Wild fire

Wow.  Last weekend (Labor Day weekend), I drove to Austin (or at least started that direction).  There were wildfires near Bastrop, and the highway closed — you could see the smoke and flames just a mile or so from where I had to U-turn.  Traffic was chaos as about 1,000 cars and I (I’m probably exaggerating) headed up a small road toward highway 290.  Soon, traffic was stopped again, and this time as I U-turned, my car was hit in the back right-hand side by a truck coming the opposite direction.  Not a huge impact, but a good thump that knocked the car to the roadside.  I was fine, and quickly hopped out to check with the other driver (who was also fine).

About 2-3 minutes later, as I stood 30 yards or so from my car talking to the other driver, a gawking passerby pointed at my car and yelled, “That car’s on fire!”  Indeed it was. (And completely independent of the wild fires that happened to be raging just a few miles away).  Standing there empty-handed in shorts and flip-flops, there was nothing I could do but watch.  It pretty much burned to a crisp.  Sadly, there are no pictures — my phone (the only camera I’d have had with me) was in the car, whose charred remains were towed away just as I left.  I wound up hitchhiking to the next town with the folks I’d had a wreck with.  I borrowed a phone to call my friend Scott, who heroically drove 2 hours to rescue me from the Smithville convenience store parking lot.

Here’s all I salvaged.  I picked it up off the ground.  It was a silver Mercedes SL500 convertible.  Of course it was insured — and I’m not one to be emotionally attached to a car — but I was actually nauseated to watch the thing burn.  A little glimpse of understandable human nature, though:  people get a strange thrill watching somebody else’s Mercedes burn to a crisp.  I’d feel the same way, but if I had my druthers, I’d choose to see a red Ferrari burn (there’s a part of me that would just as soon see all red Ferraris burn, right?).

Adding insult to the injury:  it had a personalized Texas license plate.  Red and white:  “SOONERS”. (Remember: this happened on the way to Austin).


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  1. By Behold the Phoenix! on December 14, 2011 at 1:18 PM

    […] that my car recently (and spectacularly) burned to a crisp.  I set out to find a replacement — generally looking for one of similar vintage, color, […]