Saturday, May 23, 2009

Getting Where I Am Today Began By Going Downhill

Having raced cars for so long I have had my fair share of crashes, flips and roll overs but now that I am headed to Pikes Peak I believe is should be clear why this one stands out in my mind.

It was a freak accident in that when I swerved off the gravel road and flew thru the air the first thing to hit was the front end of the car and at the same time as it hit some stumps it began to flip. When it flipped and went over on it's side I hung on to the steering wheel which caused my body to swing out across the front bench seat. At the same time the rear seat had flown forward and when the car crashed on it's roof it sandwiched me between the two very padded car seats of my 1958 Ford which is where I was trapped. I continued to roll end over end a total of 375 yards in what was the only section of road where the trees had been logged or otherwise I would only have gone a few yards off the road.

Another amazing fact was that two loggers had come around a corner just in the nick of time to see my taillights going off the corner or else nobody would have even known I was down there. When the car stopped it was on it's side and the two loggers were yelling, "Are you alive? Can you hear us?" I was 17 and I kept yelling back, "How does my car look? Is it OK? Will my dad be able to tell I was in a wreck? Oh God, what will he say?" When they were finally able to pry the roof open to get me out I saw the car sitting only inches from another cliff and on it's side. This time had it rolled one more time I would have dropped right into the deep side of the Rogue River and drowned.

You should have seen what was left of that car. All four doors were ripped off but ironically the drivers side mirror was still attached to the fender. When it was all said and done I walked away without a single scratch or bruise on me. Obviously someone was watching over me that day. But the funny thing is, had it not been for that crash I would never have been forced to swap the engine, transmission and rear-end into another car that I traded my electric organ my parents had just bought me. Who knows had I not learned how to fix cars I may have been playing country western music at some bar in Colorado.

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