And then we had a wreck

And then we had a wreck.

Just a little one.

We were heading out of Dayton on I-75 North, getting on to I-70 West toward Indianapolis. It had been drizzling a bit for the past few hours and I was driving. As I slowed the van in order to make the turn onto the off-ramp, it started to act a little funny and then it started to skid outright. I was hardly able to control it as we went into the turn and we skidded into the concrete barriers on the left side of the off-ramp. I think by the time we actually hit we weren’t going that fast, because we glanced off the barrier and then the rear-left bumper struck the barrier as well. I bounced around a little in my seatbelt and then we came to a stop. I pulled the van off to the right, onto the shoulder and took a big deep breath. It was 2:30pm.

No one was hurt and the damage to the van didn’t seem too catastrophic. Nothing in the van even moved during the whole thing which was pretty surprising. Of course I kept replaying the incident over and over in my head, sometimes avoiding the accident entirely, sometimes hitting the barrier head on, sometimes getting plowed into by a large semi that might have been closely on our tail. Wendy was super nice and comforting and kept reminding me that it was okay, everything was okay. After looking the van over for a while and hugging Wendy I went for a run in the dirt and rocks and grass in our quadrant over the cloverleaf.

Wendy called AAA and the state troopers who sent an officer over. He wrote up a report and took a statement from me and took some pictures. He also gave me an $85 ticket for failure to control the vehicle, which I suppose I had coming. Then he called a tow truck and together the tow truck guy and the trooper carted us and our van to a Pep Boys shop. Me and Ed talked to the trooper, John, on the way to the shop about kids and music and growing older and stuff. We told him were on a music tour and he said, “Well you’re only young once.” Then after a pause he said, “Well you guys aren’t that young, actually, now are you?”

At the shop, a surly older black man in droopy drawers named Jimmy assessed the damage to the van and we talked over how to fix it. The front left bumper and fender were bent in a good bit and were interfering with the free movement of the wheel. Jimmy, who might easily be Tight-Ass Willie’s second cousin, worked a chain around the bumper and then hitched the van to a post outside and put the van into reverse. Here was your basic tooth, string, and doorknob procedure. A few pumps on the gas pedal and the bumper was pulled clear. Then one of Jimmy’s shop buddies took a hammer and then a torch to the fender to get some more clearance. We replaced the light bulb for the left blinker which had been busted up pretty good, and then Jimmy said that was all he’d be able to do for us. We gave him twenty bucks and a Tight-Ass Willie tee shirt. He seemed sufficiently pleased, and so were we.

We went inside to pay up. The nice folks at Pep Boys presented us with a bill for $2.11 for the replacement light bulb, and nothing else! We were pretty amazed with our luck. We hit the road for Indianapolis at 5:30pm. A three-hour ordeal. I’m still a little frazzled but glad that things have worked out this well considering.

Right before the wreck happened I met this cool person named Jill at the coffeehouse where I posted the last entry. She was super animated and entertaining and hilarious and I thought she would be a cool person to have as a pen pal. I gave her a copy of my CD and told her to email me if she liked it. Turns out she doesn’t do email, so I gave her my address. Hopefully she’ll actually write me; it’s been so long since I had a real live pen-and-paper pen pal.