After one day at home, it is obvious that my 20 foot off-road excursion is drawing more interest than the 28,126,560 feet of on-road travel. Of course, part of this is simply human nature but it is aggravated by the fact that I provided very few details on this site. I'll try to remedy that now.
The accident occurred on a stretch of old 66 west of Kingman, AZ. I was driving and spotted the ruins of what appeared to be an old stone gas station in a graveled area. I started to pull over and stop then changed my mind for forgotten reasons. Suddenly the car was going sideways and I have no good explanation. I suppose that the combination of gravel and asphalt and my half-on, half-off position contributed but I really cannot produce a justification.
There was not a lot of road available for straightening out sliding cars and I ran out of pavement before the car ran out of momentum. We slid off of a road surface probably 3 or 4 feet above the surrounding desert floor. Comparing notes later confirmed that, for a brief instant, both John and I thought we were going to roll. Fortunately, we were wrong and the car came to rest not far off the road sitting among the rocks that more or less lined the roadside. Although rather shaken, we were unharmed. The rocks along the road average something like a foot in diameter and, with the car sitting crookedly atop some of them after sliding across others, it seemed likely that the underside of the car was badly damaged.
We had a cell phone but it proved useless where we were. A west bound couple understandably declined to give us a ride but did promise to notify authorities at Oatman, the next town. A short time later, three young men on vacation gave me a ride into Kingman. A towing service was called and, in a fairly short amount of time, I was riding back to the car in a tilt-bed.
John had stayed with the car and greeted us with something like, "If you had given me a little longer, I'd have driven it out." While I was gone, John had been pulling rocks away from the car and it was virtually free when we arrived. "Driving it out" was a bit optimistic but driving it no longer seemed out of the question.
The tow truck driver (Mike's Towing. I hope no one needs them but if you do, you'll be in good hands.) helped clear rocks out of the way and performed other tricks to bridge the rocky embankment with the tilt-bed. The car started and I was able to maneuver it enough to do a rough alignment with the truck bed. This was the driver's first C5 and we studied the owner's manual to determine tow points. He definitely put some effort into avoiding additional damage that was sure to occur if the car was simply dragged back to the road. In fact, the tilt-bed actually became stuck in the sand and another tow truck was brought in to help get it out after the car was loaded.
A sheriff's deputy, called by the first car to stop, had arrived before I returned in the tow truck. He checked and measured and ended up giving me only a citation for an out of date insurance card. I had not been traveling particularly fast and knew I had slowed when considering stopping. The deputy's estimate of speed was actually 10 MPH less than the posted 45.
The car was left at a Chevy dealer and John and I headed west in a rental car. I could barely keep my eyes open but John got us to a motel near LA for a few hours sleep before his Sunday morning flight. I spent the day doing laundry, trying to nap, and wondering about the car while the motel parking lot filled with Corvettes packed and polished for the caravan to Bowling Green.
On Monday morning I headed toward Kingman and called the dealer. They were on the car as quickly as possible and, when I spoke with them a couple of hours later, I was told that they were sure they could get it back on the road. Both right side tires were removed to clean out some gravel, the car realigned, and some make-shift repairs made to the air dam. By mid-afternoon, I was driving the Corvette toward Phoenix to pick up Denny R. Many thanks to the people at the Cliff Findlay Auto Center for getting me back to the caravan.
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