Today was the shortest drive of the trip, and very nearly a disaster. On the 48 mile trip to our friends Pae and Supachai we were following a pick up truck down a two lane road with a center third lane to make left turns, a common set up on busy two lane roads in Texas. The truck was traveling at about 45 mph on a road with a 70 mph speed limit and had his emergency flashers on because of the slow speed. We ended up following him for about 5 miles, and were the first vehicle behind him, immediately behind us was a semi-truck, and behind the semi were 8 or 10 cars.
Coming to an intersection the pick up truck pulled into the center lane which is used for left turns. Just as I went to pass him on the right, he swung in front of me from the center lane and turned right. I initiated a full brake panic stop and swerved to the right and just missed him. The semi-truck behind us also went into full panic stop and swerved left to miss us, but caught the left corner of our bumper, and scrapped the paint on the back of the house on Scout.
We pulled Scout over to the shoulder and the truck driver pulled his rig in behind us to look at the damage. The guy who caused the accident slowed down for a few seconds after he heard the semi hit us, but decided to not stop. The only significant damage was to our aluminum bumper that we mount two storage bumpers on. It had a hole punched in it from one of the lugs from the wheel of the truck. Unfortunately it is a specialized bumper and expensive to replace.
Jaime the truck driver then told me that he needed to call the police because as a commercial vehicle he needed a police report for the accident and could not just exchange insurance information. We waited on the side of the road for about 20 minutes and a sheriff showed up. He took a quick look at things, and then told us that because it was a commercial vehicle accident the investigation had to be done by a State Trooper. He called the Texas State Police and asked for a trooper who was dispatched from San Angelo. The sheriff explained that San Angelo was about 45 minutes away, apologized and left Jaime and I there to wait on our own.
It turns out Jaime is a really nice guy, and we had a wide ranging conversation from the stupidity of the guy who had us talking to each other on the side of the road in Texas, to what it was like to drive a semi-truck, to climate change. He did say one thing that got my attention, he had just dropped his load and his trailer was empty, he said if he had been full he probably would have hit us square on, because he would not have been able to slow down, or maneuver fast enough under load to almost miss us.
The Texas State Trooper eventually arrived, took our statements, assessed that neither of us were at fault for the accident, but that the pick up truck was the cause. He provided us with the accident report and after an hours delay were on our way.
We spent the rest of the day with our friends Pae and Supachai. They took us to a nice barbeque restaurant for lunch. After lunch we went to a local brewery which is on a working farm. As part of the farm the brewery keeps a herd of about 60 goats, we got a treat as the goats were out of their pen and working in a field. I met my first goatherd ever, and he told us about the hierarchy among the goats, the alpha is a female, and even the bigger male goats do not mess with her.
We finished the day by cooking some steaks on the back porch of Pae and Supachai’s house during a big thunderstorm. It was a nice relaxing way to end an unexpected stressful day.