Friday, October 17, 2008


First the good news: No unexpected or planned hospital visits in last few months. YEA

I would like to make this just about all the great things that happen, but I suppose I should be honest. I pulled a really dumb trick a couple of weeks ago, and now I'm afraid to drive on Thursdays.

Background - My beloved Dodge Neon was beginning to cost more to operate than it was worth, so we traded for a 2008 Ford Taurus. It was more car than we had planned on, but we felt it was worth the difference between it and the smaller cars we looked at. We got a very good deal on it, and really like it.

The last part of September I drove the new car to Texas, to visit Terri and Don, again. The car performed beautifully, and I only needed to stop for gas once on the more than six hundred mile trip. Much better gas mileage than my old car, and also a much larger gas tank. I only got lost once, for a very short time, and this was from following a GPS I had borrowed. It wanted to keep me on an interstate, when state highways were much closer and faster.

Had a great visit and stayed longer than I had planned. Started home on Thursday, Oct. 3. First few hours of the trip were fine. Then, at Van Buren, Arkansas, I thought the GPS was sending me the wrong way, again. I went a different way, and after driving through rush hour traffic for a while, I realized the mistake was mine. First dumb decision of the day.

I pulled over and looked at my map, and I decided that rather than backtracking, I could take a county road that slanted back Northeast, and would hook up with the actual highway I wanted. Second dumb decision of the day.

For a while, everything was okay. Then I came to a sign saying "pavement ends." Third dumb decision of the day. I kept going on the dirt road, which then became narrow and rocky. No place to turn around, and then I got a flat tire. Took out my cell phone, but had no signal. This was around six in the evening. I didn't want to drive on the tire as I was afraid of ruining it and/or the rim. I thought I would try to change the tire, but ran out of air and had to use my oxygen before I even got the trunk unloaded. I decided to wait until someone came along. I finally got a signal just long enough to send Wayne a message saying "help."

Of course, that scared him to death. I later sent another one saying that I had a flat tire and was lost. My phone said that it was sent, but he swears that he didn't get it. I still couldn't keep a signal long enough to call 9-1-1.

By a few minutes after seven, nobody had passed by or responded to my horn honking. I decided that I would have to drive on the tire until I could get a phone signal. Two or three miles further into the woods, I finally got a signal. I called 9-1-1.

The dispatcher I talked to could not find the road I was on, on her map. She wasn't even sure that I was in her county. She transferred me to an adjoining county, but that dispatcher didn't know where I was either. Finally the first dispatcher, Carrie, came back on the line. I told her what county road I had gotten on, and how it changed. She sent some deputies to look for me, although none of them had any idea where I was. Of course it was totally dark by then, but I honestly wasn't scared. I figured they would find me sooner or later.

Finally, by following my directions, an off duty deputy from Crawford County, Arkansas and his two teen-age sons found me. They changed the tire, before another deputy showed up. None of them had ever been on this road before, and had no idea where it went. After changing the tire, we drove on another mile or two until we found a place where we could turn around, and they had me follow them back the way we had come.

Deputy McKenzie stopped at a main road and asked if his son could drive my car, as he was familiar with the winding roads. I got in the passenger seat and the young man drove my car. We followed his dad to their home, where they were going to see if they could fix the tire. Turned out the cut was in the sidewall, so Dep. McKenzie couldn't plug it.

They then took me to a service station for gas, and then to a motel. Dep. McKenzie and both sons went inside with me, and Dep. McKenzie showed his ID and told the woman that I had had car trouble, and that I needed a room on the bottom floor (because of my breathing). I couldn't decide if I felt like a prisoner or that I was going into the Witness Protection Program. By the time I checked in and we drove around to my room, another Deputy was there.

Deputy McKenzie and his sons carried my bag and even unlocked my room and checked it out. They even offered to get me something to eat. By this time it was nearly eleven o'clock and I was pooped. I called Wayne one last time, I had called him and Terri both earlier to tell them I was being rescued, and then got ready for bed.

This was quite an experience. For some reason, I never did get scared, but I was certainly embarrassed. I couldn't believe how I could make one dumb decision after another. I did meet some very nice people, and showed them a part of their county they didn't know about. lol The boy told me about his college work and showed me the dirt racerack where he, his brother, and their dad race. At their house, they showed me their race cars. As I said, nice people.

The rest of my trip home the next day was uneventful. However, one week later, on a Thursday, I was run off the road on H Hway., two miles from home, and ruined both a tire and a rim. Of course the old man driving the other car didn't stop; don't know if he even knew it happened. I swore I was not going to drive on Thursdays any more, but I drove yesterday, which was a Thursday, and I didn't have any problems.