The accident happened at light speed. When pulling Alexander SuperScamp, our 13’ trailer, I’m always more alert. I know that I’ve got nearly 1500 extra pounds attached to the rear of our Honda Element. I keep the speed down and give other drivers plenty of leeway. We were only 100 miles out of Hueco, Texas, leaving the sleepy rural southern New Mexico town of Deming en route to Hurricane, Utah on New Year’s Eve day. While gently coaxing all four cylinders of the Honda to reach the 45 mph speed limit on the Silver City Highway, a large white pickup lurched out of a parking lot, accelerating rapidly toward the passenger side of the Element. My immediate thought was, two and a half tons of heavy metal hitting the passenger side of our little Honda would kill Maggie. Reflexes kicked in, causing me to rapidly crank the wheel to the left and swerve into an open lane, hopefully delaying or at least reducing the impact. By saving Maggie and possibly the Element, I was cognizant I would be sacrificing Alex. It’s amazing how heightened your fight-or-flight awareness becomes during a moment of crisis.
The impact was extreme. I heard Maggie scream “Oh my god!”, and felt the trailer tug us hard to the left. I could see Alex in the driver side mirror still hanging on tightly to the hitch while dragging on his side. With our forward momentum he somehow made it back to an upright position. I slowly pulled off the highway onto the right shoulder, feeling a lot of vibration and drag coming from the severely wounded 1500 pound attachment.
Maggie, Lola, Frankie and I were physically unscathed. We exited the Element a good 200 feet past the point of impact, where we were met by the frantic driver of the white pickup carrying Alex’s door. He apologized profusely. Both Maggie and I reluctantly turned to assess the condition of Alex. He was mutilated and would never again be road worthy or livable. Pieces of him blended with scrap components from the F150 pickup and were scattered for a couple hundred feet along the busy highway. I watched as moderately heavy traffic continued to stream by at high speed further crushing the accident debris. It seemed that no one cared, much less understood, that we’d just lost our home. Alex’s missing door was laid beside him by the other driver, it was void of hinges and splintered. The passenger side wheel was bent nearly in half. Many of the rivets that hold the interior to the exterior were gone or sticking out in all directions.
Inside Alex was complete chaos. Broken glass was mixed with protein powder, clothing, rugs, oatmeal, tea, coffee beans, almonds, and cereal. Our 12 gallon fresh water tank, which was strapped under the back passenger bench, had exploded and drenched nearly everything in the mix. It was painful to look at. A New Mexico State Trooper appeared within minutes. The sheriff arrived soon after. Reports were written. Pictures were taken. The 24 year young driver was issued two citations and we were left to figure out what to do now that we were homeless.
Just then, an angel appeared! Well, not really… Eddie Diaz, the owner of the Diaz Farms Produce Stand and parking lot adjacent to the accident scene, appeared with a welcoming smile and a twinkle in his eye that instantly revealed his friendly demeanor. He informed us that we could park the disabled Alex in his orchard for as long as we needed. With permission from the state trooper and traffic control provided by the sheriff, we were able to gently coax Alex off the highway and into the orchard. Alex somehow hung on just enough to facilitate the move of less then 100 yards. Doubtful he would have made it 10 feet beyond. We removed our most valuable items like passports, birth certificates, and emergency post-apocalypse cash, and sought out a Motel 6 for the cold night to come. One hell of a way to ring in the New Year!
On the first day of 2019 we found a small U-Haul trailer 38 miles north in the town of Hurley and returned to the scene of the carnage where we removed what was left of our personal items. It took most of the day to clean the eclectic mix of goo off our salvageable belongings and pack them into cardboard boxes and our few surviving plastic bins. We spent an additional night at the Motel 6. We were exhausted. The emotional stress combined with the physical labor was taking its toll. The following morning was spent conferring with State Farm representatives and hiring the only RV repair shop in Deming to inspect, photograph, and assess the damage. Alex was pronounced dead. A total loss. To revive him would exceed his actual value fivefold.
More angels, our friends Jim & Kayla, offered us their spare bedroom for as long as needed. The dark cloud that had been hanging over us was now displaying the beginnings of a silver lining. As we were about to depart, Eddie arrived to wish us well. He promised to keep Alex’s remains safe until someone, still unbeknownst to us, would arrive and take him to his final resting place. I offered him a gratuity for his kind offer and he refused. He told me that I looked like the type of person who had helped others in the past and that he believed in Karma. Maybe “angels” are really just decent human beings.
We’re now settled in at Jim & Kayla’s in Hurricane, UT, and bouldering in nearby Moe’s and Mario Land. Our hope is to acquire the power needed for lofty goals ahead. We’ve ordered a BRAND NEW Scamp Trailer, direct from the factory. After hearing our sad tale, Scamp graciously offered to fast-track its production and we’ll make the drive to Minnesota to pick it up in mid-February. It’s our home so we decided to bite the bullet and have one built to our precise mobile living requirements. We’ll avoid Deming, New Mexico, even if it means having to drive a thousand miles via a circuitous route.
Life can change at the speed of light. As we cruise along comfortably, it’s not uncommon to be blindsided by something unpredictable where everything changes in a heartbeat. When life’s encounters impact us negatively, we can choose to give up or take the challenge head on. We recommend the head on method. Maggie and I were incredibly lucky to walk away without physical injury and only short term emotional trauma. We’re equally lucky to be surrounded by supportive friends who are also experienced with the positive aspects of compassionate karma.
May the New Year find us all immersed in and surrounded by peace…
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