Sunday, January 03, 2010

Tired Out

As I mentioned in my last entry I was involved in a car accident on Thanksgiving day. The car accident was only the latest in a series of tire mishaps I experienced in 2009. I've had more issues with tires last year than any other time in my driving career. I'm hoping I get a break from those in 2010. 2010 is still young...*LOL*.

What happened Thanksgiving was that I was making my usual trek to Detroit. Things were going normal. I alternated being listening to music and chatting on the phone with Eugene. I was on the phone with Eugene as I crossed the Indiana/Michigan border. We were talking about various mundane happenings in our lives when suddenly I heard what sounded my rear passenger tire blowing out.

I remembered panicking to Eugene that I "think my tire blew out". At the time I was going at least 70mph (probably 75-80) on the far left lane in Benton Harbor, MI. I quickly assessed that there wasn't any immediate cars around me so I tried to slow down to make my way over to the right lane. That was probably a bad idea since the tire that blew out was the rear passenger. I felt the car start to spin out but I briefly gained control back. Next second the car spun out again, this time beyond my control. I screamed as I spun around on the expressway, under an overpass, and eventually spinning into a ditch near the entryway.

Thankful that the car didn't flip over, I reached for my phone to redial Eugene to tell him I was okay. Several cars stopped along the side of the road to check up on me. I told Eugene that I was fine and would call him back while the passerby's (including a nurse and an off-duty EMS worker) checked for my well being.

At the time I was quite shaken but was able to get out of the car. Another witness mentioned that I was driving on the rim of that tire for a few miles. I was stunned since I checked my tires before taking the road trip and everything at the time was okay (aside from putting a little air on the front passenger tire).

Moments later a local Benton Harbor police officer came by. The folks that stopped gave their versions of what they saw before they all took off for their holiday destinations. Thankfully there were no other cars involved in the accident. I gave the officer my insurance and license information. He went back to his squad car to fill out a report while I went back to the car to empty some of the contents into a duffel bag I happen to bring along for the trip. I meanwhile called my Mom and Dad to fill them in on the situation and to ensure them that I was fine and needed to work on what to do next. I called Tasha and Trina and gave them the same update.

Within another few minutes, I saw a tow truck make its way down the service drive. A lucky thing about the accident (if you can call it luck) is that I ended up in the ditch by the entryway to the expressway. That no doubt made it easier for the local departments to get to me.

The police officer gave me back my items along with a police report number for insurance purposes. Once the tow truck guy began his work to tow my car up, the officer left. I meanwhile was keeping Eugene appraised of my situation via text messaging.

I was debating between going to emergency to check myself out (my wrist started aching). Only thing was that my car was currently out of commission so I was at the mercy of the tow truck. What was worse was that it was Thanksgiving day and since Benton Harbor is a small town a lot of auto shop places were closed.

So TowguyD wanting to get me going on to Detroit worked on changing my bad tire with the spare one. I myself wasn't comfortable though driving with a doughnut tire all the way to Detroit, which from my vantage point was almost another three hours. TowguyD towed my car over to his shop and proceeded to change the damaged tire with the spare.

I lost my front fender in the accident when I spun into the ditch. I didn't hit any signs, poles, or anything else but the tires and wheels were filled with dirt and grass debris. There were also some scratches along the body of the car. He replaced my damaged tire and assessed that the other tires were okay.

After paying $225 for the towing, I decided I wanted to get myself checked out. Luckily I had my Garmin so I drove myself to a local hospital. Upon arriving to the hospital I discovered that both of my front tires were low on air.

It was raining cats and dogs as I ran into emergency. I filled out the paperwork as I explained to the front attendant the nature of my visit. The attendant told me to go in the waiting area. Figuring I'd be a while I called my parents to give them a quick update. But within minutes I was ushered by a nurse's assistant.

She took my blood pressure and it was 159/108. Scary but surprisingly the nurse made no real comment about it. Maybe it's common in car accidents to have the pressure rise dramatically. I explained to the doctor the pain I was feeling in the wrist and I started feeling other random body aches as well. He did a general check and aside from the aches, everything was fine. He gave me a prescription for extra strength Tylenol (or some derivative of it). I decided that if I felt pain by the next day I would get it filled.

An hour and a half later I decided to make my way to a gas station to fill my tires. I found one within a few miles and did so. I had gotten some hotel information from Eugene earlier. There was no way in hell I was going to drive to Detroit with my car in the condition it was. And it was a good thing I decided to go to emergency instead, otherwise I could've had another accident.

Since there were literally no restaurants open in Benton Harbor (not even McDonald's or Burger King), my bigger concern was what I would do as far as food. I only had a couple breakfast bars earlier while driving along and I was getting hungry. On the one hand it was nice that the corporate greed Eugene preached against before wasn't alive and well for most businesses in Benton Harbor but on the other when emergencies such as mine happen on a holiday and you're in the middle of nowhere, you're kinda stuck.

