November 14 and 15, 2020
Sometimes when on trips you just wake up one morning and decide you want to go home now. Most of the time you can’t just do that because of flights, reservations, etc but when you are driving your own car and only making reservations as you go, well, you have the freedom to make that decision. On Friday, November 13th I woke up in a VRBO in Moab, Utah looked at Gregory and said, “I am ready to go home now”. We had planned to be gone at least another 5 or so days since deciding a few weeks earlier in the trip that we would try and make it home just in time for Thanksgiving. But on this morning I decided I had seen enough and was ready to make the 2 full days of driving trek back home. Surprisingly, both girls concurred. We never agree on anything unanimously so I knew it was really time we go home. We made the decision to begin our 25+ hours drive home bright and early the next morning.
To get from Moab, Utah back home required us to drive across the states of Colorado, Kansas, Missouri and TN among parts of other states. For the most part it was a boring and uneventful trip. However, in Colorado we hit what I, as a Southerner, would call a massive snow storm. At some points the snow was so heavy you could only see the car in front of you (see video below). Very beautiful but a bit scary at times driving. By the time we got outside of Denver the snow stopped, the sun was out but it was incredibly windy which it would remain for most the rest of the trip home. If you have ever driven through Kansas you know there are a lot of open fields with nothing for VERY long stretches of time. We were not sure where we were going to stop for the night but around 7PM we decided we would try and make it to Kansas City, MO before stopping. We almost made it! In the middle of nowhere Kansas, on a dark highway traveling at 80mph our car and a deer collided. Gregory was driving and saw the creature at the last second but he could not be avoided. The girls and I, otherwise occupied, had no idea what had happened when the passenger side air bags deployed and there was a loud crushing noise. The impact was as though we had hit a brick wall. After pulling over and making sure everyone was ok (except the deer) we realized we were 1/2 mile from an exit that actually had a few hotels! We thought it best to limp to the exit in our beat up car, access the full extent of the damage and get a room for the night. That deer tore off the front passenger side of the fender, the trim around the tire well, and put a huge dent in the passenger door (over $18,000 worth of damage I now know ). After speaking to my insurance company we learned that in order to get the car hauled home and pay for a rental car it was going to cost us $1,500.00 or we had to leave the car in Kansas to be repaired, pay for a rental and come back to Kansas and get the car when it was ready. Neither a good option in our opinion. That is when I had a brilliant idea. I am about to give some good advice, so pay attention. NEVER LEAVE HOME WITHOUT DUCT TAPE!! As most Southerners know (and I bet even many non-southerners), there isn’t much you can’t repair with duct tape. That includes an Infiniti SUV! At 10Pm at night, in a Comfort Inn parking lot, in the middle of nowhere Kansas Gregory and I went to work taping up front sensor cords and side airbags because we were driving that car the 900+ miles home even if we had to duct tape it together (see photos of handy work below). After taping everything up we took the car for a spin to make sure nothing was rubbing and it was driving well. Success! To bed we went until our 6AM departure. 900+ miles later at around 10:20PM EST we rolled into our driveway safely with no one injured except for a bruise on my right hip where the seat airbag slapped me hard and a deer somewhere in Kansas.