Day 16: oh yes!! and then, oh no…..

It started out to be a wonderful day.  On schedule, loads of sun, lots of great cities and “targets” on my list.  Off to Lordsburg and then over to Silver City.  Then it happened.  Somehow, I didn’t see a red light.  But according to witnesses, it was red.  I thought it was green and I was then looking left at a street sign.  Then all of a sudden, a little red pickup truck directly in front of me.  Bam!  The little red pickup had garbage in the back and the garbage shot up as I hit the rear end.  I pulled over.  Nobody hurt.  Pickup had big dent in the rear and poor Sparkle – really bad front driver side.  The two month old radiator obviously destroyed – fluid on the pavement.  The bumper completely removed, the hood crunched a bit, lights broken, and fender dented.  A third car got some minor scraping from hitting the garbage in the street.  The pickup driver had no insurance but it looks like it will be covered by my insurance.  I have never followed my insurance policy that closely but evidently I don’t have collision.  And since witnesses saw the light as red – I’m at fault so Sparkle’s bill is all mine.

I weighed my options as I waited for the cops and the tow.  Get a new van?  Rent a van for the duration of the trip?  How much to repair?  Especially considering I just put about $1000 into her in the past three days.  I’m glad I got that lifetime alignment with the tire two days ago at Firestone because I’m gonna need one immediately.  The tow truck driver does body work and collision stuff so my life and money is in his hands at the moment.  He estimates $4000 or $5000 – no cosmetics just functional.  I can’t buy a van in the shape mine is in for that.  Since my engine, transmission and all that are in superb shape, I have to go the repair route rather than the replace route.  I attempted to rent a vehicle – but there’s not one to be found in town or even in Las Cruces.

I hurt my left wrist a little – nothing broken – feels no worse than a fall on pavement.  The airbag didn’t deploy so I don’t think it was that high speed of a crash.  I had just gotten gas maybe a quarter of a mile away and was not speeding – honest! (yet)  The dogs were all fine and enjoying all the police presence (barking).  This has all been just another fun adventure for them.  But mom’s dreading the increased insurance rates – which are already astronomical in NYC.

So here I sit in Silver City – all the motels were booked.  Just this one smoking (ick!) room at The Drifter.  Which is pretty much what you would expect from the name.  The kind of chairs and bed you don’t even want to sit on.  No A/C.  No internet so I have hang out in front of the building and mooch on the other mom & pop motel across the street.  And twice the price of a really nice Red Roof Inn.  Plus a $30 non-refundable charge for dogs – ridiculous!  But the only game in town.  At least there’s a TV – and even a remote!

Depressed and determined and shaken – I took a good long walk with the dogs in the 86 degree heat to downtown Silver City to hit the places on my list.  So at least I got a handful of photos.  I’m not sure when I’ll be shooting again.  Possibly tomorrow – but unlikely – more likely Monday or later.  Right now the mechanic is in El Paso looking for parts – and having trouble.  He couldn’t find a hood so we’ll have to do some rope and bungie sort of thing.  And he can’t get a headlight til tomorrow morning.  So he has to stay in El Paso tonight – just add that to my bill…

Just goes to show, life can change in the blink of an eye.  But the main thing is nobody and no canines were hurt.  Guess I’ll be working lots of overtime this fall and winter to whack back the bills from this trip!

Alright then on with some photos to cheer us up a bit.  Life was good back in Separ.  This fake teepee at Bowlin’s Continental Divide Historical Trading Post:


From Lordsburg.  I don’t remember seeing this Oscar’s sign previous trips:


And then, Silver City.  There it is.  Poor, poor Sparkle.  I’m so, so sorry:


From our downtown walk – the Gila Theatre:


And from my across the street neighbor, the Copper Manor, providing our internet for the night – god bless ‘em!  I wonder if the rooms are nicer there?  Ah, but I shouldn’t begrudge The Drifter.  They still have their awesome sign (over at Flickr tonight) and they gave some nutjob from NY with four dogs their remaining room.


Looking for the silver lining here in Silver City.  I’ll get back to you tomorrow with the latest.  Maybe I’ll take nature photos or something mundane for you tomorrow.  I’m committed to this blog – highs and lows doncha know.


40 thoughts on “Day 16: oh yes!! and then, oh no…..

  1. Really sorry this happened :(. But as you say, no one with two legs or four was hurt….so that’s a comfort

  2. I am so sorry about your accident! Although I am so happy that you, the pups, and the other driver are all okay.

    My husband asked the other night if you sell prints of your work, and I wasn’t sure. If you’d be willing to do so, we’d be happy to put some money into the Sparkle fund!

    • I really don’t sell prints. That’s nice that people value my photos in an arty way — but I really focus on the website as my contribution to the world. And since it’s free… you can always just make a donation (the “feed Sparkle” button in the yellow bar), small or large, whenever it strikes you.

  3. holy crap! i’m so glad you and the doggies are okay but this is major suckage on all fronts. damn….

    poor sparkle. that picture just rips my heart out, debra jane.

    glad you took a walk to clear your head. please let me know if you want me to call and check in — if you need to vent i’m here for you.

    or if there’s anything i can do to help.

    big hug and so sorry….



    • All okay — wrist still sore — kinda swollen — but definitely not anything requiring a doctor. I must braced my bod on the steering wheel. Rather F-up my hand a little than my head!

      I’ll overcome this hurdle in a day or a few — and be on my way snapping pix again. Hopefully, there will still be overtime available when I get home!

  4. After a major road trip boo boo, my traveling companion (and passenger) shrugged off my apology with “That’s the way you get stories”. It’s true and it good to have stories though some are just so damned expensive. Sorry ’bout the damages. Happy ’bout the absence of injuries.

