Sunday, December 4, 2011

Las Vegas Trip and Cirque du Soleil's LOVE and A Brush with Death On an Icy Interstate

Well, we did it again...took a car trip in winter through snow country.  I know I said we've sworn off trips to visit children and grandchildren in Minnesota and Iowa in the winter, but this time it was to Las Vegas, Nevada in the southwestern United States. When we left our home in New Mexico on November 28th,  it was sunny and warm.  Our road trip on Interstate 40 took us through Gallup and Flagstaff, zipping by the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam at 75 miles per hour, bringing us to our hotel on the Las Vegas Strip by 3:15PM, just 9 hours from our start in Sandia Park, NM.  We had tickets for The Beatles' Love by Cirque du Soleil for 7 that evening.

Our friends from Maine, Bob and Sharon, arrived by airplane.  We enjoyed a great show. Worth the high ticket price.  Here's a couple of segments from the 2 hour show:

We did the usual things for the next two days like gambling and a trip out to Lake Mead Recreational area

Lake Mead behind Hoover Dam
 Weather was beautiful until Wednesday night.  Then high winds arrived from the west.  We left Las Vegas early Thursday morning, by 7AM, as snow was coming.  The winds were blowing, it was raining, and there was snow on the mountain tops all around Las Vegas. We got to Seligman, AZ when the heavy wet snow began to fall in earnest.  We carefully negotiated the icy roads on I-40 east through Ashfork and Williams as snow began to accumulate and visibility was down to 200 feet in some places.  Then we saw a traffic sign alerting us to a major crash blocking all lanes just ahead 4 miles.  One mile later, just past the Bellemont exit,  we saw all traffic stopped ahead.  We stopped without incident. It was 12:42PM. Immediately, a semi-truck crashed to our right into another truck. We were just breathing a sign of relief that it had missed us when 3 seconds later we were hit by another jack-knifing semi-truck.  We were pushed ahead about 10 feet coming to rest against the dark green Oldsmobile pictured below.

Our Toyota 4Runner had right rear damage and damage along our right side.

The truck trailer's left front corner had hit us...

...and his cab wheels had hit us (parts of our tail lights on his wheels)

We were between the red and dark green car above when the truck hit us

The drivers of the truck that hit us didn't even know we were hit.  They were taken to the hospital.
Ron wasn't hurt and I had some aches and pains but we were OK for the most part.   After two hours, we decided that staying on that freeway  in freezing snow wasn't an option.  We put our 4WD into LO and crossed over the wide ditch between the freeway lanes to the west bound side and got off at Bellemont.  We asked an Arizona DOT truck if there was a way to go east to Flagstaff but he said I-40 was closed due to accidents and snow and there were no other direct routes east.  He said we would need to go back to Williams and then go south to Prescott and then east to Phoenix which was hours away with no guarantee of open roads in this weather.  We grabbed one of the last motel rooms and spent the night in Bellemont.  Hundreds of other travellers were not so lucky and spent the night on the highway and sideroads in their cars and trucks.   We left the next morning for Flagstaff and found the Highway Patrol to file our accident report.   The snow was pretty bad all though northern Arizona and Gallup, but most travellers were off the road. We finally got home December 2 at 6PM after a stop at urgent care to get me checked out.  Ron and I were very thankful that we didn't lose our lives on this trip.  It was a very close call.


  1. Oh my gosh. How scary. I am so glad you are alright and hopefully the others will be too.
    I won't go to our cabin in the winter for this very reason. Even if my guy can drive it in his pickup truck I know that others sometimes just can't stop or steer and I don't want to be there.

  2. thank God you & hubby are okay

  3. You better believe Ron thanked God that day, the next day, and probably for the rest of the year. We are both thankful.