RIP My Faithful Toad

It’s tough to know how to start a post like this. I guess that “I’m fine, the cats are fine, and Miranda is more or less fine” should do it.

I’d been on the road about an hour today and was approaching Beckley on the West Virginia turnpike. Traffic was heavy and there was construction. I merged into the left hand lane around some construction when the semi in front of me slammed on his brakes to the point that there was smoke coming from them. The man in the pickup behind me was riding my car bumper and had no room to stop. He slammed into the back of the car, which slammed into the back of the motorhome.

The state trooper took me aside to say that the fact that I did not hit the semi and that the guy in the pickup did not get rear ended suffices as proof that he did not give himself enough braking distance. Because I was rear ended there is no question that the guy behind me is responsible, but the state trooper assured me that I couldn’t have done anything to prevent this. So, please, no comments like I got after the brakes incidents asking me to rehash every single moment of this. It happened, it’s being dealt with, and I can continue on to Virginia tomorrow. I am parked at the wrecking yard for the night and was given the go ahead by both insurance companies to go ahead with my travel plans.

The first photo I am going to share is going to be shocking. You can see that my tow bar assembly is sheered off and that I was pulling the car only by the cables. This is important, folks. Look at the tow assembly. It isn’t dragging on the ground. You need to crisscross the cables so that if something like this were to happen, the cables would act as a net and catch the tow bar. My system worked flawlessly.

Damage to the front of the car:

Damage to the rear of the car:

Motorhome bumper:

I don’t believe that the damage to the motorhome requires immediate attention. She drove fine the 10 miles or so from the crash site to the wrecking yard. There is damage to the under carriage where the receiver hitch was welded on. However, none of the damaged parts are attached directly to the main part of the chassis. I feel comfortable driving to Montreal but I will have the rig looked at once I get there and won’t be taking the road again until the repairs are done.

It will take a few days for an appraiser to come out and look at the car, but I reasonably certain that I am looking at a total loss on it so I am okay with leaving it behind. So long as the other party takes responsibility for his idiocy, my insurance companies will not charge me a deductible. So it would make sense to have the car repaired if the appraiser says it needs to be, and I’ll be close enough by to come back and pick it up. But I seriously doubt that will happen.

At this point, there is no sense making guesses about how I am going to proceed. I will know more once the motorhome damage is appraised and dealt with next month. The big question is my towing assembly; it could cost almost $5,000 including parts and installation, to get a new vehicle set up for towing.

I’ll be renting a car in Virginia and will see what my options are when I get to Montreal regarding getting a new toad. I’m fairly confident that the car is worth twice what I owe on it, so there is a chance that I could get the loan cleared and have enough left over to buy a decent used vehicle. One thing is for certain; I have no intention of financing another vehicle.

The big question now is, how do I carry the bike and extra propane tank? I stuffed the car roof rack and whatever I had in the car trunk into the motorhome basement, but the bike and propane tank are going to be tricky.

To my surprise, my insurance company is paying the absurd towing bill for the car, $250. It cost half that to have Miranda towed after she lost her brakes and she was going further! Anyway, the wrecking yard is letting the insurance company settle the bill rather than making me pay it and then be reimbursed, so that’s fine.

As for the inside of the rig, I need to do a thorough evaluation, but I lost one external hard drive and a bunch of dishes. It looks like everything else was secure.

It has been a very long day. The accident happened at 10:30AM. I got to the wrecking yard at 12:30 and called my insurance broker. He told me to stay by the phone and that my insurance companies would call me. I spent about an hour emptying the car (thank you so much to the nice man who helped me get the bike out of the car through the passenger side door since I couldn’t get the trunk open and to the other one who carried my 30lb propane tank the equivalent of a full block). Aviva called me around 3 for the motorhome. I hadn’t heard from Intact for the car so I called my broker back at 4 and he gave me the adjuster’s number. By the time I hung up with her, it was 5:30. It is now 7:45 and I’ve only had a small slice of pizza to eat all day (damn those nerves), so I think I will go grab a few things at the Walmart next door to make a quick cold picnic. Sitting in Miranda today was like sitting in an oven, but at least I was home.

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  • I am so grateful that you and the kids are okay. Everything else is just trifles.
    I love you.

  • IMHO the car is a total loss. I worked in auto claims for 26 years and although I never used my appraisal course that I took, I did take it. I would be leery to have someone say it’s repairable.

    Glad you and the kitties are ok, that’s the main thing.

    These things were sent to try us!

  • Bast, I love you too. See you tomorrow! *HUGS*

    Sandra, you’re the fifth person who agrees with me that this is a total loss. The only reason why I think there could be an attempt to fix it is that the engine compartment looks okay so I want to be prepared for any scenario. But I wouldn’t be driving on if I didn’t truly believe that this is where my car’s life ends. What a pathetic ending to an exciting life that would make most subcompacts as green as my toad with envy. I mean, we drove past the Arctic Circle together! I had a love/hate relationship with that car, but it never failed me. I am just shocked that she won’t be my last car. I was sure she would be.

  • Glad to read you and your babies are okay. To paraphrase Bast the rest is replaceable. Take it easy tomorrow and let your nerves and body catch-up with the adrenalin rush of today.

  • Judy, that’s how I feel. It’s just stuff. Yeah, I’m irked and this is going to be messy to resolve, but it’s just stuff.

