Traveling home from Orlando by car was a little more difficult than getting there, in some ways. I think the big reason for that was that we had planned the "getting there" phase to be three stops--DC, Hilton Head, then Orlando, so the driving wasn't as intense. The trip home was only two, days, driving.
There were a few disasters that first day back, too. I blame it on Corb spending most of the time reading a book on Real Ghost Stories, frankly. A lot of the material he was reading dealt with the theme of possession, and that always freaks me out.
About two hours into the trip, a car passed us that said "Jesus Loves You" on the back. Corb grinned. "That's what I always say. About myself."
About ten minutes later, Corb put his book down and saw a gust of brown smoke in the distance. He didn't say anything, because he thought they were mowing in the median area, or something.
But as we got closer, I suddenly realized that something was wrong. There was a car jutting out into the high speed lane, and a truck stopped at an angle, a few feet away from that. I slowed down to avoid contact.
We suddenly realized it was the "Jesus Loves You" car. The front of the car had been sliced off, cut clean in half. The driver, a man with a shaved head, was leaning back in his seat, eyes closed, his face covered in blood. On his lap was a four-year-old girl, covering his chest.
There were people already stopping to help, as we passed by, and the kids were getting upset by the sight, but it isn't a scene that you soon forget, and I spent much of the day praying that the man and his child ended up all right.
On my return back to work, I spent the first day talking, of course, about the Great Road Trip of 2011. Lo, I mentioned it to my friend Sarah, during the course of several meetings, to various folks on the phone, and finally, toward the end of the day, to my friend Cap'n Vic.
I like Cap'n Vic because he kind of reminds me of...well, me. It's always nice to see yourself reflected in the form of another person, don't you think? The echo is not intentional, by the way. Still, Cap'n Vic has a shaved head (as I do), a goatee (as I do), and usually dresses all in black (as I occasionally do). He's a little older and a little tougher than I am...was probably a sixties hippy (which I only wished I was). But also, he has a little fire in his soul and he likes to tell interesting stories. All around, my kind of guy.
Anyway, I was telling Cap'n Vic about the "Jesus Loves You" incident (see my post from a few days ago), and he kind of listened and then he said,
"Oh, that reminds me of when I once drove to Florida with a few guys a few years after college. We were driving down 95, all four of us were single at the time and had nothing better to do. We had agreed we'd all take turns at the wheel. I'd drive for a few hours, then another guy would drive, and so on...so, all of a sudden we see this car driving down the high speed lane like a bat of hell. Well, we're wondering what the hell was going on, when four police cars pass us, going just as fast as the first car, so we kind of figured out what the hell was going on, you knwo? So, we go along a little further, and in the break down lane, there's one of the police cars, all burned up because it had been going so fast. Engine couldn't keep up.
"So there we are, wondering what happened with the high speed chase, when the traffic in front of us starts to slow to a crawl. And a short while after that, we pass that first car. It had rolled over, so there were bits of it, all across the highway. And we saw the body of the driver of the car, lying in the road. Only, his head had been ripped right off from his body, and it was just lying there like a small basketball, a few feet away.
"That kept the four of us awake all the rest of the way to Florida."