I have no idea how long it's been since I last posted. Probably only a couple of weeks, but a lot has happened in that time. Feels much longer. Feels different now.
Two weeks ago we were preparing for the biggest spring on record. Two weeks ago, we were transitioning from a heavenly week on the beach, camping with new friends made during our Florida adventure. Two weeks ago, we had finally purged most of the unessentials. Everything changed two weeks ago, though, on our commute to Dallas.
We left Lockhart early that Saturday morning after an early barbecue nosh at Smitty's. By 10am we would be at Joss Growers in Georgetown photographing plants for our Rockport project. As we approached the entrance ramp onto 130 tollway on the eastside of Austin, a woman travelling east on Maha Loop Road failed to stop at her stop sign. She broadsided us. Rear axle and driveshaft shot from the undercarriage of Daisy (our white F250) and landed in the field. We began to skid...the trailer started to roll...we went up on two wheels...and were being dragged into a culvert. The trailer popped off and the truck tipped to land upright, halfway into the ditch alongside the feeder road to 130 tollway. Nobody appeared to be injured.
The other driver's vehicle was totalled but, thankfully, she was fine. Shaken up, apologetic, sure. But uninjured. Our truck was inoperable but the camper appeared to be ok. When I looked back at the trailer...oh my...I thought it must be in a thousand pieces. Debris littered the roadside. I climbed out of the truck to take a closer look. When the trailer rolled, the rear doors shattered, and everything inside and that was stored on top, sprayed the tall-grass field. It took a couple of hours, but we found even the tiniest of Barbie shoes and attachments to the socket wrench. Most likely, we found all of our belongings. I haven't noticed anything missing...yet. Most of our things were destroyed: BOB stroller, Sage's bicycle trailer, Mr. Heater Big Buddy propane heater, rooftop cargo storage, and so much more. Oddly, Sage's toys seem to be intact but covered in mud and grass. I think I can salvage most of them. Even her dress-up clothes, dragged across the pavement and tossed into the muddy field, might be cleaned up. We'll find out today when I start going through more of our salvaged items.
The next day, we took a rented Uhaul trailer to the wrecker yard to retrieve the remainder of our belongings. Instantly we knew the truck and trailer would be rendered a total loss but we weren't so sure about El Valor. Its door was hanging on by a bungee cord (our redneck lock) but from the outside it appeared to be structurally intact. And maybe it is, but as we approached the doorway, the unmistakable stench of hot urine was overwhelming. I peeked inside to find Sage's training potty had exploded all over the bedding, the walls, the floor. Everywhere. Gawd! Awful. I was able to rescue and clean our clothes and shoes and some of the bedding, but really everything is ruined. Walls are probably rotted by now.
In an instant, our mobile journey skidded and screeched to a halt. Instantly, we were without a vehicle, a mobile office, a home, a playhouse, an adventure rig. In an instant, we downsized to little more than our clothes and shoes, a few personal items, and our laptops. A few months ago I had joked that ultimately we would downsize to backpacks and tennis shoes. Shame on me.
So...I will spare all the messy details of working with insurance companies and affiliated businesses. I will keep to myself my opinions about that industry and the government entities that supposely govern them. Instead, I will give an up-to-the-minute synopsis of where we are, what we are doing, and what's next for the NativeDave clan...
At the moment, Sage, Folsom and I are staying with family in the Dallas area. Our clothes and shoes, books and toys, pots and pans and cooking paraphernalia are with us. We have taken over a portion of the garage with bedding materials that we have attempted to clean. Cushions, pillows, padding, blankets and sleeping bags...ruined. Sage's carseat had to be replaced, and the old one sits along with all the other broken and "lost personal property" items awaiting disposal. (I'm not discarding anything until everything is settled.) We have no vehicle, but we are uber-fortunate to have a few willing chauffeurs. Everybody is safe and comfortable. David made it to Corpus Christi to pick up our other truck, after a series of frustrating and maddening events. Again, I won't bore you with insurance crap. He drove that truck to Rockport, taking with him a few camping items that DID survive the accident, and a borrowed tent. He will be at the jobsite for a few days, then will start the trek back toward Dallas.
Our other truck is older, smaller and does not have 4-wheel drive. But everything works on it; it starts everytime. It isn't a long-term option for our mobile lifestyle, but it should at least get us around through spring. When David returns, we will make a few repairs and modifications to make it more comfortable. On his way back he will pick up the trailer in Austin. Surprisingly, we feel we can repair the wall supports that cracked and raise the roof so that we can stand up. The new hardwood flooring we had just finished appear unscathed...this makes me happy. Since this ordeal began, I have grieved most for the trailer. Now it's coming home! It will take some time to make it road-ready...
The mobile part of our journey might be on hold at the moment while we reconfigure our rig but the adventure has never ended. Neither has our mission to preserve, conserve, restore and celebrate natural beauty. Despite all the turmoil, we continue to work. We have given a presentation for the City of Allen and have met with several new clients. We have worked on designs, turned in designs, and finished some revisions. Still have a few more...Anyway, I'm rambling. Sage is awake and ready to eat breakfast. Folsom needs to go outside, and I still haven't had my coffee. It's a different but beautiful start to today.