Forty minutes into the 12-hour drive to Chicago I was yelling “STOP!!!” with my hands on the dashboard and a frozen car getting closer and closer BANG!!!!!! We hit. The car crumbled. Totalled. Thanks to some guardian angels that (thank God) seem to follow me around the world, no one was hurt.

The next thing I knew I was in the front seat of a cop car. Not in trouble for anything, I’m way too goody goody for that. The cop gave us a lift to the car wrecker yard in a town sporting a single taxi, who was out of town for the next couple of hours.

Desperate to get back on the road, and with the nearest car rental shop still 40 minutes away, we paid a stranger to take us – a dude with a neck wider than his head, and a belly so big it had its own gravitational pull.

About 10 minutes into the drive he looked in his rear view mirror. Seeing my ghost white face he said, “A-I-scar’in-ys?” pronouncing only the vowels. Is he scaring me?

“Nooooo,” I stammered as he almost ran up the back of another car. His truck broke down twice. It was hunting weapons in the backseat that scared me the most. “He’s seen our iPhones. God please don’t let this redneck’s friends come rob and kill us…”

We made it to the rental shop. By this time I was so completely anxious and emotionally tied up in knots that I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep going. Another 11 hours on these highways seemed like a death wish.

So many bad things have happened on this trip, from the scooter in Greece to this car accident, and many things in between. I’m struggling to “read the signs”. Is The Universe telling me go home? Or challenging me to push through?

I pushed through. So long as I was the one driving, I felt ok. When someone else took the wheel I kept my eyes on the road and on the maniac truck drivers, and prayed many-a prayers. I was a backseat driver from hell, but we made it to Chicago in one piece. I had a great time roaming about the city, university, eating and drinking with my new Latino friends, shopping in Macys, protesting Wall St (yes, I do see the irony)…



Two days later flew to meet my Dad in DC. I was relieved not to have to drive back to Hickory on the highways, at least not for a few days yet…