The last day, for all intents and purposes. I drove up I-5 in the rental car, to my sister's in the Bay Area. I had been supposed to arrive there just before Thanksgiving, but due to the wreck, I'd decided to cancel the reservations I'd made at Sequoia and Yosemite, and just go on to her house.
I got there about the middle of the afternoon. She helped me unload the rental car and return it, and I accidentally got more bits of glass in her washing machine when I attempted to wash the rest of my clothes (I'd shaken them out as well as I could, honest). At least it didn't damage her machine like the one in the motel.
I spent the weekend with my niece at her apartment, then went back to my sister's for the last couple of days before Thanksgiving. The day after Thanksgiving I climbed aboard an airplane headed for Seattle.
The plane ride was a bit -- boisterous. You see, I arrived home in Tacoma the day before the World Trade Organization riots in Seattle in late November, 1999, and the plane was full of protestors. I'd been so out of touch that I had no idea what was going on, but my memories of the WTO protests are mixed in with apartment hunting and car shopping (don't ever, ever try to buy a new car and find a new apartment in the same week) and pouring rain and a lot of running around like a chicken with my head cut off.
I did eventually find an apartment. And a car. And, in the midst of all this, before I moved in, I went to the library to check my email and found a message from my other sister (I have three) telling me that my oldest brother-in-law had died. The message was a couple of days old, and they were holding the funeral as I read the message. I liked my oldest brother-in-law. I wish I could have made it to his funeral, but I like to hope he would have understood.
At any rate, on December 1, 1999, I moved into my new apartment, went to bring my cats home from their temporary lodgings, and settled back in to normal life again.
Even given how it ended, I still wouldn't have missed that trip for the world. It certainly didn't cure my itchy feet -- in 2000 I drove to both Crater Lake and Yellowstone, and went on a kayak trip down the Missouri River, and I've been traveling as much as I've been able to ever since. I hope someday to make another long trip, this one across the midsection of the U.S., north to the Maritimes and back across Canada. Maybe in another four years...
And maybe I'll blog that one as it happens.