Sunday, April 05, 2009

Trip to St. George

A section of former Alternate US 71 near Carth...Image via Wikipedia

On of my wife's cousins (the last in that branch of the family) was getting married on Friday down in St. George (about a four and a half hour drive for us), so we decided to arrange babysitter's for the kids and head down. One of the first questions was whether to take one of our cars or to rent a car. I ruled out the van pretty quickly. It's old and tired, get's pretty crappy gas mileage and is kind of overkill for just two people. My car, the 91 Nissa Sentra gets great gas mileage, but always feels kind of fragile on the freeway. So we decided to rent a car, particularly since there's an Enterprise location right near our house and they have a great weekend rate.

So we ended up with a Nissan Altima. Before the trip I'd tweaked my back pretty bad while playing Squash, so I decided to take a muscle relaxant the night before and make my wife drive down, while it wore off. I took the muscle relaxant but it didn't seem to work very well. I didn't fall asleep very fast and I had no problem waking up the next morning and I didn't feel very groggy, but just to be on the safe side I had the wife drive anyway. I did fall asleep without too much trouble about an hour into the drive, but that's just me being normal, I don't need drugs for that.

I woke up and conditions were a lot different than when I had fallen asleep, the rain had changed to snow and the visibility was pretty poor. I believe I said "whoah" (possibly startling my wife...) less than two seconds later the back end started to slip a little. My wife tried putting on the brakes and suddenly we were in a full on spin. At that point there was nothing left to do but hang on and ride it out. I think we did a full 360, maybe more. We missed a nearby car by only a few feet ended, plowed off the road into the shoulder. Down the side, through a barbed wire fence and almost on to the frontage road.

Two cars stopped to see if we were okay, including the one we almost hit, which is how I knew since we couldn't see anything during the spin. He was understandably pretty upset, since if we had hit him the whole thing would have been orders of magnitude worse. Some people drove by on the frontage road and said there was a highway patrol car a little farther down (next to another car that had also gone off the road). The UHP car showed up in a little bit, and the officer was entirely humorless, though I can't really blame him. He wrote my wife a ticket for improper lane travel or something like that and called a tow truck.

The tow truck showed up pretty fast, we were fortunately within site of the town of Scipio. The barbed wire had scratched the hood, punctured one tire, ripped off some plastic under the bumper and taken one of the two mufflers and bent it 90 degrees so that it was within a few inches of the other muffler. Fortunately my wife had gotten the full damage waiver so we called Enterprise and basically said "We broke that one give us another one." Someone had to drive all the way from Salt Lake, so that ended up being a pretty long wait, but within a few hours we were back on the road.

Some additional points:

-We were going somewhere between 75 and 80 when the crash started.
-We discovered, once the car was up on the lift, that one of the rear tires was almost completely bald.
-The barbed wire fence belonged to UDOT, if it had belonged to a farmer I would have tried to replace it, but as it is I'm already paying for it.
-Enterprise was very cool about everything they definitely are getting more business from me.
-We missed the wedding, but made the dinner afterwards.
-I already didn't like Scipio, and this just solidified that, though the mechanic/tow truck driver was definitely a good guy.

Still a little bit shaken up


Blogger Fred said...

Nothing quite like that feeling...glad you guys are ok.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Valerie said...

Glad you weren't hurt.

7:46 PM  
Blogger aozora said...

Alive and uninjured is definitely good news. Whew!

4:54 AM  
Anonymous Ed said...

Glad to hear you're all ok. Those kinds of conditions are quite treacherous. If one of the tires was bald or almost so, you should let Enterprise know, to make sure their garage folks are staying on top of things. If not for your sakes, then for the other renters.

But I agree about Enterprise, in general. They've never been pushy about "up-selling" to me. I hate going to most companies, since I always get the smallest car, and it's usually a pushy sales job to get me to "upgrade." Last time I went to Enterprise, after asking online for an economy size, they simply gave me the PT Cruiser w/out any hassle, saying "Enjoy!" Which I did. :)

10:10 AM  
Blogger hallamigo said...

Wow, glad you 2 are okay!

11:23 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

You made poor Liz drive. I don't think that will happen again anytime soon.

1:10 PM  
Blogger Suessica said...

I'm glad you are ok. Scary.

2:41 PM  
Anonymous Ed said...

Here's an interesting blog discussion about when kids should watch "Star Wars:"

11:51 AM  

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