on the road with gwendymom

My car after the accident.
My car after the accident.
Notice the antler on the floorboard.
Notice the antler on the floorboard.

I recently made a emergency trip to Grand Junction Colorado with my eighteen year old daughter. I drove through most of the western side of Kansas to hit I-70. Then drove through the middle of Colorado until 30 miles before the Utah state line. It was a long and exhausting trip.

I should give you a few details about my past so that you can understand the state of terror that I was in driving over Loveland/Vail pass.

I lived in Colorado for many years and spent lots of time there during my childhood. When I became an adult and had two of my three children, I decided that I wanted a part time job. At that time I lived in Durango, CO. I picked up the newspaper and read an add for delivery drivers for the Denver Post. I thought that this would be the perfect job for me as I could work early in the mornings before the kids could wake up and I had a family friend that would be able to watch the kids when I was out. Needless to say I didn't even consider the winter driving, or the that the newspapers have to be delivered seven days a week. Yep, hindsight really is 20/20. I went in and applied for the job, and got it. My route would be about a 90 mile trip through mostly rural country.

I realy enjoyed this job at first, I loved to drive, I loved being away from the house for a little bit, and the pay wasn't bad either. Everything was good until the winter months. There was a certain part of my route that actually closed up during the winter months, that should have given me some kind of clue as to the trouble I would soon be facing, but of course in my mind I was thinking, this is great, I don't have to do almost a quarter of my route and I still get paid the same. I sit here now nodding my head. That was a stupid thought.

At this time I drove a very very small car. It was great as far as the gas thing, not good for safety. I did really great for awhile, I got stuck a few times, and learned to carry a bag of kitty litter in my car. I never had an accident with another vehicle or any non-moving object. I did however hit a few deer. Deer are now my mortal enemy.

There was a particular area of my route that I knew would be trouble. It was toward the end and I had about five or six houses on the top of a very steep hill. one morning after a pretty good snowfall I tried to make it up that hill to deliver the newspapers. Here is how that whole thing panned out.

First run- Nice and steady on the accelerator, slowly climbing. Can't climb anymore. Going down the hill backwards.

Second run- Ok, a little faster now. Climbing a little faster, halfway to the top, I slide down the hill again.

Third run- Ok, gun it. I think I might make it this time. Almost to the top. going down the hill backwards again. I have to run into a snowbank to that I don't take out a street sign.

Fourth run- Same as third.

Fifth run- Same as fourth.

Ok, I give up, maybe tomorrow.

The next day.

First run- Same as the day before.

Second run- Same as the first.

Third run- same as the second

Forth one- same as the third.

I will try again tomorrow.

First run- Same as yesterday. etc etc.

I ended up losing my job because I could not make it up that stupid hill.

I then went to work for The Rocky Mountain News. I didn't last too long with that job, as I started having car trouble and it was becoming hard for me to able to be reliable. I wonder if running my car repeatedly into snowbanks could have had anything to do with the car trouble?

I have always been a fan of little cars. I have also hit many deer in these little cars. I have now discovered that I am night blind and should not be driving little cars at night.

When I moved to Oklahoma I was offered a job delivering The Daily Oklahoman, yea, I have a really thick head. I took the job. This job actually worked out very well for me. I would get up every morning at 3:30 am drink some coffee to wake up and leave my house at about 4:00 am. I then drove to a small town and picked up my papers. I then drove to another small town and then another. I could be done with my route in time to get my kids up and ready for school, when I could then take a short nap. At this time I was driving a 1995 Plymouth neon, if you have ever seen these cars then you know they are tiny, low to the ground, and have a perfectly sloped hood that will launch animals (like deer) right through your windshield. And that my friends is exactly what happened.

I consider myself very lucky that my daughter and I survived that accident pretty much unharmed. The deer hit the side of my car right before my windshield. And yes, he hit me, I was driving along minding my own business and he ran into me. The deers head came through my windshield and his antlers got caught in my steering wheel, at this point the deers neck was snapped and his body began tumbling down the side of my car, taking out the front door window the rear view mirror and the back door window until his antlers broke off and he was dead on the road.To add insult to the injury, one week to the day I hit another deer in my husbands newly painted classic truck. I was a little afraid to go home that day and tell my husband what had happened to his truck, but he has forgiven me, almost.

This is the point where I finally learn my lesson. I do not drive a little car anymore, I drive a huge SUV that no deer has any chance of making through my windshield. From that day forward I have been terrified of driving at night and avoid it anytime I can. I do have to say that I think I may be the world's best bumper bullet hunter.

