Sandi Wheaton's photographic journey from Chicago to LA with a Jeep, an Aliner trailer and a bunch of cameras

just call me Crash

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

This was an interesting location from earlier on in the Route – a large abandoned gymnasium made with Ozark sandstone in the “giraffe” style in Phillipsburg, Missouri.  There was a really neat old truck parked in front:

old truck next to the abandoned gymnasium in Phillipsburg, MO

old truck next to the abandoned gymnasium in Phillipsburg, MO

That was just a visual for you.  Its only connection to this post is that the vehicle in the photo is kinda the same color as (and in fact it is probably in better shape than) the car I’m going to write about now.   I was planning on writing about some Route 66 thing in my next post but I just have to share this with you…  You’re not going to believe the irony of what happened to me this week.

I actually grabbed a cheap flight back to Detroit for a few days because I needed to handle some personal business: leave the US and re-enter to reload my health insurance so that I am covered in the states; reduce my mortgage payments, as it was up for renewal; look into a job opportunity; and take a bath and sleep in my bed while I’m here, of course.  :)   Since the Jeep and triangle are parked at Melody’s place in LA, I have no car.  My very helpful and generous friend Rebecca offered up her burgundy Tracker so I could run my errands.

You already know where this is going.

So on the way home from my meeting at the bank on Monday, I was trying to turn left at a busy intersection, when a lovely Windsorite decided to let me in.  He motioned to me that it was OK, I could go ahead of him – so I did!  …BAM!!!  Yes: I had a car accident.  Rebecca’s car, and the other car involved, got seriously smashed up.  Thankfully, no one was hurt.  I did hit my head on the window but I’m assured it’s nothing.

OK: can someone explain to me how, after driving over 2400 miles across America, through cities unknown to me, towing a trailer, driving a standard,  following a map book, and manning a time lapse camera, all while scouting for shoot locations, I can have ZERO incident — and then come back to my hometown and get into an accident where none of the above challenges were present??  W..T..F..???

I figure it makes sense to use this post to share old car shots on Route 66

I figured it made sense to use this post to share old car shots from Route 66

I wish I wish I wish it were MY car.  The fact that my friend trusted me with hers and I got it smashed up makes me ill.  I signed this document today at her broker’s office declaring that I won’t drive her car for the next six years and that will keep it from damaging her record, so that made me feel better (albeit humiliated)… but still.  I feel so awful about it.  I have been assured several times, though, that people letting other drivers in is a common cause of accidents – which makes me feel marginally less stupid for just going.  (I seriously don’t get it.  I am a good driver and I have a good record.  How could this have happened?)

So after waiting over three hours for the police to show up at the scene and give me a ticket and then have the vehicles towed to the collision center… I come home to a note on my stairs and a set of keys.  While I was out playing bumper cars, my tenants had moved out.  Without notice, without discussion, and without paying November’s rent.  Last I heard from them, they were staying through November.  This doubly sucks, because they were great tenants!  At least they left an apologetic note.  This is literally what I walked into after the accident.

I wished I was still in the triangle!

It’s taken me a few days to sort through all of this crap and find someone to watch my house (hence the tardy post), but I am feeling a bit better and more philosophical about it all.  As my friend Ken keeps reminding me: what matters is no one was hurt – the rest is just money, money is just a tool, etc.  And he’s right, of course.

Getting a serious hair cut and going to a free seminar about self-publishing yesterday probably helped, too.  I was told that some people in the local publishing biz are interested in working with me on a book about this journey, so that felt great to hear.  (It was funny: one of said publishers who reads this blog was in the audience, and when I got up to ask a question and she heard me start with “my name is Sandi Wheaton…”, apparently she almost bolted upright and yelled “NO, IT ISN’T!!” – because of course she thought I was still in LA.  I thought that was pretty funny.)

another retired one in Missouri

another retired one in Missouri

Today I return to LA, where I will visit with friends old and new (66 to Cali: I’m heading to the pier tomorrow, email to follow) – then pick up “the combination”, and start the trek back to the Mother Land.  So many mixed feelings about all of this… but I am excited about returning to clean up my life and downsize it.  One of the first things I thought when I came into my house after a six week absence was, “my god, I have way too much stuff”.  And one of the first things I thought when I came home to the tenants gone and was hit with the financial repercussions was, “my god, I have to get rid of this house”.  A big part of me doesn’t want to let go of my house – but I think that’s  attachment and fear talking.  Living out of attachment and fear would have kept me from this trip, which would have been a damn shame… so I know I need to rise above those feelings, and clear a new path for myself.  A path with more flexibility, more freedom… and less impacts!

Amarillo Globe-News: Lisa Pawlowski's article online

Amarillo Globe-News: Lisa Pawlowski's article online

Also: I need to share a story that was published in the Amarillo Globe-News last weekend.  Thanks to Lisa Pawlowski for the super article!  I haven’t seen the hard copy yet but I can’t wait to, especially since I think they ran color photos with it.  You can read it online here.


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