running travel

A Busy Weekend

[Monday: 3.24 miles with Chester]

Last week I worked half a day on Thursday then we drove to Alcoa, TN for the Pistol Creek Ultra.

Friday was a complicated day. Our hotel was located in a little dead-end alcove off the Alcoa Highway. Friday morning I made a trip to the grocery/pharmacy to pick up a couple of items we had forgotten to bring. On the way back I got to a point where I need to make a left hand turn on to the highway then an immediate left into the hotel area. The traffic was very heavy. I spotted an opening and started across to the center median. Out of nowhere a big SUV appeared and clobbered me, THUMP and spun the car around. The airbags were out and the engine was dead. There was a burnt gunpowder smell. Lots of plastic on the highway. No sign of the SUV. I was in both lanes so I wanted to move. The engine was dead and it wouldn’t start. I let my foot off the brake and rolled and steered toward the median, more or less straight ahead.

I got out. There were a lot of cars backed up but once I had moved a bit they had the curb lane available and started to come through. I saw a man in a nearby parking lot and he looked very interested and involved. I waved to him and he waved back. I assumed he was my SUV driver. I made my way through the traffic to the shoulder and to the parking lot. We talked a bit. He said, “Didn’t you see me?”. I said, “I wouldn’t have started across if I had seen you!” He told me the police had been called.

A guy going west bound (the far lanes) stopped at my car. We waved at him to signal that the driver, me, had gotten out. The police showed up. I made my way across traffic again to get the registration and insurance forms from the car. I stayed there and talked to the police officer. My wife walked over from the hotel and came through the traffic to the car and gave me a hug.

The officer gave me information about the case number and the towing company that would have my car. She stopped traffic so we could walk back to the hotel.

In the same area as the hotel was a rental car office. We went straight there. They advised us to call the insurance company because a rental could be part of our accident insurance. They offered me an empty office to sit down and make calls. My wife went back to the hotel.

I made calls to the insurance and the towing company. It was going to take a bit of time to get the rental car approval and paperwork, so I went back to the hotel. I heard back from the insurance company and from the rental car people. I walked back to their office and got a car.

A bit later I drove to where the towing yard was. The wrecked car was right there. I wrestled quite a bit to get into the trunk, which was undamaged, but the electrical stuff was all dead so neither the remote nor the dash button would work. The battery and fuse boxes were displaced in the mangled front end. Towing guy loaned me a long stick-like thing to trip the internal trunk latch from the little hatch in the back seat. I had to move broken plastic car bits from the back seat to get to it. I was able to clean out all of our stuff from the old car.

The same towing guy had fetched the black SUV and I took a picture of it. The lower front right was mangled and the tire and wheel were dangling by the brake line (I think). The rest of it looked fine. Towing guy and I both wondered how he had manged to drive it into the parking lot.

Before the end of the day we heard from insurance that they were calling our car a total loss and gave me a dollar amount for a settlement.

Our son got a rental car, got his dogs placed, and drove 6 hours to meet us, to help us get home safely on Sunday.

I liked that car. We paid it off last spring.

Then… the next day, Saturday, my wife ran 53+ miles in a foot race. And then we went home. The end.

P.S. I had three people: The rental car guy, the towing guy, and someone later, all tell me the same story about how the Aloca Highway is locally known as the I’llKillYa Highway. There is a stretch of about a mile with the airport on the north side and a quasi-frontage road on the south side and none of the side streets have traffic lights, some of them come in at strange angles. I avoided turning left on to the highway for the rest of our stay.