Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The previous post was about getting my truck registered.... well guess what..

My lovely sister has been bugging me for updates, news and essays… Frankly, there’s really not much going on that comes to mind as being very different or interesting…. Plus I’ve talked to a few of you independently and can’t recall who knows what.

I’ll reach back a bit just in case.

Early December I flipped my truck, totaled it. Long story short, ICE FORMS ON BRIDGES BEFORE ROADWAYS. I had already driven five or seven of the thirty miles of my commute, no problems, even on the small bridges that I had already crossed… The one that gave me trouble was on a wide, four lane stretch of fast, smooth highway. Posted speed limit 65, my actual speed, about 50. A long curve leads to the bridge, and the bridge itself continues the curve, not a sharp one. In fact I did not notice that it curved at all until I revisited the site. Add to the gentle curve a rough patch of asphalt/concrete where the bridge connects to the highway. Worn by traffic, I did know about this, one of the many routine bumps in the road you notice after driving the same route for a year and a half.

So here’s what happened… My small truck, rear-wheel drive, taking the gentle curve bounced a little on the bad spot, and settled onto the bridge, which for whatever macro-climatic reasons was covered in a significant sheet of smooth ice. So the truck’s wheels are light from the bounce, and pointing in a slightly less than straight direction. This combination caused the back of the truck to continue in the direction of travel, while the front wheels where continuing to negotiate the turn. This put the front and back of my truck at dramatically opposing intentions. The back wheels decided to outrun the front. I tried to correct the situation, but with all four wheels now on ice I was pretty much riding a non-responsive runaway sled.
The truck made it across the bridge, caught the unfrozen shoulder and flipped. The truck and it’s resigned and frustrated occupant rolled into the center median, a several foot , sloping drop. The truck flipped at least once, maybe twice (I was preoccupied with ‘hanging on’ and ‘panicking ’ so I forgot to count the actual rotations.) Anyway it ended up upside down, still running, lights still on. Once motion stopped I was immediately aware that I was pretty much okay. My glasses were missing, the airbag did NOT deploy (thank goodness), I could think, hear, see, smell and move my limbs. I assessed my situation, turned off the engine and the lights, took a deep breath and popped open the seatbelt…. Of COURSE I had it on, I’ve ALWAYS worn a seatbelt. I rolled to the roof, which was now the floor, and due to some significant crushing (see picture) not very far away. I located my glasses and cell phone, grabbed my keys and crawled out.
I suffered some minor cuts to my right hand, and a small gash in my forehead, but otherwise I could tell that there was not much else gone foul. I didn’t count on the blood though.. it was everywhere, my hands, arms, glasses, and apparently my face. By the time I crawled out three guys had already stopped and were approaching. They had shock in their faces, since my face, unbeknownst to me, was covered with and dripping blood.
Like I said, I knew I was okay, and that I had just dodged an enormous bullet. I assured them that I was fine, joked with them a bit, or tried to. They seemed as shaken up as I, just not as bloody. A County patrol stopped, looked at me and the truck, then the bridge. He called in for extra units to set up at both ends of it to caution others. An ambulance arrived, they sat me down, poked and prodded, asked me questions to see if I was all there, wiped me down and called Angel… Or rather they tried to, twice, maybe three times during the process. I knew why she wasn’t answering, she gets up around seven, then spends the next twenty to thirty minutes outside with the dogs, since they just can’t pee unless someone is watching. The ambulance crew finished up, figuring there was nothing more than they should do, I released them to go on to their next call, which not coincidentally was at the very next bridge down the road.
The fire chief offered to give me a lift back to the Gas station in Goldman, I accepted. It was cold outside and I needed some warm.

The tow truck stopped, flipped the truck right side up and then dragged it up to the shoulder. The truck’s left wheels were front and back, folded under and broken off respectively. The windows were all busted out, mirrors gone, pieces of plastic and glass littered the puddle where it stopped.
In the fire chief’s truck I called Angel, still no answer. I got to the gas stations and bought a bottle of water and asked permission to hang around until I could get a ride home. What I didn’t know is that the ambulance crew did not bandage my forehead. I was still bleeding a little down my face. They were very polite at the store.
Angel, by this time was in nearly a panic. She had heard the phone ring the first time but let it go to ‘the machine’. When she finally got done with the dogs, she first checked the caller ID. “JEFF CO AMBULANC” is what it said. Then it was repeated, a couple of times. So by the time I called her and got through (not much of a signal at the gas station) she was beside herself.
I assured her that I was bumped up, but fine, which she did not immediately believe.

I healed up fine, though it turned out I had also bruised my left shoulder, that hurt for a couple of weeks.
The truck was toast though, no question about it.

It took a few days to get it all settled, which let me with an unwanted and unexpected holiday task of buying a replacement vehicle.
I couldn’t think of a reason to get another truck. I haven’t actually used it very much to haul large things, mostly I commute, sixty miles per day. So I decided to just get a car. What kind ? No idea, I hadn’t even thought about buying a car in years. I looked, and looked and looked… and finally decided on a nice clean little Olds Alero, 2 door coup. It’s major advantage? It cost almost exactly the amount of the insurance settlement, essentially free.

Okay, I’ve writ SOMETHING….. so leave me alone for a bit…