Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Road Trip

There are times I think about posting something on here, but by the time I sit down, I really don't care to type out the story that was rolling around in my head. That's how I feel now. Here I sit in a hotel room waiting to see what tomorrow brings while debating going to bed or spending more time online. Onward...
Today we started our long haul from Texas to Minnesota after putting the drive off last night. Yesterday evening I learned the winter weather warning was extended from 6pm on December 25th to noon on the 26th. Of course every state, including our own, that we would be driving through was included in the blizzard warning. I never thought I would see a blizzard warning in Texas. Odd. The driving was slow going with most drivers sticking with 40-50 mph depending on the road conditions. The bad part was we were still in Texas. We knew it was only going to get worse. We put off leaving the night before hoping to miss some of the delays. Somewhere between Denton and Decatur, TX we came over a slight incline to find the road covered in ice. I noticed the car in front of me slightly fish tail a couple times which put me on guard. And then it happened... The rear of the Jeep started going to the left which turned us to the right causing me to cross into the other lane of traffic. I called Neal's name hoping he could quickly give me some words of wisdom, but he only replied with, "there's nothing you can do." Ummm... was he thinking I wanted to jump out and watch? I mean really, if I'm asking you for help I expect you to say, "let off the gas, don't hit the brake, steer us in the direction we want to go" and so forth. Instead I didn't get anything. Of course I did all of those things, but it didn't matter. As my front end regained control my rouge rear end spun around and sent us in the opposite direction. Thankfully in the middle of it all I glanced in the rear view mirror to find everyone behind me braking enough not to get in the middle nor get into an accident themselves. As the Jeep took off across the road heading to the concrete median, I still had the wheel turned in the proper direction. Neal was right, there was nothing I could do, we were headed straight for it. Just before impact, I closed my eyes anticipating the airbag to deploy. It never did. However it felt like I was hit in the neck with something. I think the zipper of my jacket was between me and the seat belt; it left a "burn" on my neck that feels raw right now.From right to left we scraped the front bumper against the median while we slid around like a rag doll on the ice. Suddenly we were facing forward again, in the proper lane, and still sliding at a pretty good rate. I thought for sure with not using the gas we would slow down... nope. I finally got up the never to test the brakes; I was afraid of fishtailing again. Thankfully they worked as I slowed us down and pulled to the inside median just in time for all the cars behind us to slowly drive by. Neal and I jumped out and looked the Jeep over. All his "fancy" lights on the front were shattered.

The two bigger ones he put on last weekend. The one on the drivers side had five cracks in it from the storm that went through early Christmas Eve morning. We are guessing something blew up and hit it. Honestly it sounded like windows were going to brake so I don't doubt he Jeep took a beating. It doesn't matter now because as you see it's partner was completely knocked out as well as most of the little ones.

If you notice in this picture the right light was pushed in. The right side is where the main impact happened. Why we didn't go ahead and spin backwards I don't know; we most certainly were heading that way in the Jeep righted itself. What you should be able to barely make out, but can't is our license plate number. All the blue was scraped off the number. I would show you the close up of it, but that's a bit to personal. If you look below the Jeep at the ice/snow you will see some fluid on the ground. It's very deceiving looking at this picture because you would think the Jeep could drive away from the incident. Technically it did, but it didn't go far. All the front pushed in during the impact then popped back out. Don't you love plastic cars? The frame actually buckled causing the radiator to be crushed. We were at an exit when the accident happened so as soon as the road was clear we crossed the interstate and got off. A gas station was nearby which is where we discovered this...Compared to a crushed frame this is nothing, but never the less it was more insult to injury. There were four totes, an ice chest, snow chains (ironic), and two 5 gallon gas jugs on the carrier, you are getting a glimpse of, off the back of the Jeep. One of the gas cans slammed forward and hit the back door denting it.

After taking a split second to touch my neck and rub my knees I jumped out of the Jeep with Neal to see what the damage was. I barely made it to the front when I remembered Kaitlyn and Sadie (our Mini Schnauzer) in the backseat. Neither one of them was making any noise. Thankfully they were both fine. By their reaction you would have thought Neal and I pulled over just to stretch our legs.

A tow truck came for the Jeep and took us to a hotel. We have to wait until tomorrow to get a rental car. Now our debate is: a) leave for MN tomorrow, b) wait and go to MN Sunday, c) go home tomorrow and go to MN in a couple weeks when the storm has clearly passed and all the roads are cleared. As much as Neal wants to go home and his family wants us to be there, it's not worth us risking our lives. When we knew the storm warning had been extended till Saturday we should have waited longer. Next time we will. Perhaps storm warnings are when I need to step in between Neal and his emotions. Yes you want to be there, no it's not safe to go. The scary thought is that we didn't even make it out of our own state. I can't imagine what it would have been like in OK. We knew, after setting out, that OK had declared a state of emergency. Shortly before the accident we stopped for gas and someone asked us if the roads had been opened back up in OK.

Kaitlyn slept from 6pm till a few minutes ago and now at 2am I think I'm going to have to knock her out. She didn't eat dinner so she's sitting at the table in the dark eating some bad pizza and talking nonstop. She's talking about one of Grandma's fish dying and her pooping on it. Shortly after I flushed the fish Kaitlyn had to go potty. She wouldn't stop talking about the dead fish so I told her she was pooping on the fish. I was wondering if she would start trying to look into the bowl. Instead she embraced the idea and threw that into the conversation. *sigh*

1 comment:

Hilary said...

Oh man I'm glad that you guys are ok..poor Jeep! that's horrible what happened!! What a way to spend Christmas!! Hope Kaitlyn had a great birthday!!