This is when we get to the story of driving through Colorado. I have come to the conclusion that I have been a flatlander way too long. Driving through the plains of of Kansas and the eastern slope of Colorado was great. No trees to block my view of suicidal deer, and I was driving in the light of day. I drove through Denver without too many problems, although I will say that by the time I got there it was rush hour and driving a huge SUV through rush hour traffic is definitely a challenge, but I made it ok. It was not long after leaving Denver that the terrain had changed and I was driving in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, darkness was falling upon me quickly. Here is where my first incident happened. While driving I see out of the corner of my eye big horn sheep. I did not see just one big horn sheep, I saw 6-8. These sheep were so close to my vehicle that if my daughter had stuck her hand out the passenger side window she could have touched one. I was a little shaken and decided to slow down.

The next incident was when we started driving over Loveland/Vail pass. By this time it was getting darker and colder and then the rain started. The rain quickly turned into snow as soon as I reached the top of the pass. Of course. Now is the time when my windshield wipers decide to crap out on me and I have a semi behind me on a 6% grade. This was not a good situation. I then put my vehicle into four wheel drive and wrap both hands tightly around my steering wheel. I then have a white knuckle ride down this mountain shaking the whole way. When I reached the bottom of this pass I had to stop at the first gas station I came to, to use their bathroom. After a short wait at the gas station and a frantic phone call to my husband I hit the road once more.

I made it through the rest of the trip without any trouble, but I was a nervous wreck the entire time. The drive on the way home was easier, and I got home in one piece. It was nice to drive through the most beautiful part of Colorado when I was able to see it and appreciate it without worry of hitting animals and driving in a snow storm. I will probably make this trip again, but I will plan better and make my husband drive.

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Comments 55 comments

countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

Gwendy - You are scaring me. My first student car was geo metro and the second one now is honda civic. I always find it easy to maneouvere and park in tigh spots. I have never had any accidents or tickets hence never thought of this possibility. Thanks for freaking me out maybe my next vehicle I might go for a bigger car..hehe


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Sorry to scare you Country. Believe me, it scared the poop out of me. I love my big SUV, I feel like I'm driving a tank and feel pretty secure. The only bad thing about it is when I have to put gas in it.


Pam Roberson profile image

Pam Roberson 7 years ago from Virginia

OH Gwendy, that deer part was horrible! :( I know what you're saying though, it's this very time right now (hunting season) when the deer start running like crazy (who can blame them though?), they never run hard till dusk (or dawn), and you never ever see them coming. I'm so glad that you and your daughter were able to walkaway from that one.

Now, about the mountains and snow...that's white knuckle stuff for sure, and it brought back plenty of memories. Yes, for sure make the husband drive next time if it's snowing!


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Pam, I am also glad that me and my daughter walked away from this accident. I was pretty scary but the wake up call I needed to slow down and be more aware when driving. I will make him drive next time, he is much better under pressure than I am.


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

So true, my Civic I fill the tank about once a month...hehe. Well Lexus has those turning lights which give us a little more peripheral vision in the night ofcourse they can be pricey.


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Yes, they can be pricey, and still low to the ground. I think I will stick with my current vehicle for awhile. I really do like it.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia

gwendy, got to give you the credit, you are one gutsy lady, as Chris might say I doffs my hat to you!


G-Ma Johnson profile image

G-Ma Johnson 7 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

Young and dumb..??? Like we all were.??Wow you HAD ME SCARED TO DEATH TOO...One thing I am so afraid of is driving in the snow...especially when there is ice below it...from partial melting the day before...and deer scare me too but where I live we have to watch out for the Elk, too...

I must say we do things all our life's that when we look back we just wonder...Why? How? and What? did I do that for...But our guardian angels are always with us...and Thank God you and your daughter are here to pass on the adventures...G-Ma :o) Hugs


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

Gwendy: Obviously, you are Goddess of the Deer and just don't know it. It is customary among the deer population that one member from each herd must sacifice its life to the Goddess. This explains why you are "the chosen one."They know that they will die - after all, that's the point - but they don't realise what it can do to the car or the Goddess herself. This is supposed to insure the deer will have adequate food for another year.

But seriously, I hit a deer once - a young un, and while nobody got hurt (except the deer) it upset me. It must really be bad to have it happen so many times. Glad you are OK and had no deer experiences (or big horn sheep) this time.

Thanks, Bambi, for a great story!


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Ag, I don't know about gutsy, I think dumb might be a better word.

G-ma, yes, young and dumb, and still learning. Hopefully I will survive long enough to learn some valuable lessons. When living in Colorado I did not ever see any elk on the road, although I know that people hit them on a pretty regular basis. I went one time to Flagstaff Arizona and the elk population is huge there, then it was a problem.

