Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Day Everything Changed, Part 1

You may have noticed it's been over a month since I've updated this blog. It's not because I got bored with it. Or because things have been boring in our world. Oh nothing could be further from the truth I assure you! When last I visited here, we had just wrapped up a stress reducing week in Mexico Beach FL and were poised to head north to Indianapolis to spend six weeks visiting friends and family. We did make our way through Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky. And had some pretty terrific experiences along the way. Which eventually I will fill you all in on. Because they are worth noting. But first, there is a more important story to share. One that I've been putting off telling. Because it's emotionally draining. And because I was waiting for the story to come to a conclusion of sorts. The time has finally come. Gather around my friends.

On May 1, we started the day at a campground in southern Indiana. We only had an hour and a half drive to our final destination at a campground on the southwest side of Indianapolis. Weather was fantastic, we were in great spirits and it was an easy drive. After a week of daily drives we were really looking forward to staying in one place for awhile. As we drove up US 31 south of Indianapolis we were noting how nicely the RV was handling through the stop and go traffic (lots and lots of traffic lights). We headed west off of 31 towards the campground with only two miles left to go. As we got to under a mile to go, we slowed down as we kept an eye on the addresses. It was a two lane street in a residential area. At the bottom of a very small hill there was a light that was yellow. Karin applied the breaks right away (she always allows plenty of breaking time as RV's do not stop nearly as quickly as cars). Immediately she said "the brakes aren't working, I have NO brakes"! She pumped and pumped and pumped and nothing happened. We had a COMPLETE brake failure. By the time we hit the intersection the light had turned red. You can guess what happened next, can't you?

It was the most terrifying experience of my life. When we first realized we had no brakes, there were no other cars in sight. But as we reached the intersection we saw a car approaching from our left. The only proactive thing Karin could do was to speed up to try to get us on through the intersection before the car reached us. It did help some. But not enough. Another second or so and maybe. Timing is everything, isn't it?

We went flying through that intersection. I believe I was screaming like a banshee the whole way. Karin says I was. I believe her. What I remember most was feeling horrified that whoever was in the other car would be hurt. I couldn't bear the thought of that. When the collision occurred, the front end of the RV had made it through the intersection. But at 35 foot long, the back end had NOT cleared. We felt the impact, enough to know that it had happened,but not enough to throw us much. It took awhile to finally bring the RV to a stop.

Once it stopped, Karin raced out of the RV to see what the damage was and if anyone had been hurt (she goes into police mode during any crisis; it's handy to have a retired police officer around!). I started calling my parents and my son (not easy...I was shaking ridiculously hard). What Karin saw was that the very end side panel of the RV had taken a hit. The car was no longer hooked to the RV and had taken a solid hit to the front drivers side. The tow bar base plate had completely pulled off of the car. The tow bar itself, which you may remember was brand new, was still intact. The car that hit us was completely smashed up, up front as it was a head-on hit for them. The good news; the woman driving and her very small child were unharmed. My worst nightmare had not happened. And we were unharmed as well. Same for our animals. The cats hide at the back of the RV while on the road. So they were closest to where the collision was. But other than being frightened, they were fine.

From the back of the RV. Doesn't look all that terrible from the back. I guess.

A little bit more of the damage.

And now a lot more of the damage is visible. If you click to enlarge and look closely you can see the other car's headlight embedded in the RV. The compartment that was hit holds the RV's water holding tank. That is why there is water rushing out of the RV.

Our car.Which we had only had a little over three months.    :(


So much of what happened is a blur. While Karin was dealing with the police (she knew both officers on the scene....Indianapolis Police Department is where she retired from), and making calls to insurance, I was rounding up the animals and getting essentials out of the RV as it was going to be towed away. My son was able to come with his work van, so we loaded things up into his van. This all took quite awhile and I was shaking like a leaf the whole time.

The amazing thing about this story is that it happened where it did. Had this happened anywhere else along our journey we would have been up shit creek without a paddle. We lost not only our vehicle that day, we also lost our home! Anywhere else, who would have rescued us, our three animals and our stuff? I keep thinking about that....especially as the story unfolded to get even more complicated. As it was, my son was able to get us all out of there as needed and help get us situated.

Reliving that day is getting easier but still is unpleasant. So just getting this far with the story was a full evening of writing for me (had to keep taking breaks). So will wrap this section up and follow up very soon with Part 2. What came after the accident was no walk in the park either. Although we did in fact take a walk in the park.   :)     Stay tuned.


  1. Is it possible you two have a bit of PTSD? It wouldn't be surprising, or even out of the ordinary.

    1. Roxi- Pretty sure that is the case and will be touching on that in Part 2. And it will play a role in Part 3 as well! This is my first experience with this. I don't like it much. But I'm glad it's not worse.

  2. Oh my, you all are in my thoughts. Will be following the story with much interest.

  3. Wow how very scary .... glad to hear that no one was seriously injured. Will be awaiting the rest of the story when you are able to write it out.


  4. That must of been scary, did you try the hand brake cos that's cable operated and works seperate from the foot brake and may of stopped you in time? It would of been a long rear wheel skid but should of done the trick. I hope y'all ok and back on the road soon.


  5. I am so sorry for the loss of your home! What are your plans for the future? I will be following your blog to find out what happens!

  6. How scary! I'm glad you and the critters and the driver of the other vehicle all came through it without any physical injuries.

  7. What a terrible experience! I am so sorry you are having to deal with this. Thanks for sharing the ordeal with us. Glad everyone is OK physically.

  8. This sounds like a wild and scary experience. We are so glad you are both okay, but please know that you have been in our thoughts. I hope you guys do return to your travels. It is always a pleasure to read about your adventures.

  9. I don't want to sound flippant but one really has to consider how much worse it could have been in almost every way. There'll be another tow car and the RV will get fixed. But I'm glad you are all well.

  10. I am so, so glad that no one was physically hurt. I'll be following along to hear how you recover from the accident. Knowing you two I'm sure that you will recover strong.

    Thinking of you :-)