Neal & the Camry vs. I-85 & an embankment!

Hey Everyone – so I know it has been a while since I put up a new post – things have been a blur pretty much since my AWESOME weekend trip back to NC for the big UNC v dooook game!

I’ve been meaning to update a lil about what took place – ESPECIALLY a lil episode on I-85 on my way back to GA.  So here’s the story…

So I got to Chapel Hill about 2 PM and met up with my friend Kristi (THANKS AGAIN FOR THE AWESOME TICKET TO THE GAME AND A REAL FUN TIME!!!) – we then grabbed some lunch and headed over to Franklin St. so I could pick up a new “TURN IT BLUE” T-shirt to support my HEELS!!!  After that we headed over to the DOME to see what could be one of the greatest games in the big UNC v dook rivalry!  The game was outstanding with some real back and forth action, but then the Heels pulled it out in the end.  They won the game 79-71 and sent the poooor lil blue devils packing!  

Then it was on to the next great part of the evening – since this was SENIOR NIGHT – UNC has a tradition of letting the seniors speak to the crowd after the game.  I forgot to mention that this also “sealed the deal” for the ACC Regular Season Championship – so the Heels got to cut down the net to keep as a reminder for the great season.  Then all 7 Seniors got a chance to talk and it was a Heel Fan’s dream evening.

Finally we got outta there about 7:15 and headed back to pick up Kristi’s car and I was able to get out of the Chapel Hill area by about 8 PM.  This wasn’t too bad, but I was having to travel all the way back to GA that night.  So I was figuring I was going to get in about 2 AM, but I knew I shouldn’t hit too much traffic (or so I thought).

About 9 PM everything came to a screeching hault and we basically crawled along, being stopped a good bit of the time, for the next 45-50 min.  So finally about 10 PM the traffic cleared and I was back rolling along strong, but was probably not getting home till closer to 3 AM – which totally stinks, what I didn’t realize that I was in for the ride of my life.

I finally stopped for the final gas up just as I got back into GA – grabbed some snacks and a drink to keep me awake.  Amazingly enough I had been doing really well and not running into any issues dozing off (which has been a problem in the past) I had been on the phone some with friends and also doing some texting to keep me wide awake.  Now it was soooo late (or early depending on how you look at it) that there was really no one to be calling.

So here I am at 1:30 AM, about an hour from home and strolling along with my cruise set at about 75 MPH on I-85, no traffic in sight.  I was driving along making great time, but I started to get bored and let my mind wander and got distracted.  I picked up my phone and started messing with some things online on my phone.  I did happen to notice that a car way up ahead was getting closer, so I knew that I was rolling up on it pretty quick.  I just figured I would slowly catch up and just easily pass the car in the left lane.  I kept looking down and messing with my phone and not paying much attention.  All of a sudden I realized something had happened and I looked up – JUST IN TIME to see the minivan had either come to a complete stop or was moving extremely slowly.

All I could see were bright red brake lights and the back of that minivan – I realized I was instantly in a bad spot.  I didn’t have time to check traffic and I knew that I could not swerve left in fear of hitting any other cars.  I could not stay in my lane or I would SLAM into the back of the minivan.  The only option was to swerve to the right – onto the shoulder of the road, but I knew there was a good amount of room and that I might be okay.  I also realized that I might be able to just hit the gas and speed around the car and back onto the roadway, but that didn’t happen.

Truly it all happened pretty fast and I know I didn’t have too much control.  So up the embankment I went – I could see my lights up into the trees and thought for a moment that this was it – that I was about to go plunging right into these trees and who knew what would happen.  I was finally able to level the car off and just drive out on the embankment (have no idea how long I was up there) but  I kept feeling like my next fear was for the car to start rolling or spinning out (I was still going pretty fast, but I had been fortunate to kick off my cruise control).  At the same time I knew I had to get back down to level ground without losing control and overcompensating and driving back into traffic on the interstate.

Finally and fortunately I was able to get back down to the level pavement of the shoulder of the road and able to get the car stopped.  To the best of my comprehension the car had not suffered any severe damage and I had come out of it all unscathed.  As I hopped out of the car another car had pulled off behind me and the guy was getting out and called up to me to see if I was okay.  He asked if I had fallen asleep but that had not even remotely been the case.  I asked him if saw the minivan and explained what had happened and how I almost hit them and had to swerve not to hit it.  He kept saying how he could not believe what he had seen and how I had driven up the embankment and my lights had pointed directly off the road.  He kept saying how lucky I was and how he just had not seen anything like that.

He was a really nice guy and actually followed me up to the next exit where I pulled off to pull into a gas station where there was better lighting to check out the car.  There were no noises, the car was pulling to a side, the brakes were fine.  As we got out and walked around the car there was all sorts of dirt and grass and stuff all over the right side.  There was some SERIOUS amount of big grass & weeds up under the front fender.  The guy was pulling handfulls out and tossing it aside, but he said he guessed after that ride it was to be expected – NO DOUBT.

We assessed that there was no damage – which is probably even MORE amazing than the simple fact that I didn’t die or even get injured.  I realized I was VERY FORTUNATE and for whatever reason the Lord has protected the stupid on this particular night.  I was able to arrive home about 2:30 AM and get settled, although I was pretty keyed up from the evening.

Needless to say for SO MANY REASONS it will be a weekend and a road trip that I will not soon forget.  I mean I did tell you all in my post about the road trip that I was SURE I would have some stories – who knew just exactly the crazy story I would have!

So that’s my story and I am sticking to it!  Now everyone knows – and remember “knowing is half the battle” – thanks GI Joe!



Filed under Interesting Interactions, My So Called Life

8 responses to “Neal & the Camry vs. I-85 & an embankment!

  1. lsaufley

    And the moral of the story is???? Put your phone down while you’re driving! (I’m telling myself that too–I’ve been trying to be more careful)! Glad you are okay! Wow. That’s a total Neal moment. I’m sure you’ll be using that in a sermon one day!

  2. Ash

    Don’t hesitate to give me a call the next time this situation arises – no matter how late. I imagine you’ll be extremely cautious for the next while though, after something crazy like that ride!

  3. Tom Bloemker

    Maybe your on to something… Not a SUV but a Off-road sedan, this might save the auto industry! (Autopilot required)

  4. chattynicol

    I seem to remember a warning being issued after your clever “stop-theo” idea about technology and driving! yikes kid, Praise the Lord you’re ok!! praise Jesus, put down the phone and if you need an adrenaline rush please just go find a roller-coaster! 😉
    (ps- if you ever have to drive that time of day again feel free to hit up south africa- i should be awake)

  5. V

    next time call CJ, he’s almost always up that late.

  6. Yo Yo – thanks for all the concern & wishes and available phone people! That’s just it though – this had nothing to do with falling asleep – I was simply bored ha ha ha –
    And Laura I might disagree the moral of the story is for people in minivans to not come to a complete stop IN a lane on the interstate ha ha ha ha

    The Lord was definitely watching out for me – no doubt – and I am trying to do better paying attention but at least I got a great story right!

    And Tommy-boy – thanks for fixing my brakes earlier that week or else I really WOULD have been in bad shape – not sure I’d have come out of it unscathed with the way the brakes had been working. You may be on to something with that whole “off-road” thing ha ha ha

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