CR, I really don't want to be the Goddess of deer anymore. Maybe i can become the goddess of shoes, handbags or pretty sparkly things. I wouldn't mind having a diamond throwing itself in front of me. LOL. Yea, I don't think it's gonna happen, but a girl can dream. Thanks CR, for taking time to read this. As always I so appreciate you.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

I love that Colorado part of the country. I've been there many times, but never lived there (my cowgirl hat was custom-fitted in Durango, I've had 18-wheelers on my tail going down mountain pass roads, and the best steak in the world was forked by me there).

Now about the deer. I am thankful I never hit one, or none ever hit me (it's an even split about how that happens...might be something to the goddess thing). I admire your courage and tenacity about driving. After all that happened to you, if it had happened to me, I'd move to someplace where there were no cars. Like maybe an isolated island off the coast of Scotland where there can't be any cars because it's all rocks and cliffs.

Wonderful Hub!


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Sally, Thanks for admiring my courage and tenacity, but I think the words thickheadedness, and stupidity would be better words. LOL. Not sure if thickheadedness is a word but I can definetly define it. As for moving to an island off the coast of Scottland, I don't think that would work either. I can just see it now, I would be walking down an old dirt country road and get trampled by a herd of deer. It's like a fatal attraction or something.


Misha profile image

Misha 7 years ago from DC Area

LOL Gwen, you are a deer magnet! Or is it a dear magnet? ;)


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Misha, I am not sure. either way I'm screwed.


spryte profile image

spryte 7 years ago from Arizona, USA

Hiya GW - One of the reasons I love AZ so much is the lack of snow and ice on the roads. I'm a truly white-knuckled winter driver and hated driving in that stuff back in NH. Luckily, I've never hit a deer...but there were some close calls. What you have to really watch out for in NH is the moose. Not even an SUV can get past one of those....it's like a deer on steroids and stilts.

Glad you made it back solidly! :)


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Spryte, Yea your here! I missed you! That is the best part of Arizona, but the heat is just too much for me. Glad I made it back too, it might have cost me a pair of underwear though.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

I'm sticking with courage and tenacity. But also I share Misha's thoughts: deer or dear. Apparently, there is something about deer in your stars. Has nothing to do with stupidity and thickheadedness. Sometimes we just have to deal with what we're handed, and you've done a fine job. It could be fatal attraction...for the deer, anyway.


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Sally, Thanks. I guess there is something about deer, or dear in my stars. Could be worse, I guess it could be moose.


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

Iam sure our MsPalin wouldn't have minded being hit by a moose as she would have got free meat for her favorite "moose burger"...LOL


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

I bet she would have minded if it hit her car, Mooseburger or not that crap is expensive!


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

What if she got the repairs done on the state budget but get to keep the free meat?


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

CW, either way somebody has to pay.


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

I was just joking. When I heard about moose I remembered she loves those moose burgers. Iam sure nobody knowingly wants to be hit by deer and least of all behemoth like moose.


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

CW, I know you were just kidding. I sure wouldn't want to hit a moose, I can't imagine. That would be scary.


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

Golly Gwendy, I felt guilty enough when on separate occasions I accidentally killed a cat and a pheasant with my car. I would have been devastated to kill a deer!!

On one occasion I did come across a cow wandering around in the middle of the road after midnight, so I stopped the car, grabbed it's horn, and literally led it to the farmhouse door nearby and said "excuse me, but is this your cow? I found it in the middle of the road". Turned out it was, and it had escaped from the field. Thank God I didn't hit it, or I might not be here to tell the tale, (I was driving a very small car). :)


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

Cindy - Deer are very common here and they tend to be unpredictable in dark. I have had a colleague in office twice encountering accidents due to deer collision. Good girl, who took so much time to return the cow to its rightful owner. Btw you have company even I drive a small car...hehe


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Misty, those deer just piss me off now. They have cost me a lot of money and stress and if they are too stupid to not run in front of a moving vehicle then the get what they deserve, and that's to be lunch.


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

LOL, well, we don't have deer in Guernsey, but I guess our biggest traffic hazzard are hedgehogs and rabbits, and plenty of them get squished!!


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Misty, if those were the only things I had to worry about hitting I wouldn't have any problems. Seriuosly, how much damage can a hedgehog do?


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

LOL, no it isn't about the damage they do, it is about the feeling guilty over having killed them, accidentally or not :)


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Misty, you have a huge heart.


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

I agree even when they are dead and squished I tend to drive around them on the road. May God bless those poor unfortunate souls although they asked for it.


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

LOL, Country, you have a huge heart too. I guess I feel sorry for other animals, but not those dumb deer!


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

I try to have Gwendy :)


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

You do Misty, A great big huge heart! and it fits you well.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

Deer were here before we were. That's why we eat 'em.


