Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Scenic Route......Home At Last??

It still amazes me that five grown women, one motel room, (albeit with three queen size beds) and one bathroom survived a night together with nothing but each other for entertainment. It had been a busy week, we were tired, stressed from the events of the day, and ready for our own homes and beds. Miraculously, we made through the night with no hair pulling, weeping, or gnashing of teeth.

It took at least three hours before we all performed our morning miracles, got a rental car, loaded up our treasures and ourselves and headed toward home. After stopping for a short brunch, we were finally on the last leg; no stops from here on out we promised ourselves.

If you've ever been to Portland, OR, you know how there is no line of demarcation between all the little towns in that area. So, when we left the Gresham restaurant where we had stopped, traffic was pretty heavy in all six lanes and, since we were headed for Interstate 84 East, Sandee moved the van over to the far left lane to avoid traffic entering the freeway from the many off ramps on the right. This portion of the freeway was separated from West bound traffic only by concrete barriers, maybe four feet in height. As we settled down for the remainder of the trip, we were commenting on how good it felt to finally be our way and MaryHell was on the cell phone giving Bill an estimated time of our arrival and telling him to have (he's a great cook) some dinner ready when we got there. I was sitting on the passenger side of the back seat reading some pamphlet. What happened next seemed to be in slow motion.

Coming up to our left, traveling West in the center lane was an eighteen wheeler pulling an empty flatbed trailer; both lanes to the right of us were filled with traffic. Suddenly, in the West bound lanes and out of nowhere, came a bright blue PT Cruiser traveling at a very high rate of speed. The driver came upon that trailer very quickly, turning the wheel too late to safely pass. I heard a loud banging noise and suddenly this flash of bright blue was everywhere as it seemed to tumble toward us. The only sound I remember hearing at that moment in time was my own voice saying "Oh, My God!" It looked almost certain that the Cruiser was going to bounce over the barrier, hitting us head-on. I'm certain the lives of each of us passed before our eyes in the matter of a second or two because we all knew there was no way to avoid a collision with two lanes full of traffic on our right and a concrete barrier to our left.

The cruiser hit that barrier hard, breaking a huge piece of concrete off the top. I could see the driver flopping around like a rag doll as his car bounced backward into traffic, the chunk of concrete bouncing into the path of our rental van. The knuckles on Sandee's hands were white as she swerved very slightly to the left before the concrete hit the right front side of the van with a loud bang. We all felt the shudder of that hit, frightened to death, but Sandee hung on, keeping that vehicle under control until she found a hole in the traffic and was able to pull off the right side of the freeway about a half mile down the road and right at an exit. I firmly believe that her calmness and good driving skills had saved our lives or at least, saved us from some very serious injuries.

We all got out of the van, visibly shaken from the experience. It was only then that Sandee, with tears in her eyes, admitted that she was "scared shitless". Indeed!

It was several hours before the van and the five of us were once again loaded onto and into our second tow truck in as many days. We were taken to a shop a short distance away where, after a myriad of phone calls and paperwork, they determined that a new rim and tire would get us back on track to home. We were at that shop long enough, and were giddy enough from escaping a terrible death, that I'm certain the guys at that shop haven't forgotten "those five women from Idaho" yet. Why cry when laughing is so much more fun?

Well..........we finally made it safely to our own homes, vowing to never take the "Scenic Route" again in our travels; at least not until next time. It's kinda like having baby..........the rewards are so great, the pain is soon forgotten and you know you will most likely try again sometime.

Just remember, when the sign says "Falling Rock" it doesn't mean brown paper bags! Happy traveling!

Oh, yeah.........MaryHell found out that even though several vehicles were damaged and the Cruiser was demolished in that accident, no lives were lost that day. Life is good!

No comments: