You may remember
or myself talking up our vacation to Spain about a year and a half ago. We’d often say we got so lucky and had the perfect vacation. Well, it turns out that even vacations regress to the mean.
We left Monday morning for Damariscotta, Maine. Corinna’s boss has a place up there which she’ll be retiring to in a few months. Until then, though, she’s only there on the weekends, so she let us use for a few days during the week. The place was gorgeous, and we really enjoyed exploring that area. We had some great food, and it turns out that Maine is rather beautiful. We’ll post some pictures from my iPhone and Coco’s camera, but please forgive me for cutting this part of the story short. It turns out, it’s not where the real action is.
Wednesday morning we packed up the car, Hawkeye, and continued on to Bar Harbor, Maine. Our plan was to explore Acadia National Park, which has always sounded dreamy. The beautiful weather we had enjoyed for the first two days, though, had given out and we drove up Route 1 in light-to-moderate rain. After about an hour of driving, we found ourselves in Rockland, Maine. In fact, we found ourselves at about 130 Camden Street in Rockland, Maine. It was at this point of the trip that another individual, driving a Silverado, in the oncoming lane found THEMSELVES crossing the turning lane and slamming into the front of Hawkeye at a non-trivial rate of speed. Hawkeye was rotated 90 degress clockwise and tossed into the parking lot to our right, and came to a stop. The black Silverado pickup rolled into the parking lot as well, continuing to roll for a few hundred feet before stopping.
Once the car came to rest, and I got my bearings, I checked on Corinna, who seemed to be in pain but intact. She was saying her chest and neck were hurting, but mostly her chest. It sounded like she had the wind knocked out of her, but she said she thought she was OK. I felt pretty banged up, my knees hit something, and my left elbow and thumb got banged up a bit, but while my injuries couldn’t be considered trivial, it all seemed to be bumps and bruises, nothing broken or life threatening. I couldn’t quite get my door open, but I managed to force it open enough to sidle out of the car. By the time I got around to Corinna’s side of the car to try to open her door I noticed she was passing (or perhaps passed) out. Her eyes were rolled back into her head much like the time when I had my appendix out and she fainted while I was being prepped for surgery. I yelled for her to wake up, and she did, but was a little out of it. Afterwards she would tell me that she had a vivid dream while passed out, but I’ll let her tell that story. At this time an off-duty EMT pulled up and offered her help, and a seemingly off-duty fireman also showed to do the same. While the EMT cared for Corinna, making sure she didn’t move her neck or do anything crazy before the ambulance showed up, the fireman tried to pry the hood open enough to cut the battery cable, reducing the chance of the car blowing up (or something). I was pretty much out of the loop on this one, not really able to help anywhere, so I took the above photo of the damaged car and made my way over to the other car to check on it’s driver. It was a woman in her 30s who claimed to have pulled out of a driveway across the street, lost control of her truck while it fishtailed, and plowed into us accidentally. I asked if she was OK, which she said she was, and she apologized while looking completely terrified. Everyone seemed to be skeptical of her story, but whatever, I can’t imagine whatever it was she did was intentional, so there’s little point in getting caught up on the details.
The fireman couldn’t get to the battery cables with the tools he happened to have in the back of his personal car, but quickly the cops, firemen, and ambulance showed and with their equipment the cut the cable. Everyone thought it’d be a good idea if Corinna took a ride to the hospital to get her chest x-rayed and get looked at by a doctor. They got a collar on her and on a backboard (which seemed to take 3 hours, but obviously my perspective was skewed), and I grabbed a few of our belongings (her purse most importantly) and jumped in the front of the ambulance. Pen Bay ER was only a few minutes away, and they took her in while I gave the front desk her information. After I finished with that they brought me around to see her just before they took her for Xrays. Everything checked out fine, and the doc thanked her for wearing her seat belt and told her to take it easy. Her chest was pretty bruised from the seat belt and it would take a while to heal. We both walked away from that crash thanks to our seat belts, so it’d hard to be mad about our bumps and bruises. Her chest still hurts pretty badly, even a few days later, and she’s having trouble getting out of bed and has to avoid coughing, laughing, and sneezing, but she seems to be getting better every day. I know I can, at times, be prone to hyperbole, but this was without a doubt the closest I’ve come to dying in my life. A few things go differently, and it’d be my construct here typing this.
After Corinna was discharged it took awhile to get the rest of the day squared away. We were about 2.5 hours away from Bar Harbor, but we were 3.5-4 hours away from home, so we decided to press on. First, I needed to get ahold of the cop who reported to the scene, as he had my license and registration (as well as all the information about the other driver). The ER staff were very helpful and gave him a call and Officer Daniels came right over. He had already prepared a little form with all the details I needed regarding the other driver, and even had a badass little baseball card-style business card, which gave us a laugh when we needed one. He took some other information from us and was really helpful and comforting. After he left I spent a bit more time on the phone with the other drivers’ insurance and Enterprise rental who came over to pick us up in the rental. We stopped by the tow yard to take some pictures and get all our crap out of Hawkeye in the mud and pouring rain, and we’ll probably never see him again. He gave his life protecting ours, and while our final moments may have seemed a little unceremonious and ungrateful, I know he wouldn’t have wanted any pomp and circumstance; He wasn’t a hero, he was just doing his job.
While I was transferring stuff to the rental, the husband of the driver stopped by to see his car.. He seemed very cool, and reassured me that they had full insurance coverage and they had already told the insurance company that the accident was his wife’s fault. We chatted briefly and shook hands, I don’t think anyone felt good about what happened earlier in the day so there’s no need to hold grudges. With Hawkeye cleaned out we grabbed a quick meal and set out, slowly, for Bar Harbor. We arrived around 6pm, approximately 4 hours after we had originally planned to arrive. It boggles my mind that so much happened in those four hours. Upon arriving, I opened my MacBook Air to discover that it took some injuries during the crash. It was in my bookbag behind the drivers’ seat, and the trackpad button got smashed and the case has been bent. You can see the tops of the case screws pushing through the handrest in the above photo of Officer Daniels’ baseball card! Fortunately, I’m hopeful that their insurance will cover this as well.
We did our best to make the most of the remainder of our vacation, but between our injuries and the rainy weather, there was only so much we could do. On Thursday, after sleeping in pretty late, the weather was decent for a spell and we got up to the top of Cadillac Mountain, but the cloud cover was below the summit, so the only good views were on the way up and down. After that excursion we returned to the B&B and rested before dinner. Friday the weather was pretty miserable, but we still managed to tour the loop road that goes around the park and stopped for a few very small hikes and vistas. The miserable weather and the tides did combine to make Thunder Hole pretty exciting, though. This morning we had breakfast at the B&B and hit the road pretty much right away, watching the bad weather melt away into a beautiful day as we travelled south.
Perhaps I’ll come back with more details about the non-accident part of our trip in the future, but for the time being it is really all I can think about. Not to sound melodramatic, but I’ve seen the replay of that black pickup coming directly for us over and over again, and it hasn’t lost any impact yet.