  • Glad to hear that you and kittys are okay. This too shall pass. Glad there wasn’t more damage to your motorhome. Take a couple of Tylenol PM and get a good night’s sleep.

  • We are so glad you and the little ones are alright. As said before, take it easy tomorrow and give the kitties pets from us.
    P.J. & Hubby

  • Wow so glad you and the family are ok. I just found your blog and what a day to stumble across it. I have a question which I know you probably won’t feel like answering now but I was wondering about insurance. Can you insure a thing like the tow bar that will cost so much? Can you insure the things inside the RV? My husband and I are trying to get information for a cross country trip we are taking in 2 years. Everyday there seems to be a new question. I am glad I am gathering info now and putting it in a book so I’ll be ready. You seasoned RVer’s are a wealth of information. Again so glad you are ok and have the attitude that the car can be replaced.

  • Wow! Glad to hear you were able to stop and avert a worse collision. Too bad about the toad; but for sure she’s a goner. Sorry. At least you are safe and sound; which is the most important thing. Take the time to unwind and regroup. Hope the rest of your visit is enjoyable.

  • Wow! I got an adrenaline rush just reading your words and looking at your pictures. Be ready for the letdown that often follows that. So glad you and the kitties are fine. Although be ready for some twinges in all of you tomorrow as well. Still the high from surviving ought to get you through a lot. 🙂

  • RAE! I’m so glad to hear that your okay. This is unfortunate about your Hyundai! It must of been a long day! Hopefully all works out in your favor and you have a relaxing night and try not to worry too much about it all. The most important thing is that your and your kitties are safe, healthy and no one was hurt (and of course that it wasn’t your fault. That’s always a nice one).

    Great driving! There should be more drivers out there like you!

  • Wow, what a horrible thing to have to go through when things have been going so well. Sorry that you will have to deal with all this “stuff” now. We know how it feels, we have been going through very similar issues after our “collision’ with a hail storm in Texas two weeks ago! It’s quite a shocking experience.
    On another note, we just set up our Jeep Liberty for towing while we are down here in Phoenix getting the hail damage to our rig repaired. It costs under $2,000….look up “Ready Brute” online it is a great, simple tow and braking system combined.
    These are the guys that supplied & installed ours, RG and Sons, Mesa AZ. They do good work but unfortunately their website stinks!

  • Yes, it is just “stuff” and can be replaced. The important thing is that you are OK!

    You might want to investigate replacing the car in the USA. Prices are lower and importation is pretty simple. You should be able to move up a couple of model years with the savings. Something to think about.

    Anyway, the important thing….

  • Oh I’m so sorry to hear about this. Glad that you are okay and were not hurt in the accident.

  • Sorry to hear about your loss…Glad you are ok! I understand about your car, my old Toyota Corolla was sold to a co-worker of husbands, sometimes I drive by the parking lot just to look at it and sigh, and maybe.. just maybe ..tear up a little, I had her for 14 years, she feels like a lost child…

    The important thing is your ok, kitties ok, stuff can and will be replaced.
    Hugs of sympathy…

  • Those Glendale motorhomes are tough! Our last motorhome was a Glendale and was rear ended in Myrtle Beach a few years ago with minimal damage. I can’t say the same for your little car. Things will get sorted out.

    S……T happens!

    This is all part of your “Big Adventure”.

    Take Care

  • Rae, everything damaged in the crash should be covered! This would include the tow bar and probably even the hard drive (if it is broken). Press this issue. The tow bar is part of the vehicle! Tell them you must be “Made Whole”. Lawyers love this term.

  • Norma, there is definite damage to Miranda, but I think she’ll come through okay. She’s telling me she’s okay to keep going for a bit.

    Croft, the insurance companies said they’ll figure out the tow bar situation. I’m not going to get up in arms about this until I get their final assessment. As for contents, I’m sure everything will work out. That was actually one of the first questions the adjuster asked me.

  • Oh, my! So sorry to read this unfortunate news but glad to hear you & your kitties are ok. The mountains in that part of the country are beautiful but also challenging. Hope things go smoothly with the insurance adjusters and you are back to “normal” soon.

  • Sorry about the bump in the road, Rae. It occurred to me that you were fortunate to have a toad and the jerk who was following so closely didn’t slam into the back of Miranda. Hope everything works out well. You’ve got the right attitude.

  • Valid observation, Hobopals! It seems Toad made the ultimate sacrifice for best friend, Miranda. Rae, give and get hugs from Tabitha and Nelix from us. The hard drive is a back-up, isn’t it? Loosing primary data would suck, but again, just stuff. <3

  • Sorry for you lost; but happy to see that you and the kids are OK. It sucks when you have to pay for somebody else’s carelessness. At least, it looks like you have a pretty tight case against the tailgater. Hope everything goes well with both insurance companies. Sending you good vibes. J

  • Thanks, Julie. Both insurance companies seemed confident over the phone that everything’s in my favour. Just waiting on the adjusters to make an in person visit.

  • Donna and hobopals, I had the same thought. If I had not had a toad or if I had a fifth wheel, my home could have been a total loss.

    Donna, I have three external drives. The one that I think is damaged is the backup, which is a best case scenario since the data on the other two discs is not backed up anywhere. I have made a new backup on my 2TB drive so everything’s good.

  • Lisa, after the Rockies, this mountainous section was easy! Thanks for the good wishes.

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