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Hitting the Open Road Part 2: What Happens When the Open Road Hits Back?

So, the second trip of the month happened, we decided to do something spontaneous and the deer came away worse off than we did.

I have these funky ideas sometimes. My husband, bless his pea-pickin' big heart, has learned not to lead with 'are you nuts?' And I have learned not to bug him too much when he's processing my current idea.

We went to Grand Forks, North Dakota last Thursday to visit a friend. On the way up there I had 'THE' idea. He had the time off, gas and hotels were reasonably cheap, I was willing to forgo 4 star restaurants in favor of---are you ready---seeing my mountains. Specifically, my Bozeman MT mountains. Just a glimpse of the Beartooth, the Crazies and the Gallatin Valley was what was in my heart. After all, we were four hours closer to those beautiful mountains that if we'd been in Minneapolis.

Hubby thought about it, hemmed and hawed about it, but Sunday as we headed south on I-29 towards 94 in Fargo, he said, OK, if we do this---and proceeded to set the terms. I was fine with the terms, as they got me to my mountains, kept him happy and our pocketbook in good shape. We headed west on I 94 towards the Montana border.

My brother reminded me that Bozeman was not on the way to Minneapolis, when coming from Grand Forks. My mother reminded me that this detour took us about 800 miles out of our way-one way. We persevered, put on more tunes and headed out across the prairie.

We had a great drive. We had a lot of fun. Once we hit Billings, it was twilight on the trail, we had about 100 miles left, but the snowcaps were beckoning us, their peaks glinting in the setting sun.

When we hit Big Timber, Montana. I was waxing poetic about my first visit there, years ago, on a family trip. It was a beautiful night, we were about 40 miles short of our goal and all was right with our world. *BTW-Big Timber is at the foot of the Crazy Woman mountain range---I choose to think of that as coincidence.

I looked up when my husband swerved. There were 3 deer right in front of us. We were traveling at about 75 mph (5 MPH under the speed limit). Swerving a car at that speed can cause bad things to happen, but my amazing husband kept the car under control, we missed the three deer and thought for a split second we were in the clear. Sadly, not so, Bambi #4 was right there and we took her out, but she gave almost as good as she got. We hit her square on---the right front of the car and the driver's side front panel. Yet, my husband kept control of the vehicle, the car stayed upright and he brought us to a controlled stop on the shoulder of a very dark freeway. Black car, black freeway, black pieces, husband wearing dark clothing---and Hubby was under the front end of the car, trying to get the bumper off the ground. I was terrified he would get hit. Thankfully, not so.

Hubby and I always pray before we travel, my mother prays us across the country and back. Never have I seen a more tangible outpouring of God's protection than in this circumstance. Not only did the car remain under control and upright, but the deer bounced off to the side rather than up and over the hood of our low car. We were also less than a mile from the second Big Timber exit. The car was driveable, we were able to get off the freeway and there was a hotel right at the exit, with vacancy, very nice rooms, reasonable rates and caring staff. (Super 8---second Big Timber exit heading west---I highly recommend them!) Their maintenance man at the hotel offered to help us secure the pieces of the bumper and the fender for the trip home. Our seat belts performed as they were designed to and while we didn't sleep well that night, we were able to relax and thank God for His provision.

20 miles further up the road and we would have been in a mountain pass in the middle of nowhere.

There were no leaks, no mechanical failures and no issues as we covered the 1000 miles or so home. Hubby was alert and we had no difficulty. We will now file our insurance claim and see where we go from here. But we have Dave and Michelle at State Farm who are looking out for us.

By the way the first thing Hubby did after he stopped the car was to apologize to the deer. We ruined her day. That tells you everything you need to know about who my husband is as a man.

Please be patient with me as I am working on getting a car repaired or replaced. This is a new experience for us. Yes, we both made to our early 60's living in one of the deer capitals of the nation and had never hit a deer before last Sunday night. What an adventure. I promise I will be back to my books shortly. This will probably appear in print, sooner rather than later.

God is so good and we are so grateful.

Blessings, Joy

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