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

Gwendy - Even myself when I go to the movie theatre I feel blinded for a few seconds before my eyes get adjusted to the darkness. Just imagine from a deer's point of view its normally grazing and moving this vehicle comes at 50 MPH flashing those lights they are dazed then their survival instincts force them to panic and run. Iam not saying they are justified but just trying to understand why they act as they do. We can't change the deer's instincts we just have to be more watchful ourselves and maybe have better equipments like the turning headlights(lexus) or where there is deer sign shown on the roads drive really slowly. I agree accidents do happen inspite of our best precautions but we can certainly minimize to a certain extent.


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

CW, I agree, but they just piss me off!


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

Sure Gwendy If I was ever involved in an accident like those you had then maybe I would have felt the same way. It's easy for me to give suggestions since I wasn't ever involved in any such incident but difficult for someone who has actually gone through the accident in the middle of the night, then calling AAA or cops then all that insurance hassle.... I can certainly understand why you feel the way you feel.


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

CW, I wish I could have called AAA or a tow truck, but this last one happened about four miles from my house and I got to drive the car home in 20 degree weather. That was the coldest four miles of my life.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

Did you ever see "Bambi meets Godzilla?" It's been around a long time and there have been lots of remakes, but this is the original that did all the animation festivals like 30 years ago. It's really good. You will like:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpBkc2jK-6w&fea...


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

I hope you had warm clothing on you and some company besides just by yourself. It can be scary to be alone in such circumstances. I shudder to think if I was alone and the car breaks down in the middle of the night with no cell phone signal (that's really a creepy thought).


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

Christoph- That's a nice clip. I guess since we have acknowledged our gratitude to tokyo for Godzilla we can have him run surveillance on the roads Gwendy drives to keep her from having any more accidents...LOL


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

CR, That's pretty funny! Thanks for linking it here.

Country, I was not by myself, a young guy on his way to wrok stopped and let me and my daughter sit in his vehicle until the state patrol got there, then my daughter rode with the patrolmen and I drove the car home. It really wasn't that creepy. There are alot of very nice people around here who will do anything to help another.


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

CW, that's a good idea, I need all the help I can get.


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

Glad to know there are guardian angels around to help you always. I was just imagining a similar situation me on a highway alone and an accident happens and car breaks down without even a cell phone signal then what would I do and that I found really creepy. That would be my worst nightmare. I try to avoid night driving in unfamiliar places as much as possible.


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

CW, unfortunatly as women we do have to be careful about such things. I try to keep a cell phne on me at all times and try to learn some basics about my auto if I have to fix something. But really, I don't know very much about automotive stuff.


robie2 profile image

robie2 7 years ago from Central New Jersey

That was quite a hair-raising road trip and a great read--Thanks for taking us all along with you,gwendymom. I remember those mountain roads in Colorado, and the switchbacks--they were scary enough in the summer. I can't imagine winter, let alone big horn sheep:-) Thumbs up up up!


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Robie, Thanks for reading. It really was a hair raising road trip and yes they are scary enough in summer. I'm glad you got to go along with me.


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Hi gwendy, whew, what a ride! :) Glad you are alive and well. Be safe...


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country

We have plenty of vehicle vs. deer incidents here. I actually saw a motorcycle and a deer collide. There were motorcycle and deer parts everywhere. I first thought it had exploded. The rider survived and was consious. We and other people stopped to help and to call an ambulance.

It's amazing that you didn't get hurt. Good hub!


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Riiplemaker, It was a heck of a ride. I am glad I am alive and well too. I'll try, but given my reputaion with deer, I can't make any promises.

Rochelle, Two years ago a few friends of me and my husbands went to celebrate a birthday party in Texas. My husband and I were driving his truck and came around a corner and saw about 5 elk in the middle of the road. As you may know Texas is not know for elk but there had been some grass fires and the elk had escaped from an elk farm. We knew that two of our friends were on motorcyles so we turned around and warned them. I think that could have been a really bad accident and I was glad that we had been in front.

I was a pretty lucky girl that trip. I hope my luck holds up.

Thanks for coming by, and stop by anytime!!!


Benson Yeung profile image

Benson Yeung 7 years ago from Hong Kong

rocy gwendy horror show. glad you're unharmed.


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma Author

LOL, that's pretty funny, I better get a red wig and meganta costume and drive around wearing that. It couls serve dual purposes. Just in case I happen by a theater that is showing RMPS or to make it easier to get roadside assitance.

Thanks, so am I.


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa

Deer Magnet seems about right, but of course, the more time spent on the road, the more probable that something can happen. I try not to drive at night and plan long journeys around daylight hours. we too have lots of buck (like deer) and other wildlife that are attracted by headlights. Hitting a kudu (pretty large antelope) or even unfenced cattle or goats (a common hazard on our roads) is a perenial hazard. Snow anf freezing rain are also winter occurrences in parts of South Africa.

Distance driving requires planning and preferably more than one driver.

Great hub.

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