Saturday, August 1, 2009

Our adventures on the way to War

As most of you know (since I know how few strangers make their way to this blog), it's time for Pennsic (which I talked about in this post and more last year). J wanted to go a day early this year, for a few reasons: there is more fighting scheduled and he wanted more stick time, and he took up fencing last fall, so he wanted in on some of that action. I was all for it. One more day to take classes, shop, and enjoy myself.

Our route consists of one long drive across Interstate 80. It's rather pretty--lots of rolling hills, farmland, trees, you get the picture. We've had a ton of rain, so it's very green. Yesterday was yet another day of rain.

Now, I think J is a nervous driver. He got t-boned back in his college years, and is always worrying out loud about an accident happening. We were slowing down (in the rain) for an somewhere ahead of us, and he wanted to make sure he didn't get too close to the 2 motorcycles in front of us. As I was teasing him yet again about how nervous he was, we got hit by something from behind. I saw cars behind us in a field, and at least one mangled vehicle. I took off running to see if everyone was OK, and J called 911. Several people in the area had emergency experience, so once they had everyone accounted for, I came back to see what happened to our car:

Yeah, that would be no window any more. And a pretty badly damaged hatchback. Yet strangely enough, all the lights work (including that brake light at the top of the window).

So what hit us, you ask?

Yep, nothing like getting rammed from behind by a semi. Doesn't look too bad from this angle, does it? Except that most of the glass from our window is embedded in their grille, and they immediately started leaking antifreeze. Their radiator is shot. Their back bumper was displaced halfway across the truck, and both back doors were damaged beyond belief.

What hit them, do you ask?

Yeah, that's the semi that started it all. Completely jack-knifed, front hood displaced from the vehicle, trailer shredded. Apparently he didn't notice that everyone had slowed down (we were just starting to pick up speed after sitting for a minute or 2), so he hit the semi behind us full force. There are 2 other cars in that picture--a sedan that looked totaled and an SUV that looked like it swerved to miss the whole thing and ended up in the field.

Miraculously, it looked like there were few, if any, injuries. We were fine, and all the guys in the semis were fine. The guy in the mangled sedan was treated at the scene.

There were a few more cars involved in the other lane (I'm not sure how, and I don't think the police do yet either), and at least 2 ambulances came to help them out.

After patching up the back with a piece of tarp and LOTS of duct tape, we went a half a mile, only to stop for this (notice the weather cleared):

Another semi had jack-knifed (which caused our backup) and they had to Life Flight the driver. Poor guy--I hope he's OK.

The volunteer firefighter we talked to said this particular stretch of I-80 gets 300 accidents a year. J and I have never had a problem on this road, which we travel once or twice a year. I guess we were due, and we'll be OK for a couple more decades ::fingers crossed::

We called our insurance company (kudos to USAA and their amazing customer service), who found us a car repair shop in the town near Pennsic. I'm taking it in to see if they can fix it while we're here. In the meantime, J got some clear plastic sheeting and sealed up the back window so we can at least get back and forth to Pennsic for his events. We have a friend coming out on Monday, so we'll use his vehicle while ours is in the shop.

After 9 hours, we finally got to see our first signs of Pennsic:

We got checked in, got settled into our B&B, grabbed a quick bite, and called it a night.

I've had my fill of adventure so far. Cross your fingers that the rest of this trip is very uneventful.


d said...

Oh my gosh! Glad to hear you guys are ok - that's scary! Guess you've lost all rights to teasing J, now. :)

Have fun at Pennsic!

trina said...

Yikes! How scary! Thank goodness that husband is such a cautious driver.

Sarah said...

WOW! I'm glad you're both safe!

Anonymous said...

Dang! I really hope you and J are alright. Any whiplash? When my car was totaled, the worst thing was the PTSD twitchiness anytime I got into a car for the next month or so. Make sure you take it easy on the drive home.

I'm also glad it was not the new car. Why weren't you driving the Fit, er, Bob, or whatever you named it?