ferragus (ferragus) wrote,

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Well that was interesting

Wednesday night.

I'm headed up into the mountains of Arizona to participate in my first Dog Agility Trial, I was about 30 minutes from home when my left rear tire (drivers side for those of you driving on the other side) went suddenly flat as I was passing a tractor trailer at about 75 MPH (going uphill, in heavy traffic, in a cut in the mountains so I couldn't get off the road immediately) I had no choice but to try and keep the car under control and slow down and let folks pass me on the wrong side.

But first the boring parts...
The speed limit at that point is 75MPH BTW, so I wasn't speeding, just keeping up with traffic. I pulled over when I could, certain that I'd lost the wheel and possibly damaged the car. I got AAA on the phone and they said they'd get someone out to me right away. I called the SO and let her know I was ok, but going to be a little later then I thought.

Tow truck shows up and the guy asks what my plans are once I get the spare on. I explain how I'm headed north about 100 miles and will get a new tire in the morning, and maybe a new rim too. He suggests that since I'm a Plus member of AAA and get a free 100 mile tow, that he could drive me to Flagstaff (where I was headed) and that way I wouldn't wear out my spare tire (one of those temporary spares, only good for like 50 miles or so really). I don't see a down side to this so I said sure thing and about 90 minutes later I'm in the Flagstaff Mall parking lot being dropped off to do the last few miles on my own.

I get in around midnight, waking up the whole house and crash for a few hours sleep. I'm up at 5AM and out the door soon after, heading to the local dealership to get a price on a new wheel and possibly buy a tire from them. I figure I have a good chance of getting it done quickly, if there's no damage to the car as this is Thursday morning in a small town, they'll slip me in fix me and have me on the road in record time. I was close. The dealership didn't have any tires, they sent me down the road to a discount tire store (named Discount Tire, oddly enough) but only after looking things over first and telling me that the wheel looked Ok and I should let the tire store try and get a new tire on it.

I actually made it to the tire store before it opened. A little while later I'm on the road again, back to pick up the dogs and all our stuff and head (southeast?) to the show site.

Here's the interesting part!

About 30 minutes outside of Flagstaff, on a stretch of 4 lane divided highway, I'm cruising along at about 70 MPH, letting folks pass me because I'm a little gun shy still and I've also got a tent strapped to the top of the vehicle that I'm a little nervous about speeding with, when in front of me a white Lexus fishtails violently, starts to go off the road.

The driver fights it back onto the surface and then puts it in a skid as the car over compensates and nearly comes into the other lane (my lane). Skidding out of control now the car heads into the median strip, goes sideways, flips over three times (I lost it in the dust after the second flip, I heard that number from folks coming the other direction) and comes to a stop. By this time, I'm stopping myself and I look back to see that several trucks and passenger vehicles have stopped. A quick conference with Herself and we decide to see if we can do anything to help. She trots over, while I open up the car windows (dogs in the car) and dig out one of the 6 gallons of water we were bringing along for the show (it's high desert, very dry, and some shows don't have water! the gallons are also handy for weighing down the tent when it's windy). I'm somewhat amazed to get there and find that both occupants are conscious.

I stay in the background, as there were several people there that seemed to know what they were doing and let it go at that. One guy was trying to keep the drivers head immobilized (his side of the car roof was pretty smashed up) and on the passenger side two burly guys pull the door open and the passenger gets out. She's apparently fine! We hung around for a while as the rescue crew finally showed up, and I think I'm the only one that didn't get moving fast enough to avoid giving a statement of what I saw. (still one of the folks was a radiation tech and another an ER nurse, so I suspect that they could be located if needed). The driver was taken away for observation, but fingers crossed his belts and air bags did their job and he'll say as good as he looked after the crash. (Same for the passenger too of course!)

Once I was finished with my report (Herself had gone to the car and seen to the dogs of course), we proceeded down the road to the trial.

I'll leave the other dogs performance for someone else to tell, but my run was Saturday and went pretty good for my first trial. Which is to say that the dog was right with me, until near the end I neglected to tell him to turn before the jump and so when I said "Jump" he jumped the wrong jump and that disqualified us. Even so, we got back together, finished the course (in very good time despite the detour) and that was my real goal for the first run. Well that and keeping the dog happy, and everyone that knew him agreed that he was very pleased. (I had fun too!)

Somewhere in all this mess, I have pictures of the dead tire and even the happy dog running, who knows, maybe I'll get around to posting them.

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