California or bust.

Operation relocate to San Francisco is nearly complete. The family his here. Our stuff is here. There are dishes in the cabinet and the internet is active. Now as soon as Cristi’s bruises heal and my black eye disappears, we’ll be all set.

Bruises and black eyes? That’s correct. My lucky streak of random experiences related to this move took a bit of turn when we hit a patch of black ice on I-80 this past Monday. It was my first wreck. And if firsts are supposed to be memorable, this one was a doozy.

We were aware of the ice and had slowed down to about 50 MPH. We hit a slick spot—the entire rear end of the car began to slide sideways and I regained control for a second. My momentary sense of relief was interrupted by the sick realization that the car was starting to slip again the other direction. I didn’t hit the brakes. I turned into the slide. I thought I was doing everything right. We started to slow down as the Jeep slid sideways down the centerline completely perpendicular to oncoming traffic. That’s when I saw the semi truck coming our way.

Seconds later, we bounced off the front of the 18-wheeler. Cristi and I are both a bit fuzzy on the details, but we think he hit us twice. The glass in the back shattered. Our carload of random crap exploded onto the highway. Woody jumped out of the moving wreck through one of the broken windows. We wound up in the median of the highway.


It was 30 degrees. The dog was loose running the opposite direction. The car was crushed. We’d left a trail of debris. My head was bleeding. Cristi quickly retrieved Woody with a piece of beef jerky and I wondered around mumbling wishing I had on a pair of work boots instead of Converse. A couple of people stopped to check on us and make sure we were OK. We thought we were fine. Then the phone calls began. Insurance companies. Tow companies. Police reports. What’s covered and what isn’t? Should we go to the hospital? Should the dog go to the vet? Is the car drivable? How the hell are we going to get to San Francisco?

Nice people began to emerge. A friendly sheriff. Cool EMTs. Pat from Reno gave Cristi a jacket from her car and let her borrow a dog leash for Woody. The Cherokee still ran, but not very well. We wound up in Laramie, WY where we rented a Uhaul box truck to finish the trip. With $65 worth of gas in the tank, we sold the beloved Jeep for $200 and got back on the road.


Looking back on the whole thing, the wreck seems unlucky for sure. But the fact that we’re still here telling the story dramatically to friends and family would make the accident one of the luckier moments in our lives.


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