As I made my way to the hotel, I saw a local Walgreen's that happened to be open. I drove there (discovered that my front tires were still losing air) and bought some snacks that would have to do for my dinner. It wasn't ideal but at least I wouldn't starve.

I went to find another gas station but unfortunately the one I hit had a broken air machine. I decided I'd have to make my way to the hotel and hope I wouldn't get into another accident. I wound up having to hop on the expressway again to get to the hotel. Those were the scariest 3 miles on the expressway as I had my flashers on only able to go about 30 mph.

By the grace of God I made it to my hotel in one piece. God was truly watching out for me that day. I just came away from an accident relatively unhurt aside from a few aches. Had it happened on another stretch of the trip things could've turned out differently. My car on the other hand was looking straight up like an abandoned vehicle with its exposed front and flat front tires. All I needed was the cement blocks on all my four wheels and broken glass to complete the look.

I entered the holiday lobby and was served by the nicest young lady. She honestly looked like a modern day Jan Brady. But I told her I needed a room and after hearing the circumstances of what happened, she mentioned that the hotel was serving Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings to everyone at the hotel and told me to go get a plate.

There were two other young ladies (both black) sitting in the lobby. I later found out that they cooked a lot of the meal.

I said it before but I really believe God was looking out for me. I just knew I would be eating popcorn and chips for dinner that night. Ironically I was actually looking for Red Roof Inn as the place I would stay at and accidentally stumbled upon the former Best Western Hotel. The attendant mentioned that the hotel was currently owned by a bank due to foreclosure. I bet that Red Roof probably wouldn't have the free dinner.

So after taking my luggage to my room and updating Trina, Tasha, and Eugene, I made my way back to the lobby and served myself dinner. It was a lot of food and I happened to be the first one to get to it (since it was around 5pm). I filled up on stuffing, turkey, ham, string beans, and corn bread. There was even some chitterlings. But I passed on those since I don't really trust anyone else's chitterlings but my Mom's (and she hasn't made that in years). For drinks there was only soda, which I actually don't drink much of these days. But by some miraculous chance there was a lone Miller Lite in the fridge. Jan Brady was nice enough to let me have it and said after the day I had, I deserved it.

Afterwards I went back to fill up on desert, which included Upside Down Pineapple cake, Red Velvet cake, Sweet Potato pie, and German Chocolate Cake. It was a feast.

Needless to say I was full for the rest of the day as I made my way back to my room. I called my parents to tell them all about the dinner I had. Since I couldn't make it for my Mom's dinner, it was the next best thing. Then I took a nap and woke up and wound up watching Beyonce's Thanksgiving promotion. I swear that girl needs to take a five year hiatus. But whatever.

The next morning I woke up and after calling the insurance company to get a claim number, I quickly walked to the nearby McDonald's for breakfast. I wanted to go to the nicer pancake house next door but there was a huge line and I needed to check out by 11am. I also had to get my car tires taken care of.

So after breakfast and checking out of the hotel, I wound up calling another tow truck company that towed me to a local Discount Tire. Apparently everybody and their Mama was at Discount Tire instead of at the mall for the first official shopping day of Christmas. I wound up staying there for nearly two hours while waiting for my two rear tires to be replaced and a determination that grass/debris was blocking the air valves on the front tires, which caused them to go flat.

I then had the daunting task of deciding if I wanted to continue my journey to Detroit with my fender messed up or drive back to Chicago, which was closer. My concerns for driving to Detroit in my car was that the messed up fender would give guys up to no good reason to think my car was abandoned and decide to break into it. Not to mention would I really want to drive to Detroit and then drive back to Chicago with the fender missing and exposing the interior to the environment. At least if I made it back to Chicago, I could get the car serviced locally.

But then I thought about my family and how disappointing it'd be not to see them. Plus with winter rearing its ugly head there wouldn't be too many opportunities to make another trek.

In the end I decided to rent a car at Enterprise and have my current car repaired in Benton Harbor by the same tow company (which also had a body shop) that rescued me from my accident. I arrived in Detroit Friday evening. I gave both my parents extra long hugs.

So Enterprise wound up giving me a shitty car (Kia Spectra) that I managed to make it in to Detroit and back. The alignment was off and both front tires were balding. At first I thought I was still shaken from the accident and was being jittery (which I was to a degree) but I found out about the issue after getting back to Chicago. I swear if I had another blowout, I would've been too through.

After using Eugene to haggle with Enterprise, they gave me another car. It wound up being a Ford Focus (which I must say, Ford's come a long way from their Found On Road Dead days). My car was ready a week and a half later and I wound up driving back to Benton Harbor to pick it up.

Needless to say that was quite a crazy experience and aside from paying for the car and bills I incurred while stranded, I'm still dealing with the insurance company as far as my emergency visit. But I'm grateful to be still breathing.

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2 Comments:

Blogger That Dude Right There said...

Now that's an adventure for anyone!!! I'm sure that you are greatful that you weren't hurt.

3:32 PM, January 05, 2010  
Blogger Dreamchaser said...

Good you were not hurt.

9:21 AM, January 12, 2010  

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