Eileen and I went up to the Okanagan valley on our annual pilgrimage to the wine country of B.C. Every spring we go to visit old favorites and try the newer ventures. We had a fantastic long weekend, leaving home on Thursday and getting back on Sunday. The weather was really outstanding and the guest house at Burrowing Owl is very luxurious, enough so that it is easy to get relaxed in a matter of hours rather than the typical days of decompression it might take on any other holiday.
Our return trip this morning started off with very unusual weather: rain! Good thing we had decided to head out early such that we could pick up the dogs from their “spa weekend” on the way home. Unfortunately things didn’t go as planned: on one of the sharp turns outside of Princeton a car crossed the center line and smashed into the driver’s side door of our blue Saturn. The picture pretty much says it all. Fortunately no one seems to have been injured, and the story ends better than it might have.
It is a bit weird having an accident outside any major population center; there was no cell service for anyone’s phone and there was limited traffic passing by (although all who did pass stopped to see if they could help). We packed ourselves up and headed back 20km to Princeton to find the local RCMP detachment and look into how we might want to get our car back to Vancouver. Princeton isn’t exactly a major destination spot in B.C. One tow truck service, no car rental options, and quite limited choices for pretty much everything else. We stopped at the Husky gas station as it was the first place we came to, though the staff was moderately unhelpful. We got cell service and started calling around to the RCMP to report the accident.
Someone else had already reported it however, which explained the police, ambulance and fire rescue service vehicles we passed on the way back to town. I guess they weren’t taking any chances on whether we were lying a pool of our own blood and body parts, potentially pinned under a blazing car. Better safe than sorry, which is fine by me. The only downside was that we had to wait while they got out to the site, concluded there wasn’t anyone to rescue, then drove back to town to interview everyone involved.
After some waiting, then some explaining, then more waiting, we were handed our police report and sent off on our way. During part of the waiting we occupied ourselves with talking about how lucky we’d been and also trying to recollect whether we thought our car was too badly damaged to drive or not. The impact was low speed and from the side such that our airbags did not deploy. I recalled kicking open the door to get out, while Eileen’s door was pinned against the concrete barrier that protected us from driving off the road to relative safety. We weren’t really sure whether there had been damage to the wheels or not.
We got a tow truck to take us back out to the scene and investigate whether our day was going to get much, much longer. Turns out with a sharp kick to force the door securely closed, careful removal of the debris from what was left of the door, and some duct tape to secure the remaining dangling plastic fragments we could drive the car safely enough to get back to Vancouver.
All in all, we were amazingly lucky. I’m very impressed with the way our Saturn weathered the damage, but I wouldn’t want to try it again. The white Honda Accord that hit us didn’t hold up nearly as well, tearing away the front quarter panel and front bumper.
Besides not sustaining any injury and only moderate damage, the other good thing is that our six cases of wine in the trunk were not damaged at all. Whew.