On Tuesday, March 28, 2023 we left Potter’s Creek Campground in Canyon Lake, Texas and drove 190 miles to Hord’s Creek Campground in Coleman, Texas.
It came close to being our last trip.
Back when I had to fly all over the country and back home for my job i faced the fact that, while flying is infinitely safer than highway travel, every time I flew I was increasing the odds that I would be involved in some type of air mishap. Thankfully, the odds never caught up to me. When Cindy and I decided to travel in our RV around the U.S. and Canada I also knew that, in a form of travel that was already highly dangerous, we were significantly increasing our chances of being involved in a road/driving accident. So far, we’ve been pretty fortunate in that regard. I am a highly defensive driver, meaning I do my best to make sure my equipment (truck and trailer) are mechanically sound and I am constantly aware of my surroundings and the actions of other drivers. (By the way, that is one reason I like to limit our driving on travel days to 4-5 hours. More than that and fatigue is heightened, leading to increased lack of awareness.)
We were northbound on Highway 281 just on the other side of Llano, Texas. The northbound side was a single lane while the southbound side had two lanes. The speed limit was 70 mph and we were traveling at about 60 mph. About 3/4 of a mile ahead I saw a white, unmarked box truck in the southbound lane closest to ours start to drift over the line into our lane. I immediately applied the brakes carefully to slow us down but not enough to jackknife the trailer, and began steering to the right where we had approximately 2 1/2 feet of asphalt for a shoulder. I was hopeful that the other driver would realize they had crossed the line and would correct, but was already running through various scenarios in case they did not.
Now, I’ll let you math wizards out there figure out the formula for how fast this was happening as we sped at each other, but for me as the driver it was both incredibly fast AND everything seemed to slow down as though we were moving in slow motion. I heard Cindy scream, but it seemed far away because I was so laser-focused on watching the oncoming truck and trying to decide the best of several possible defensive actions I could take. I knew the scream was from fright so I did not even look over at her in the passengers seat, keeping my eyes on the vehicle that looked like it was going to hit us head-on. We were still slowing down, to about 40 mph, but I could not go any further to the right or I would have gone off the paved shoulder and into soft ground where we would have surely flipped over and/or jackknifed the RV. The oncoming truck was fully in my lane and still heading toward us and over to my shoulder of the road.
I was just about to steer us back to the left, knowing if I did that they would not hit our truck, thus making sure Cindy and Bella were safe, but would almost surely hit the middle or rear of our trailer, destroying it and probably spinning our truck around on the highway. Still, it seemed the best outcome as opposed to a head-on collision or flipping over off the shoulder.
A split-second before I was about to turn the steering wheel to the left, the driver of the box truck swerved back to my left and into their own lane, just barely missing the front of our truck by less than a foot and we went whizzing past each other. I was still focused on the front and side of their truck as it came incredibly close to us, so I never saw the driver even though we could have shaken hands out our respective windows.
I don’t think the entire event was longer than 5 seconds, but as I mentioned everything also seemed to take place in slow-motion. We were fortunate that no one behind us slammed into our rear as we braked and that traffic in the opposing two lanes was sparse enough that no other vehicles were in the way as we danced around the highway at 60 mph.
The remainder of our trip was uneventful, thankfully, because that one occurrence was enough to last me several trips, lol!
The campground at Hords Creek was nice, large in size and sparsely populated by other campers when we first arrived. Our site was asphalt-paved, fairly level and shaded by trees on the lakeside of the site. We had water and electric hook-ups and the campground had a dump station near the exit.
We walked around the section of campground we were in every morning and most evenings, averaging a mile and half to two miles each day. Most mornings we would see a herd of 25-30 deer in a certain section of the campground that was off away from everyone. I was surprised at how close some of them would let us get as we took photos and videos of them. A couple seemed as curious about us as we were about them
Thursday, March 30, 2023 was our 26th Wedding Anniversary. Last year Cindy graciously agreed to have our anniversary meal at a Chinese restaurant in San Andreas, CA so I felt like this year we HAD to have her favorite, a steak meal at a steak restaurant. We drove into Coleman, about 10 miles away, for a late lunch/early dinner at the Coleman Coldwater Cattle Company steakhouse.
This place didn’t look like much from the outside, but we had read numerous highly-rated reviews and so felt like it was a good choice. Turns out it was! The food was delicious and the portions were large for the price. Cindy’s steak was cooked to perfection, something we usually can’t get done right even at most major-name steak restaurants. I loved the onion rings and seriously considered coming back later in our stay just to have some more of them. The service was excellent and the inside decor was appropriately rustic in nature.
Happy Anniversary baby!
On Sunday I finished and filed our income taxes. Glad to have that done for another year.
Monday we drove to Abilene, Texas. Cindy had never heard the old country-western song “Abilene” so I helpfully played and sang it to her over and over as we drove there. Proving once again that she must love me to put up with me all the time.
Back in January we bought the full 12-season DVD set of the TV series “Bones”, a series we both like but neither of us had ever seen all the episodes. A lot of times we are staying places where there are no Over The Air TV stations available for our antenna to pick up. If our Internet Hot Spot signals are good we can stream something (like we’re currently doing with the third season of “Picard”), but we have found we enjoy watching some TV series and movies on DVD. We would usually watch 2-3 episodes of “Bones” several nights a week and on Tuesday, April 4th we finished watching the final season’s final episode. It was a good series, with some very high spots. Highly recommended!
Thanks again for following the Wandering Wetheringtons.