diamond Mountain Casino

I was in the middle of nowhere, 11 pm, no traffic, and my car was running. I was afraid if I turned it off, it would not restart, so I continued on at 40 miles an hour to Susanville 30 miles away. I pulled into the police station but it was closed, reported to 911, then called the Diamond Mountain Casino, and they had a vacancy. I pulled my car in their parking lot and found a nice discreet place for it, hiding the front from viewers. And funny enough, the receptionist after hearing about the deer episode shared that her mom it a deer three weeks ago. That made me feel a little better.

I relaxed as much as I could and got a good night’s sleep without taking any further action. In the morning I contacted my Idyllwild friends, the Surbers, Bill is a car person. And he looped his son David into the discussion. Within an hour and a half Team Surber went through at least 25 scenarios: about buying another car, getting picked up, shipping the 16 framed glass pastels (yikes), creating strategic stops, and etc. We opted for getting a U-haul truck and dolly for the car. By 1 pm, Ella (my car) was up on the trailer all ready for the next leg of the journey. I opted to spend one more night there, just to sleep and veg, and come down from the shock.

Michael Newberry with Ella
Michael Newberry with Ella
Derek from Susanville U-Haul, was a life saver. They had everything I needed to quickly get back on my way.
Derek from Susanville U-Haul, was a life saver. They had everything I needed to quickly get back on my way.

I was sorry to miss my face to face meeting with Boone, but he appreciated that it took a wild buck to drag me away from our appointment.

The next thing was to get the car to the Surbers and from there we’d find of repair shop for the car. By connections we got in touch with Nino, a guy that loves to repair NASCAR cars, he had a sleek Petty Blue 1973 Plymouth Satellite, that is was fixing like new!

I got home yesterday, still with a ton of adrenaline, I hung the sixteen pastels in my cabin studio. With the moral that at the end of any trip, no matter how trying, it has to end with gratefulness for life, friends, journeys, and art!

9 Wave Series Pastels in my Idyllwild Studio
9 Wave Series Pastels in my Idyllwild Studio
4 of the Wave Series Pastels in My Idyllwild Studio
4 of the Wave Series Pastels in My Idyllwild Studio
3 of the Wave Series pastels in my Idyllwild studio
3 of the Wave Series pastels in my Idyllwild studio

Michael, Idyllwild, 10/7/2021

5 Replies to “The Homecoming That Almost Wasn’t”

  1. Your a better man than me ! Great efforts from your friends -great to hear you were not hurt . I am not a good driver over long distances . Don’t know how you do it.

    1. Thank you Gardenia! And thanks for the comment on the outlook, I thought it would be a good idea to hang all the pastels in my studio as a good end to the journey. A nice way to reclaim the things we can do.

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