Thanksgiving Trip

This Thanksgiving we made a trip to Austin. We left at around 10AM on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and arrived at 2PM with much to be thankful for.

I have never seen so many accidents on one 200 mile stretch of road in my entire life.

We were south bound on I-35 from Dallas. We were still north of Waco when we traffic became stop and go. The problem was a wreaked, maroon, motor home the size of a greyhound bus. It had a Texas Aggie logo on the back.

The thing was turned around the wrong way in the northbound lane and was sitting on some concrete center dividers that were off to the shoulder of the northbound lane. No clue as to what happened. There did not seem to be any other vehicles involved. The highway was not blocked. The slow traffic was being caused by rubber neckers. Morbid curiosity on the part of the general public.

A few miles further on, traffic got back to normal and we again set the cruise to 70 and settled back.

I guess it is no longer fashionable to drive the speed limit. We were being passed on a regular basis by people in more of a hurry than we were. The old high speed convoy syndrome was in full effect. Bumper to bumper they drove and at speeds ten to fifteen miles above the speed limit.

I am not one of those who believe that speed kills. No more than I subscribe to the false theory that guns kill. People kill. Sometimes they use guns. Sometimes they use cars. Speeding while driving recklessly is never a safe or smart activity. The number of accidents we saw on our way to Austin were proof positive of our suppositions.

Just south of Waco traffic slowed again. This time it was chain reaction collision involving five cars in the fast lane of the northbound lane. That was accident number two.

Not long after that there was another traffic slow down. Same thing all over again. This time six cars were involved in a chain reaction collision in the fast lane. Luckily it was the northbound lane and did not block traffic flow in the southbound lane. That was accident number three.

At that point I was resigned to be on the road for a very long time. There was no way that ALL the accidents would only occur in the northbound lane. High speed, tail gateing, convoys were also southbound and passing me every few minutes.

Before we arrived in Austin around 2PM we saw three more chain reaction collisions in the northbound lane yet none in the southbound lane.

After we arrived, we felt very lucky not to have been effected by the insanity we witnessed on the highway. We had lots to be thankful for.

The return trip was somewhat less exciting. There was only one wreak but it added an additional hour to our trip. Stop and go traffic on all four lanes of the highway and all lanes on the access roads. Somewhere in the vicinity of Waco an 18 wheeler had decided to lay down in the middle of the center median. The tractor was in there somewhere but it was a barely recognizable, twisted mass of sheet metal. The trailer had been opened at the front and the impact had strewn hundreds of small parcels out onto the grassy ground in front of the tractor. A real mess. The trailer did not have any distinctive markings. That and the number of packages laying around made me suspect that this must have been a mail truck.

We passed by the accident site and made it home without incident. Later we discovered on the news that the truck accident had resulted in I-35 being shut down for four hours while they tried to recover the truck and contents. We must have been one of the few lucky that got through before the REAL accident happened.

Seems that the crane the brought out to the scene to lift the truck back onto its wheels, fell over and took out one of the fire trucks that were on guard against fuel fires. Now there was a story that will probably never get told completely. The crane fell over and destroyed a fire truck. I can understand bad things happening to good people, but this does not sound like that sort of event. I was not there. I did not see what happened, but I do know it did happen and it should not have happened. Probably would not have happened to people who knew what they were doing.

This has been a very interesting and thanks provoking Thanksgiving. We had just as much to be thankful for after the return trip as we had on the trip down there.

Not looking forward to any more holiday driving this year.

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