Hello, it’s me.
That’s the rig parked alongside a remote exit in Southern Montana.
We began the day with a casualty.
Then things slowly began to unwind, under the guise of “Big Sky”.
We’re cruising through Montana when Dad says … “DEER”.
Now, this deer was on a mission. It began a targeted run from the upper end of the east-bound median, pointed directly at our RV, loped down the median, and then appeared to accelerate up the median toward us.
Dad was in the left lane, headed westbound. There was a car next to him in the right lane. He had three choices.
- Speed Up.
- Maintain Speed.
- Slow Down.
Because the deer pointed directly at the rig, Dad elected to speed up. This turned out to be a good decision, because the deer ran smack dab into the driver’s side of the van. When 25mph meets 80mph, there are two losers and one winner.
- Loser = The deer, who died (we assume) due to the fact that 80mph > 25mph.
- Loser = The rig, which suffered damage.
- Winner = A to-be-determined auto body shop, who will be paid a thousand or two thousand to make the necessary repairs.
We immediately pulled on to a freeway off ramp, which was conveniently placed right next to the scene of the crime. Dad opened the door, and proclaimed “we have damage“.
Yup, that’s deer fur above the wheel on the door covering the water faucet.
Actually, the deer hit the driver’s side door, dented the area around the water heater, abrasively scraped the vehicle up to the wheel well, then finished the job before chasing the light #restinpeace.
This is where NASCAR comes into play.
Mom says “Do you have any of that purple duct tape I bought you?” And in a rare moment of marital compliance, Dad says “YES!”.
Mom gets on the phone with Allstate.
Dad gets to work on the rig like the pit crew of a car damaged on turn two at Bristol Motor Speedway. Working furiously, Dad only lost three laps to the leader while making necessary repairs.
Dad took me for a quick break to tinkle, and conveniently, there was a wrecker about to tow a school bus … just in case we also needed assistance, a wrecking service was at our disposal.
Down three laps to the leader, Dad held out hope that we could make it all the way to Missoula by sunset. As Dad says, “once you get to Missoula, you are opening the door to Pacific Northwest.” Or maybe he didn’t say that, because it sounds stupid to me. Whatever. He still held out hope.
So we drove. The duct tape held! The rig appeared to drive as an aligned vehicle.
That’s about the time that the winds hit. Big-time winds. 30mph – 40mph. The rig rocked, and the rig rolled. Rocked. Rolled. Rocked. Rolled. Then, this message appeared on the dashboard.
Visit workshop? Why, did we forget to pack a crescent wrench?
Turns out the Electronic Stability Program malfunctioned.
We had three choices.
- Hook up the code reader and see what the computer says.
- Take the rig to the closest Mercedes dealership (about 400 miles away), and hope nothing else happened.
- Pull into a gas station, turn the rig off, pump some gas, clean the windshield, have Mom research the issue online, and then pray that the situation self-corrects.
Dad chose option number three.
Mom offered hope with her internet research – it was just high winds causing the computer to freak out.
Option three corrected the problem.
All problems can be corrected by turning a computer off and then restarting the computer.
At this point, Mom and Dad elected to “take Missoula off the board”. They drove 20mph under the speed limit in high winds to Bozeman, paid an unGodly amount of money for a hotel room from a proprietor who took full advantage of the proximity of Yellowstone to gouge any weary traveler who maimed a deer and was asked by an automobile computer to visit a workshop.
Mom and Dad then did what any rational couple who have been married nearly thirty years and faced a fair share of external noise over said timeframe would do.
After dinner, it was time to stroll the streets of Bozeman. I quickly identified a threat, #rustymetal.
Mom found an establishment to soothe her savage soul.
And the family unit adopted a motto to begin tomorrow anew.