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We almost didn’t get on the road when a trucker sideswiped us

By Howard James

It was a brisk Maine day. The temperture was just seven degrees, as we approached the Gray, Maine entrance to Interstate 95, just 27 miles from home. We had stopped at a red light at the intersection of Route 26 and US 202. The I-95 toll both was just a few hundred yards away.

A trucker was beside us, waiting for the light to turn green. He had signaled he intended to make a right turn. When the light changed we started to pull out into the intersection when suddenly the trucker, without warning, changed his mind and made a sharp left turn, sideswiping our motorhome, dragging us for more than 20 feet. His truck and the damage he did to the side of our rig blocked the passenger side door.

We were fortunate, Neither my wife Judy nor I were injured. After the Cumberland County deputy sheriff untangled things he carefully looked at our motorhome and decided we could continue on the road to our winter home in Florida. We were still street legal, and he added if our rig handled normally on the interstate we could continue on our way.

He added that if we were uncomfortable with the way the rig drove we could slow down, get off at the first exit and return home.

Our motorhome performed as if nothing had happened so we kept going, taking several side trips to take photos and gather material for our several blogs.

The normal distance from Norway, Maine to North Port, Florida is something more than 1,500 miles, The side trips pushed that number up to something more than 2,000 miles.

I used a hammer to knock the camper body back in place just enough so Judy could use the passenger door.  The most challenging problem was the fact the trucker ripped the passenger side mirror off, and so I was blindsided when I wanted to change lanes or turn right.

Judy, an enterprising woman, asked me to stop at the first Walmart down the road so she could buy a large mirror with a handle.  So for all 2000 miles, when I needed to check traffic on my right, Judy would hang out of the window and hold the mirror  so she could see if a car or truck was coming. That’s not easy to do at Interstate speeds, so she had to hold the mirror with both hands.

We took the photos and interviewed people as planned, and ccccmade it safely to Port Chrlotte, where we took our RV in for $7,300 in repairs, which fortunately were covered by the trucker’s insurance.

However, the repair shop was busy, and the Christmas and New Years holidays intervened. so we are now several weeks behind our planned schedule.

The delay gave us time to shape up our Florida house because it won’t be lived in for almost a year while we are on the road. Again we are fortunate. Our next door neighbor, a retired Sarasota County deputy sheriff, offered to watch the house and mow the lawn. Then a retired science teacher who lives across the street volunteered to take care of our small swimming pool. So we can travel while with peace of mind.

Perhaps we’ll meet you down the road. We are crossing the southern tier of states, just above the Mexican border, then driving to California and heading north to Washington State before driving back to Maine in the spring.

Our Maine license number is USA 1. so watch for us.

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