I Wrecked my Van in Oregon
The early morning chill was eased by the hot coffee in my dented thermos as I drove north towards White Salmon, Washington.
The 1988 Ford Club Wagon I had just purchased a few days earlier in Red Bluff, CA was running great and I was making good time.
My plan was to arrive in Bend, Oregon later in the afternoon, meet up with my ol boy Pickle then continue into Washington and get all my DMV business sorted.
As I got closer to Bend snow started to appear on the side of the road.
I did not think much of it since the weather report had stated sunny days.
The first warning came when I stopped for gas and felt the tires slip on the ice as a I braked.
The second came from the gas station attendant who cautioned me to drive safe because of the unexpected snowfall that came down last night.
Back on the road with hours to waste before I was to meet with Pickle, I figured I would find a rest area, pull over and just hang out for awhile.
The roads were definitely getting icier so I watched my speed cautiously. I noticed that nobody was using snow chains.
A truck in front if me was “driving the cinders” and throwing sludge all over my windshield so I slowed down even further.
Minutes later I felt the back end of the van starting to slide. I steered to straighten out and as I did so I thought to myself “don’t over correct” but it was too late.
The van fishtailed twice before I completely lost control and started to spin.
Semi trucks roared past me on the other side of the road and I crossed the center divider seconds later. The van continued to slide 180 degrees in slow motion.
The last thing I saw before hitting the ditch and flipping over were two thick trees. The van nailed them on the driver side and came to a jarring stop.
A man appeared outside my shattered window as I hung upside down still belted in my seat. He asked if I was ok.
I replied yes, but I could not get the seatbelt unfastened. There was broken glass, cd’s and debris everywhere as I frantically searched for my knife.
The man returned with his knife and cut me free from the seatbelt. I fell to the roof and crawled out of the van through the shattered windshield. Everything after that is a complete blackout.
I woke up in an ambulance and the paramedics asked me questions which I did not know the correct answers. I thought Obama was still president.
Slowly my memories of where I was and how I got there came back to me along with the pain.
I was still completely out of it. I asked if anyone else was hurt, if my aunt’s dog was with me and if I was pulling a trailer. Fortunately, the answers were all no so I felt some mental ease.
My lower back and sides were aching, but I was glad to see my toes wiggling inside their Ugg boots. Also hurting was my left shoulder and head.
My unbreakable sense of humor was still in tact and I joked with the paramedics as we sped along towards the hospital in Bend.
The wreck had occured about 45 minutes outside of Bend.
At the hospital I was checked out by a doctor, X-rayed and given pain relievers. I was told that I was extremely lucky to have escaped with no serious injuries.
Somehow my iPhone managed to follow me from the crash to the hospital and I was able to call my family.
I also called Pickle who came and scooped up my damaged body then took me to his house where I could convalesce and regroup for a few days.
The next day I was able to retrieve some of my personal items from my demolished van.
The towing costs amounted to several thousand dollars. Since I did not have full coverage insurance I signed the title over to the wrecking yard and said goodbye to the van that I owned for less than a week.
At the time of this posting, I am still very sore and have had a chronic headache.
However, after seeing what was left of the van I am very grateful to still be alive and not laying in the hospital with weird tubes in my face.
I‘m not sure how my nomadic adventures will play out now that my van is gone. My savings will also take a major hit when the medical bills start to arrive.
Doubts about my life choices have tried to creep into my conscience but I am doing my best to remain positive.
I am very grateful to have friends like Pickle, the love of my family and the help of strangers during this very unfortunate and untimely accident.