Friday, September 16, 2005

A Vacation of Near Misses

I suppose I should be careful, as vacation isn't over yet and I could be jinxing myself, but this has truly been a week of near misses.

Around 4 the second day we were here in Fresno I was awakened by a lot of sirens and flashing lights. My first thought was that they were on the main road outside Dad's community, but the lights and sirens were right outside the window! I got up and looked out and saw a cop car at the curb, fire trucks roaring past, and an enormous plume of smoke just to the right down the street. I ran to the hall and tapped on Dad's door. Lori came out and said "Im going to look!" so we threw on clothes and walked up to the end of the block. We were greeted with a horrible sight... leaping flames up higher than the tree line and TWO houses fully engulfed. Apparently, the fire was caused by a broken gas line, and the wind took it from one house to the other. The homes in the neighborhood all have shake roofs and the firemen, having written off the already burning homes, turned their attention to wetting down everything nearby. What an amazing sight! No one was hurt, although we did see a couple of firemen being checked out as we headed home. There were a total of 9 trucks that responded, and 2 ambulances, plus several news vans, of course. The first news guy got there when Lori and I did...

Here is a pic of the houses in the paper the next day...

The visit remained fairly innocuous for a few days; Nic and I went down to Palm Springs and spent a couple days with the family there. On the way home we had a scary incident on the road ...God was definitely with us! As we came over the pass between Los Angeles and Bakersfield (on I-5), I was driving Dad's car, a little Mitsubishi eclipse. We had Jack in the back, and Nic was on the phone with Jason in the passenger seat. At that section of road, there is a drop of about 40 feet on the left side down to the southbound lanes for I-5. There were four lanes, and on the left there was a shoulder, about the size of a lane, and then a guardrail before the drop. I was going about 80 in the fast lane (the speed limit is 70... don't tell!), but there were a ton of trucks (semis) in the right 2 lanes, all going only about 45-60 mph because of the grade.

We were coming to the top of that section of grade when suddenly one of the trucks veered out of the line, across 2.5 lanes of traffic, and directly into our path! The thing moved so fast that his tires were smoking from the turn and the trailer started to jackknife toward traffic. I slammed on the brakes and swerved onto the shoulder, didn't have time to even pull the E-brake... We skidded along the verge for about 100 yards and sort of sped and slid/skidded around the nose of the truck. I was able to control the car and get back into the fast lane just as the trucker started to straighten out again and pulled his rig back into the middle lane.

A glance in the rearview showed about 4-6 other cars that also looked to be recovering from the episode, but NO ONE HIT ANYTHING OR THE TRUCK! Isnt that amazing? I was shaking so bad that I could hardly put in the clutch, I was sure that we were going either into the truck or over the drop...Nic had yelled and dropped the phone from her ear, so Jas was PANICKED for a minute. We got going again, but I was SO relieved when we finally got out of the pass and away from the trucks...If it had happened any sooner or later from where we were, we could very easily have gone over the edge on the southbound lanes. >shudder<

Praise God that our angels were with us! Nic had a few contractions after the near miss, just from adrenaline, but she and Jack and little Jacob were fine after we all got calmed down. It really was a close call!

Here's hoping we have no close calls on our flights home tomorrow...Pray for us! :-)


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