(From Nov. 5th to the 10th, as part of the AADPW blogging contest, I will be talking about my trip to Suffern, NY, and the Authors After Dark Paranormal Weekend that took place from Oct. 23-25.)
I left the house early for the airport in Houston two and a half hours away. A cold front had come in the day before, and it had been raining all night. It was still raining sporadically until I reached El Campo, and that's where I hit the frog strangler. It continued to pour on me, forcing traffic to slow down on the divided highway.
I drive a 2001 Ford Escort ZX2. A small car, but wide and low to the road. I fully believe that's why the car saved my life that morning.
I was nearing Kendelton (for those of you familiar with US 59). A refrigerator truck was in the right lane and slowing down, so I decided to go around him. We were running about 60 mph. As I came around on the left side, I saw the water on the road, taking up most of the road. At the same moment, I got caught in the backwash from the truck.
I hit the water, and my car began to spin out of control. Something in my head kept saying DON'T HIT THE BRAKES. At the same time, I remembered to turn in the direction of the skid. All this time, my car did Two Complete Counter-clockwise Revolutions. I tore through the grassy median. I vaguely remember seeing dirt and grass flying upward, and hitting my windshield.
I came to a sudden, jerky halt on the opposite side of the freeway, facing oncoming traffic. It was still dark. It wasn't yet dawn. And I could see the headlights heading straight toward me.
Numb, I couldn't think other than I needed to be on the OTHER side of the freeway. So slowly I drove back across the torn up median, unmindful of the fact that I could get stuck in the mud, and stopped when I reached the northbound shoulder. It took me several minutes to stop shaking, but I prayed thanks I hadn't flipped. That another car hadn't hit me. And that I was relatively unhurt.
Yes, I continued on to the airport, but my nerves were shot. I parked my car, got checked in, and made my flight in time. I arrived at the New Jersey airport around 5:00 p.m., rented a car, and got to the hotel in Suffern by 7:00.
On my way home on Sunday, I found the spot where I'd gone across. It has to be the only area in that fifteen-mile stretch where the median is flat. The rest of the time it dips down into a ditch.
I had been thinking about trading my little car in for some time now. Screw it. I'm keeping my little Ford Escort.