Well, we’re still here in wild, wooly, wonderful West Virginia, and now we have a new car!! Or rather, Mr. Rilch has a new car. My name’s not on the title, but I am allowed to drive it, and I have my own little key ring, with a key, and one of those keyless-entry gizmos! I have never before had the privilege of driving a vehicle that has one of those things, and I am, as I told Mr. Rilch yesterday, drunk with power. Every chance I get, I’m pressing it once to unlock the driver’s door – chunk – and twice to unlock all four doors – choonk – and then locking it all up again – shooomp!
But we had excitement of another sort on Saturday afternoon. We had been in Little Washington, running errands, and were heading back to the farm along windy, twisty roads. Now this time I wasn’t reading, so I saw the whole thing. A car coming in the other direction swooped across the yellow line, and it wasn’t just a matter of losing control on the curve. He was about to be fully in our lane, and since the speed limit on this road was 45, this was no joke.
Mr. Rilch pulled onto as much shoulder as there was and sped up a bit, and the other car, now in the wrong lane entirely, zoomed around and in back of us, so close he would have peeled off our bumper stickers, had we had any. He disappeared into what I thought was a driveway or a side road, but Mr. Rilch saw in the rearview mirror was empty space. We both thought the other guy was drunk, and on my own, I admit, I would have crossed myself and kept going. But Mr. Rilch had other ideas, and pulled a U-turn to leave the car on the other side of the road before heading downhill to find out what was what.
I followed, and saw the car neatly tucked into a narrow ravine about thirty feet below road level. Mr. Rilch and two other guys, who I later found out had been in the back yard of the closest house, were looking into the car and calling up to other spectators. They opened the door, and the unhurt driver climbed out. It was a middle-aged guy who claimed he’d fallen asleep at the wheel. According to to the other two guys, who had had a front-row seat of everything after the car left the road, it had slipped easily over the edge, threading the needle between a utility pole and a guy wire, continued down the incline and along a stream that is usually dry but currently damp and muddy, due to recent rains. That, plus the simple fact that he was asleep, apparently softened the impact, and some helpful bushes stopped the car’s forward momentum. The car itself also suffered minimal damage, although I’d love to know how it got towed out.
The driver of the car behind us said several times that the incident could easily have become a four-car pileup. Mr. Rilch credits his avoidance of that to many hours logged driving in LA AND playing GTA. Whatever the reason, he saved at least three lives and our car, which again I say, we hadn’t had a whole week yet. Had he not reacted as he did, it would have been a head-on collision for sure, with a combined speed of 90 to 100 mph. But we’re okay, the car’s okay, the other guy is okay. Several people made remarks about guardian angels. I’m not entirely sure about that; ISTM that the purest form of luck would be not to fall asleep at the wheel and not to have to get your car towed out of a ravine, which I’m sure was no barrel of laughs. But Mr. Rilch is an angel for sure!