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Don and Alma's trip to the ata show

Reprinted with the kind permission of US Archer

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, IN.

Don, 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, NV.

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 lock.

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!

Demand the Best!