Saturday, August 2, 2014

Day 37-39 - Chinle, AZ

Dateline:  July 23-24, 2014; Chinle, AZ

Saying goodbye to Durango was difficult for more than one reason.  Colorado is beautiful and the weather had been blissful.  Yes, it was hot but there had been thunderstorms each afternoon that cooled things down and being at 7,000 ft helps cool things down at night.  We were heading into the desert and it was going to get hot.

Because our beloved FMC is a vintage motorhome, the A/C is not reliable while we're driving.  Despite Greg's and our friend, Eric's, best efforts, we're lucky to have A/C for more than a couple of days.  When we are camping, we can have A/C if we have electric hook-ups (at least 30 amp).  We were heading for Canyon de Chelly National Monument and were expecting to have no hookups at all.  No A/C.  Oh boy.

Still the desert is beautiful.  Our drive was lovely.  We stopped at 4 Corners and got some lemonade and Indian Fry Bread (yum!).  And, then we turned toward Canyon de Chelly (pronounced Canyon de Shay).  We were dazzled by how beautiful the desert was through here.








We arrived at the monument and had our choice of campsites.  Greg and Liza had heard about Canyon de Chelly since our honeymoon in 1988.  We've always wanted to visit.  So, after we set up camp and rested a bit, drinking water, we decided to take a drive before dinner.  The fact that Liza's car is air-conditioned was only a bonus.  As you can see from the picture below, a thunderstorm was looming and we were happy it would cool things down a little.  


The road is on a mesa and the canyon is below it.  Canyon de Chelly has several Anasazi ruins in it such as the types seen in Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde National Parks.  We planned to do at least part of the North Rim drive, going out to overlooks to see the ancient buildings in the canyon below us.  Since Greg had driven all day, Liza took the wheel and we headed out.  

Warning:  As we all know, things can change rapidly in life and the following is one of those moments. While the following is bad, it could have been worse.   

As most of you know, we didn't make it very far.  In a moment of distracted driving that didn't involve texting or eating or anything other than a brief distraction out the window, Liza started to go off the road and over-corrected.  Our little SUV with it's short wheel-base spun out and rolled twice.  Ouch.  Greg and the kids were scraped and bruised but largely okay.  Liza was not.  She had a head wound and was pretty disoriented.  

Greg and the kids took over and did an amazing job.  They found the cellphones and started trying to call 911.  Greg came over and started giving first aid to Liza.  Luckily, someone saw us go off the road and called his girlfriend.  She and her family came to see if we were okay.  They were able to get through to 911 (somehow our cellphones couldn't get through) and stayed, helping until the police and firemen got there.  We were so grateful for their help! Especially since the thunderstorm struck just after our accident and Greg and the kids were getting drenched.  They helped keep us dry and were so kind!

Eventually, the ambulance got there and the firemen cut the door off the car and we were all transported to the hospital.  ER visits are always long and this one was no different.  Everyone treated us so respectfully and gave us great care.  Greg had a battered ear -- he was telling people he was an MMA fighter.  Liza ended up with 22 staples in a scalp laceration (she prefers the term massive head wound, thank you).  After CT scans, examinations, treatments, and all, we were driven back to the motorhome (in borrowed scrubs from the ER).  Greg drove us to a motel and we checked in for a couple of nights.  


Liza basically stayed in bed for those two days, recuperating with Nurse Ruth in attendance.  Greg and Gage went out to where the car was towed and recovered as as many of our belongings as we could and went out to where the accident happened to see if they could find anything else there.  They got most everything except Liza's iPhone.  Still, that didn't seem that important in the moment.

They also drove out to the overlook to see what we didn't get to see.

Click on picture to see a larger version.

Note:  To read about the next day, click the "Newer Post" link below. 

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