No Good Deed goes Unpunished
Here is a funny update/short story for you all. If you read or followed the blog from my entire PCT hike in 2016, then you’ll be very familiar with what I’m talking about. For those of you who did not, I’ll give you a quick back story…
Just prior to embarking on my PCT thru hike in 2016, I bought a 1993 Honda Civic for $300. I changed the oil, put some new cheap tires on it, and called it road worthy. Road worthy for what? Well, to drive 2,500 miles across the country from Florida to Southern California to get Schweppes, Katana and myself to the southern terminus of the trail. Should the vehicle make the entire drive, my plan was to give it away to someone who seemed to be in need/deserve a working vehicle.
Long story short, we made the drive across the country, but not without a few hiccups. The exhaust blew out before we’d even made it out of Florida. We lost a hub cap somewhere outside of New Orleans. The AC broke coming across east Texas. And the Radiator cracked while chugging up a mountain just outside of Escondido, CA. We limped that vehicle almost all the way to the Mexican border, sounding like a broken lawn mower and filling up the radiator every fifteen minutes or so. But the old girl made it and so did we!
Without going into too much more detail, we met a mother and daughter who offered to give us a ride the rest of the way to the border and even offered to let us park the car in their driveway for however long it took me to finish the trail. Combine this kind gesture with the fact that the 17 year old daughter was about to start college, had never owned a vehicle, and also had an uncle who owned an auto body shop not far away; I figured we’d found the perfect candidates to receive a free car!
So I signed the title over to the daughter, took the license plate off, thanked them for their kindness, and walked away feeling pretty good about the entire situation. I seemed to have made one mistake, however. Firstly, I cancelled my insurance on the vehicle later that week, but forgot to kill the tags. After a few months on trail, I received words from my parents that a letter came in the mail informing me that my driver’s license was suspended for owning active tags that weren’t in an insured vehicle (which was obviously still registered to me. This didn’t click). This didn’t really affect me too much at the time because I obviously wasn’t doing a whole lot of driving… none actually. So it was only a small headache to get all of that straightened out with some phone calls and small hit to my wallet.
Flash forward almost two years to present day, and I just received a letter in the mail from California Highway Patrol. I have absolutely no idea what that mother and daughter ended up doing with the Honda after I signed the title over to them, but they certainly never transferred the title or registered it. The letter from the California Highway Patrol was informing me that a man named “Jose Garcia” was pulled over in the Honda in El Cajon while using false tags. CHP used the VIN number on the car to discover that I was still the legal owner of the vehicle. The letter is to inform me that my poor little Honda is impounded in Borrego Springs (somewhere between Disneyland and San Diego).
I’m now faced with the dilemma of doing nothing, or taking the necessary steps to get the vehicle out of impound. I’m truly not sure what the potential consequences are for either. But if I have any readers in California near Borrego Springs who want a 1993 Honda Civic (obviously in running condition) for the price of getting it out of impound… it’s yours. I’ll make any necessary phone calls or fill out any paperwork to help make that happen/official.
So that’s my funny story/update for you. What is the moral you ask? I’m not sure there is one. You try to do something nice and give away a working vehicle; only for said vehicle to end up in the hands of one Jose Garcia two years later, using false tags, impounded in Borrego Springs-California, still legally belonging to me, after being privy to god knows what sort of derelictions. What tangled webs we mortals weave…