Sunday, August 21, 2011

Road Trip 3: Danger on the Highway!

This summer critics have bemoaned the quality of movies, specifically pointing out the large number of sequels. For the third time in as many years, we've taken a big summer road trip. Just like in sequels, there was a common thread -- disaster -- even when the destination was different. It's always something, right? The first year Kyle had a little stomach issue on the second day of our drive home. It wasn't pretty, but it's been good for a few laughs. Then last year, we had a costly and necessary car repair that we had to take care of before we continued. The timing was fortunate, so it wasn't a disaster.

This year, however, the results could have been more dire, and we were hit not once, but twice -- once on each side of the trip.

On our first day, we drove through the deserted desert of West Texas. The speed limit was 80, we didn't see many cars, and there was nothing on the side of the road. Noting this, Amanda asked "What would happen if we ran out of gas?"  For hours, this was all we saw.

We came up on one little stop about 80 to 100 miles from the town where we knew we'd need to get gas. Terry glanced down at our gauge and decided we were fine, and we kept driving.  Unfortunately, the needle dropped more quickly than we were used to, seeing as how we were driving faster than normal. Thirty miles from the town, the "Low Fuel" light came on. Thirty miles is cutting it close. You will understand that the next half hour was spent in quiet solitude and gut-wrenching worry.

As we were filling up, we heard another man recounting an experience exactly the same as ours "I didn't think I was going to make it." It was tense there for a while, but we made it!

The second disaster happened on the way home.  We were in the passing lane coming up to overtake an 18-wheeler, when Terry noticed that it was losing pieces of its tire.

BOOM! It had a blowout! It was so loud, louder than you could even imagine. I have so much respect for that driver, because he kept driving straight. A very large piece of his tire did come over into our lane, but Terry had been watching for it, and was able to avoid it.

We had been planning to get off to refuel at the next exit, about 8 miles away, and were surprised that the truck kept driving too. He didn't even really slow down, and made it on the other 17 wheels to the truck stop/service shop -- fortunate for him.

I'm always worried when driving in traffic around big trucks what would happen if they blew a tire. I'm happy to know that if other drivers are as skilled as this one was, that it might not be the disaster I always fear.

What's the worst/funniest/scariest thing that ever happened to you on a road trip?


Martha said...

My mom and I were coming home from west Texas a few weeks ago and the person in front of us blew a tire too! Luckily the bits flew over us and I was able to change lanes to avoid any other debris but it was scary!!! I am glad that you had no other major mishaps.

Katrina @ Callapidder Days said...

Oh wow, the blowout would have terrified me! Very scary!

And you need to finish your paragraph about the gas -- though I'm guessing you made it, based on the beginning you have there. :)

Our recent road trip found us along the side of the road, multiple times, due a problem my car has. We were fine, but my husband declared that my car will never go on a long trip with us again.