Started the long odyssey from Bozeman to Minneapolis yesterday in convoy with my Dad -- had too much stuff to fit in my little car (Dad gave me a lot of great stuff). Bid farewell to my brother and sister-in-law, who had taken good care of the car for me, and hit the road on a brilliant, cold morning (-11 degrees). Driving on the right. Ugh. Kept trying to shift with my left hand, banging against the door.
A few hours into it, we started onto a curving, ice-covered bridge, and I lost all traction. The back end came around, I couldn't correct -- nothing I did made any difference whatsoever. "Oh boy," I kept saying over and over, heading for the guard rail in the middle, overlooking the underpass. We hit... and didn't go through the guard rail. The front end crumpled, absorbing most of the shock; the airbags deployed and filled the car with smoke. We came to rest crosswise across both lanes. The car started, but wouldn't move; the wheels were involved in the wreckage of the front end. The semi half a mile behind me was headed right for me, and I was still belted in.
The semi dodged. Went around me on the snowy berm. At 70 mph. I have no idea how.
People ran up to see if I was OK. My Dad, who had watched the whole thing in his rear view mirror, was half a mile up, and running back toward me. I grabbed a cat and my computer, handed the computer to the first good samaritan, ran Dante to the side of the road and ran back for Lucien. Still not thinking fully, coughing out the awful smoke the airbags made. Hear my Dad yelling. Look up. A van, headed for me, losing the back end. I clutch the cat and watch, waiting to see which direction I should run.
They partially correct; miss me by a couple of feet. Hit the guard rail 3 feet from where I've put Dante. I can't see if they've hit him or not. I run off the road; Dante is fine. I grab his carrier and jump over the railing into deep snow. Dad and the good samaritans slide my car on the ice (the wheels will not turn) into the number 2 lane, facing traffic. I start the many trips back and forth between my car and Dad's, putting my cats and my belongings in his car. The cats are silent; I am still coughing.
We watch someone else hit the guard rail, pretty much where I did. I check out his kitty, Eeyore, for him. Eeyore is fine. Everyone is fine. No one has a scratch.
My car is totaled. I will be buying a car with all-wheel drive, and snow tires. The tow-truck driver, the Sheriff, and the Highway Patrol Officer were all kind, helpful. Phoebe will go to rest in Hysham, Montana. Thank you, Phoebe, for saving my life.
My Dad cried. He watched me almost die, twice, with nothing he could do. I hugged him and told him how sorry I was he had to go through that.
Light a candle for me, and offer thanks. I have much to be grateful for.