so I could go down to the Mississippi River and take its picture while I was standing still, not zooming over a bridge from state to state. It looked very... river-ish. I liked it. There were some nice sculptures and a beautiful Japanese garden by the Visitor Center. I walked along for a while then we stopped at McDonalds for a bite of breakfast, then hit the interstate.
And within 10 miles I hit a deer. Arrrgh. It just appeared right in front of the van and I couldn't stop. It happened to fast that Durwood didn't even know what happened. I pulled off on the left shoulder, the deer far behind, to see the damage. The hood was crumpled but not in danger of flying up over the windshield, the left headlight hung like a zombie's eyeball, but the radiator wasn't leaking, there wasn't any oil dripping out anywhere, and the bumper wasn't shoved against the tire. Neither of us could get cell service and the traffic was zooming by alarmingly near and very very fast so I wedged the headlight back into a hole, we crossed our fingers, turned on the hazards, waited for a long break, and I pulled back onto the road. I stayed in the right lane, flashers going, and eased up to 50, old-lady-ing along. Everything seemed to be working, even the air-conditioner, and the gauges and dials stayed where they were supposed to. Okay, so it'd take us longer to get home. I won't say I shrugged off the experience but my beloved Durwood kept telling me that I couldn't have avoided it, that it wasn't my fault, and mile by mile, click by click of the flashers, I got to feeling calmer. I cried a few tears because I killed a deer but then I stopped when I realized that I hadn't killed Durwood, myself or the van. About 15 more miles up the road a State cop pulled alongside, faded back, slotted himself behind me, and after a pause for him to check the license, etc. turned on his bubble lights. I pulled over in the wide part of an off ramp and waited. He got out (he looked like a middle-schooler on dress-up day) came up to the window and said, "I've been looking all over for you!" I told him that we'd been trying to call, couldn't get a signal, and weren't safe on the shoulder. He told me that someone had called it in, then he looked over the front end, winced, and said, "D'you want an accident report?" "Yes, please." So he took my license, came back with the report in about 5 minutes, and (this is the best part) gave me directions to get home NOT on the interstate but on a 55 mph road. We stopped at the Kwiktrip in Omro for a hot dog and the 2 teenaged boys behind the counter (Bill & Ted) said that the van looked "cooler" like that and why didn't I shoot the deer instead of hitting it with the van. I told them that the shotgun got stuck in the rack so I just rammed the sucker. I love teenaged boys. Plus the BS-ing was the last positive thing I needed to feel semi-human again. Tomorrow we'll be going to the dealership to make sure it's safe to drive and on Tuesday the adjustor will look at it. Don't hit a deer, I don't recommend it. Start with something smaller if you feel you must run over something.