Don and I started for Las Vegas and the ATA Show in our
1991 Chrysler Town and Country Van with 334,000 miles on it. We were
going to spend our 46th anniversary with Jan and Roland Haggard in
Las Vegas and head on to the Archery Trade Association Show in Indianapolis,
Alma and the van made it back to Longview
I had been sleeping most of the day when Don asked me
to drive. I remember thinking, "I'm getting sleepy," but thought I
could drive a little longer because Don had been driving all day. I
saw the sign for Bordertown coming up and then I came to a scream as
I started to leave the highway. Don said, "Alma, what are you doing?"
He started to turn back on the road and I grabbed the wheel and yanked
it out of his hand and over-corrected. I should tell you about now
I was on cruise control at 67 miles per hour. It never crossed my mind
to put on the brakes. We swerved one way and then the other and the
next thing I remember I was hanging upside down in the seatbelt, then
a quick hard flip and we were over on the wheels.
Don asked if I was okay and I said, "Yes." I looked at
him and he had a 2-inch spot on his hand. It looked like a rug burn
and was bleeding in 2 spots. He figured he had bit it.
We had been heading towards Reno and were now in the
median but were now turned toward the Bordertown overpass. Don's side
of the van hit so hard it jarred his teeth harder than anytime in his
life. We opened our doors and stepped out of the van just as a young
man came running from his pickup to see if he could help. He called
the State Patrol and an ambulance. Another man came from the other
side and couldn't believe we weren't injured or dead.
Don crawled in the back and started throwing bows out
the back door window. I stooped down and picked up a flashlight and
another thing and put them back in the van. I asked him what he though
he was doing. He said, "Someone has to straighten out this mess." He
pulled the big plastic tub out of the side door broken window and set
it back on its wheels. The Bow Press had gone through the other side
window behind the driver's seat so we had three big holes for the wind
to blow through. Then he put the table over where it was sitting and
wanted me to give him back all the bows he had just thrown out. He
said he was just going back home.
We weren't hurt and the car was still running. One of
the men said it was going to be a little windy with three windows out.
When we rolled over, we came down to hard it buried the right front
tire to the frame and blew the tire off the rim. We also had dirt and
sage brush in the back tire of that side. The second fellow called
a tow truck for us. The ambulance arrived and immediately brought out
the stretcher. We said, No--we weren't hurt. They asked us some questions
to make sure we were okay--like which way was Reno, who was the president,
the date--all of which we answered okay. They took our blood pressure
and mine was 180 over 70. Don's was 150 over 80; they made us sign
a slip saying we refused to go to the hospital and left.
The Nevada State Patrol [had arrived] by this time and
asked what happened. I said, "I went to sleep." He looked at me and
stated at lease I was honest, most people lie. He looked at the van
where we had been and said, "Are you sure you're not hurt?" The State
Patrol couldn't believe it when we said, No.
One of the witnesses that stopped said, "It was a spectacular
rollover with very little damage to the top of the van and no one was
hurt." We drove the van around the truck stop and came back to ask
where we could find a place to put plywood in the broken window holes.
I asked the owner what we owed and he said to tip the buy that changed
the tires $5.00 and sent us on our way.
We headed for Lowes and Don went in and asked if they
had someone to help us fill the holes. They had us drive inside the
store and cut plywood to go in the windows while Don bought a drill
so we could get one space open to get stuff out of it if we couldn't
open the back door. He bought screws which they helped him screw the
plywood in the window holes. We climbed in and headed for Fallon,
NV to spend the night.
The car shimmed a little and the steering wheel was tilted
at 30-degrees but steered well. We got up the next morning and headed
for a wheel alignment but they were booked up. To keep the car legal
on the highway we bought a mirror for the right side and installed
it. We also bought two rolls of duct tape and taped the edges of the
plywood and the gap in the top of the back door and left for Las Vegas,
We arrived at Jan and Roland's home. They came running
out the door to see if we were really okay. They couldn't believe the
small amount of damage for a complete rollover. They had called our
son and found out why we were late. I told them I had my guardian angel
with me. They said she had to have been sitting on my shoulder We had
supper and went to bed. The next morning we went to Wiens Tire Service
and they changed the bent rim and aligned the tire. Don worked on the
back door at Roland's house with his tools and got it to close and
That evening we took the Haggards out to celebrate our
46th anniversary and went to bed. We got up the next morning and headed
to the ATC Show in Indy. After three days at the show we headed back
home. The Chrysler Town and Country van, with 338,000 miles on it,
purred right along and brought us back home safely. We put 5,500 miles
on it after we rolled it. Although we had oil with us, none was needed
and it is still going strong!