Moving Back East

ErnieBy the end of August, we were on our way to Washington, DC, with our moving expenses paid for by AFGE and all the packing done by the movers. Gen and Doug drove their new Dodge station wagon, hauling their new 26-foot camping trailer. Becky and I followed in Gen's Plymouth Satellite, accompanied by Ernie, who was not so happy as when this photograph was taken.

Gen's life was taking another dramatic turn. As always, a trailer was involved.

11/9/09 We left Ogden by way of the same route we arrived 10 years earlier--trending east by way of Weber Canyon on Interstate 80, up across Wyoming. Once you get out of the Rockies, it's an unchallenging drive between Cheyenne and Chicago, with only the offenses of other drivers to provide entertainment. Gen was driving the big Dodge station wagon (while Doug navigated), hauling the trailer a half-mile ahead of Becky and me, up a long grade with a curve at the top. I saw a cloud of dust form suddenly over the roadway. Traffic ahead spilled off the road helter-skelter on either side. I watched the Dodge and trailer veer off onto the right shoulder as an oncoming 18-wheeler roared across the median directly across Gen's bow. I thought my parents were goners.

Not so, however. The lady always could handle a vehicle. Gen kept her rig straight as she came to a perfectly executed standstill just inches away from the truck's broadside trailer, now wobbling across the right shoulder into a jackknife with its tractor, while traffic coming up fast from behind skittered around to the left of what could have been a pile of rubble, but wasn't due to Gen's driving skill and that angel of luck that has been on her shoulder all her life.

An hour later we were back on the road after the Wyoming State Police secured the scene, took down names, determined what happened, and who was to blame. The driver of the west-bound 18-wheeler had fallen asleep at his wheel and failed to negotiate the curve at the top of the grade. He plowed across the I-80 median, across the eastbound lanes, and jackknifed his rig on the eastbound right shoulder. Nobody was hurt, no property was damaged, but I bet the incident woke him up.