    • Yeah, I’m trying to look at this incident as a chance to catch up on sleep, enjoy the weather and my dogs. A much slower pace but still much to relish. I’m not the lounging type so it’s all against my nature.

      My dogs are my role models. Their reaction to everything is “COOL!”. Glad to have them along to realize how lucky we all are.

  5. I really hope this goes well and you skate out without too crazy a bill. That alignment will be crucial. Make sure to do it upon completion of the repairs.

    • I definitely will head for the nearest Firestone — much as it will kill me to sit some more. Gonna need A/C fill-up as well since it’s gonna be in the 90s soon — and evidently the compressor is connected to the radiator and that freon stuff is gone.

  6. I don’t know if we’re allowed to swear here on the internets but when I quickly scrolled down to your photos before reading the whole post my first reaction when seeing Sparkle was “oh shit”- and Mod Betty usually isn’t the cursing kind.

    SO glad that neither you nor the pups nor anyone else was hurt or damaged, and that even though you’re shaken, you’re taking it in stride.

    In case anyone else is reading this comment and wants to chip in – here’s the link to the donation part of You know we all benefit from and greatly enjoy “riding shotgun” with DJS and her pooches, so we all prolly owe her some gas money.

    I know what you get might not be much, but every little bit helps! Keep us all posted, and take care of yourself!

    • Thanks really nice of you to suggest that! I’ll take any donations with heartfelt appreciation and incentive to provide you with more, more, MORE roadside visual compensation.

      I’m usually a potty mouth. 30+ years of living in NYC means you drop the F-bomb at the slightest provocation. But throughout this ordeal, all I’ve felt is sadness. I think frustration erupts tomorrow.

  7. Glad you or anyone else was not hurt. Unfortunately shit happens, when it’s least expected. That damage looks a lot LESS than your description made it out to be, but $5000? Ouch. You may not see everything you wanted this trip, but least you’re OK.

    • Well, I’m going to try to not have it interfere too much with productivity. But I might be speeding less. Supposedly, the mechanic has spent $1900 on parts already. Which I believe — just a mirror on my van is like $300 or something. So a radiator, the whole big front end piece that holds the radiator, the lights… it’s adding up.

    • Thanks — really appreciate your support. I have my cell phone off right now since I’m saving the juice for tomorrow’s updates from the mechanic. I charge my cell phone on these trips with a cigarette lighter adapter — but since Sparkle is far away right now… no way to charge. This, too, we will overcome — though I’ll be poorer for it — and maybe driving a bit paranoid for awhile or longer.

  8. Glad to hear that you and the doggies are all ok, but of all the places to be stuck – Silver City? Hey, I am not too terribly far away in El Paso so if there is anything my husband and I can help you with we will be glad to do it!

    • Thanks — it would be a fine time to get together. We could hit the road together all seven of us for a few days. what an adventure and getting to know each other that would be! But I’m hoping for some good later today or tomorrow. But if I’m stuck here til Monday, maybe I’ll shoot you an email and we can go off to Hatch for some fiberglass madness or something.

  9. Oh, I’m so sorry to hear about the wreck. At least you are not seriously hurt! I hope this doesn’t put too much of a damper on your trip. Hoping Sparkle will be good as new in no time.

    • I’m hoping that once we get rolling, this will be off my mind and things will be normal. But I think the dented front end will be a constant reminder. And that credit card balance when I get home will be a shocker. Ah well — gotta live it up when you can.

  10. So sorry to hear of your accident, but glad no one or dogs were hurt. Any way I hope you get Sparkle repaired soon, and that you can continue on your trip. Take care.

  11. Dear DJ,
    You really didn’t have to do that to get my attention. I was onboard, anyway.

    Glad you came away with a minor(?) injury (icing it?), & the kids are OK!

    I am amazed with ALL THE MILES you drive this is your first accident.So, while this SUCKS, it could have been worse,no?
    For example, my first car was totaled after 6 months by some kids t-boning me , & my 4th car was also totaled after 3 months by some kids who stole a car and plowed it into the back of my PARKED car.
    So, poor Sparkle will ride again.It may be the world’s most expensive Astro Van, but hey, she’s yours!

    After this, I’ll contribute in my small way to the Feed ( & repair) Sparkle Fund.

    Dear Gal, I know the next few days will be strange, but you & Sparkle will heal. Luckily, Dee is also OK, so more excellent photos await.Try to breathe deep & relax a bit (if you can) & enjoy a Diet Coke or two while repairs commence.

    I’ll be thinking good thoughts for you if that means anything.

    • I’m glad to hear that other folks have been in accidents and that lived moved on. Hand still sore — not icing it. Good enough to type and that’s what matters. Thanks for your support, donation, and advice (relax? me?).

  12. Oh no; serious ‘dislike’ – I’m with everyone else on this, just glad y’all are ok and Sparkle will ride again. I’m going to donate today to the Sparkle repair fund.

  13. Also glad to hear everyone’s alright. But such a sad day otherwise. 😦

    On the positive side (though not for you), after the cost of parts and the expense of running his shop, at least the mechanic is taking home some pay for this week.

    • Yeah, I think he’s an upfront, caring guy. I think he realizes I’m in the same boat as him (living day to day, no savings account, etc. He stayed in El Paso last night to get a part in the morning — more than any mechanic I know would do. So I hope he’ll give me a fair shake with the bill. The parts are already more than $2000.

  14. Glad you are OK and no one else got hurt, cars can always be fixed or replaced. Good luck getting back on the road.

    • Thanks. Sparkle won’t be pretty when it’s done — even for $6000. But hey, yes driving again and taking pictures again would be nice. Hoping maybe tonight!

    • Got back on the road this afternoon! Woo-hoo! Sparkle is BACK — so glad I did not abandon her. I love her SO much. More to come much later tonight at the blog.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s