Exciting trip to CO with Joe
Exciting trip to CO with Joe
Joe and I left Milwaukee just after noon on July 21st, heading for St Louis. We were enjoying a long boring drive across the plains of IL. It got a little more exciting when the rains started suddenly and we went into a NASCAR spin on the freeway at 60 miles an hour! I had just been admiring the beautiful clouds decorating the sky. I appreciate the beauty of nature, especially interesting cloud patterns. Finding something to appreciate makes a long drive more tolerable. We went from driving along chatting…to bracing ourselves for impact with the wall, which was coming at us fast.
The trouble started when we went under an overpass where there was a slight dip in the road, then hydroplaned immediately upon coming out from under the bridge. When our back end kicked out to the right, and SUV made contact with our right rear quarter panel and sent us into the spin of a lifetime! It all happened pretty fast, but as far as we can recall, we spun around about two and half times. I do remember spinning at 60 mph and seeing numerous lights of vehicles coming straight at us including a few big rigs…yikes!
There was nothing I could do except try to remain calm and trust that Joe would do his best to regain control of the car. I trust his driving more than anyone I’ve known. Somehow he used the clutch and brake to maneuver some traction and stop us just a foot short of the wall. It was amazing! Although we were obviously a little shaken up, there was not much damage to the car or us. The only blemish is a lost tail light and a crinkle in the rear quarter panel where the SUV kissed us. A nice witness stopped behind us to help block traffic so we could get turned around. It’s a bitch to do a u turn when you’re facing the wrong way next to the divider wall and it raining cats and dogs so nobody can see you. She stayed there with her flashers on until traffic was clear enough for us to get turned around and cross over to chat with the SUV on the side of the road.
I said to Joe… after we came to a stop…”it’s a dam good thing you were driving when this happened. I would have put us into the wall and hit a lot more cars in the process.”
When the EMS guys showed up, We both said, “no, I don’t need medical attention”…then an hour or so later the tension headaches started and both of our backs started to lock up. Ouch! Its bad enough sitting in the car for hours on end over a few days time…but then the added stressful-spins made it worse.
The EMTs made us sign a form to release them. The Illinois state police officer was very pleasant to work with. It took him long enough to complete the report and give us a copy, but the SUV driver didn’t help any. When asked a simple question like, “I’m on the phone with my insurance company and they need your name for the accident claim.” His response was “I’m a federal government worker and I won’t give you my name”. Whatever makes you feel special buddy! I was giddy when the cop gave me our copy with all of his personal information. I think I’ll write him a letter! 😉
We couldn’t wait to get to St Louis so we could get out of the car and have a drink!
We both needed it, but especially Joe. Our original ETA was about 6:30 to meet our friends for an HHH run. We finally rolled into town a little after 8 and joined up with the pub crawl…uh, I mean “fun run” already in progress. We have some good friends in SL that have stayed with us many times in Milwaukee and it was a welcome sight to see their house and crash out (after a few shots of cherry bounce of course) we leisurely rolled out of St. Louis in the early afternoon to head for Kansas City.
The drive to KC was nice, but a little toasty. The gauge on the car read 106 or 107 for awhile, then settled on 101 for the majority of the drive. Joe was in a state of Missouri from the heavy traffic preventing him from running as fast as he might have liked. Overall we couldn’t complain about traffic. Since I spend most of my time in WI, I am not used to being able to drive 75 mph legally. That’s the posted limit in a lot of KS and CO, so people do 90 regularly.
KC was cool because we had the opportunity to meet with a business colleague and then meet up with the local yokels that call themselves “hashers”. The beauty of being part of a worldwide running and drinking club is that when you travel just about anywhere, there is likely a local bunch of friendly runners (who appreciate a fine malt beverage) to hang out with. The people of KC were fabulous as was the downtown area. It was apparent the amount of effort KC has put into beautifying their city. It was our first time here and we’ll be back. Since the next day was the longest stretch of all, we decided to mosey west a bit from the city to cut back on Friday’s drive. Our intention was Junction City…just sounded like a cool place from the old west or something. As it turned out, we made it to Topeka and passed out a little after 1am, then up before 7 and on the road by 7:30am. The Best Western was less than good, but it wasn’t loud and the bed was OK so we got a few hours of sleep. It didn’t hurt that we had stopped at a rest area earlier and picked up a coupon earlier. I love to save!
By 8:30 we were sailing past Fort Riley, which is a military base out in the middle of nowhere. We enjoyed the rolling hills on the east side of KS, and then the “flatter than Kansas” set in. I have never seen bigger wind farms ever! Way to use those natural resources KS! Signs by the roadside encouraged us to ‘follow the yellow brick road’ to “Yellowbrickroadtrip.com” I haven’t checked it out yet, with limited internet access.
I am truly blessed to have a cool-headed husband like Joe. This trip has made me ever more aware of this.
More to come in next posting covering beautiful Colorado Springs, the wedding, family time, Black Hills, etc. Check back for some amazing pictures!