“Stubbed Tow!”

Tuesday December 27th, 2022
From the messy desk of Amanda Eichstaedt

Stubbed Tow…

Cheda’s garage is 100 this year. Congratulations to Hillary for keeping things going. Dewey and I will discuss the history tomorrow on Swimming Upstream at 8:30 AM.

About six months or so ago Mike on the Ridge asked me about the fact that the last remaining tow truck was going away at the end of 2022. I checked in at the garage and it is true. You might recall that there used to be more trucks, and the one flatbed. As the trucks no longer are qualified under the California Air Resources Board, they must leave California. Likely the truck and others like it, will be sold to a state that has less strict emissions standards. So still emitting, just not here in good ol’ Cali.

Photo swiped from my nephew Steve Bunce’s Facebook page.

Just this past week, I called AAA to help out a pal who’s rig had blown a head gasket. The pal did not have AAA, and they wanted to donate their car to KWMR since it was beyond repair. Note to self, the donation team does not pick up cars on the side of a road. They need to be “somewhere.” So with my call to AAA, after talking to Tim Bunce (who was out in San Rafael after dropping off a vehicle somewhere), he was almost 100% sure that he would get the tow, and to call him back after calling it in. I did call him and things were in process.

In about 40 minutes the texts from AAA came in and informed us that the driver was at the car, and yes, it was Tim. The vehicle was moved and Tim went on about his day, pulling folks out of the ditch, extracting locked keys from the inside of vehicles, and jumpstarting folks with dead batteries. I am not sure if you have ever seen Tim in action. It’s as if the tow truck is an actual extension of his being. He is really, really good at what he does.

So what is going to happen to West Marin once we don’t have a tow truck? That remains to be seen, but I would put $5 (and I’m not a big gambler) that folks who are stranded for whatever reason are going to have to wait at least twice the time for a tow or jump, or longer.

In 2016 there was a class action lawsuit against AAA. I’m not an expert, but I understand that the “contracts” were not so much between AAA and the towing operations, it was AAA calling all the shots. Several of the companies are no longer in business.

I have been a AAA member for a long, long, time. I have used it twice. Once when I lived in North Carolina, and once last week. I imagine that many towers from OTH (over the hill) are not interested in sending their crew members to the lighthouse from Petaluma, Novato, or San Rafael. One of the companies that expressed interest was informed by AAA that they would start to get their mileage paid, once they reached Nicasio.

I am learning how to create short-form audio journalism, along with some of my colleagues at KWMR. The story should be timely, include a character, and have relevance to listeners. Well, the character exists, and it is Tim Bunce. The story is timely and relevant. There is just one problem. Tim won’t talk about it. I respect this, but I still think you should know the story.

He said that his mom told him that if he couldn’t say anything nice, to not say anything at all. I’m not sure what his plans are at this time, and he is a guy that doesn’t like a lot of attention showered on him, unless he arrives in his bright yellow truck to “save your ass.” He’s sort of like a superhero that will never wear lycra, never wear a cape, and will NOT talk to the press.

Thank you Tim Bunce (even though you hate KWMR), and full disclosure, he and I are distantly related. Thank you Cheda’s, for providing much needed services to West Marin for 100 years! 

Now I’m going to find another story for my journalism class!

Happy New Year to one and all, especially Timmy Bunce.

Amanda Eichstaedt (fernlicker)
Station Manager and Executive Director 

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