Now I Really Am an Accidental Tourist

I rode out of Flagstaff toward Sedona, which my mother had visited recently. It was supposed to be a cute little town, and it was. I stopped and had some breakfast. I poked in a few shops, but was still not interested in gathering more belongings and the specter of Christmas remained too far off to imagine buying gifts.

My next stop was the Verde Canyon Railroad, another recommendation of my mother. I’d hoped to do the First Class tour (mom had ridden coach), but when I arrived they started asking about reservations and so on. I asked if, perhaps they could find room for just one more traveler. After a few minutes and some squawking of walkie-talkies, a space for me was found and they took my money.

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The train was pretty cool. Not far out of this little town was a huge slag heap left over from the days that they were doing copper mining. It had been one of my mother’s favorite parts of the tour. She’s not much for nature, Mom.

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The train ride was nice. A server brought drinks. There were snacks. A recorded narration notified us of various sights as we approached. They pointed out rocks that looked like presidents, trucks, and cartoon characters. My camera’s lens wasn’t long enough to get decent photos of such, but I did get a shot of a bald eagle. I love trains. It was a fun trip.

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When the train returned, I got back to Walden and decided to make the push to Phoenix rather than find somewhere else to stay for the night. As I was approaching Phoenix, I checked my mirrors, signaled, and merged into the right lane. I heard a loud sound, which I could not place. I decided to merge back to the left a bit. It turned out that I hit a dark blue 2007 Ford Mustang. The color of the night. I kept on moving down the road, looking for a safe place to stop, watching the rear view mirror to see that the Mustang was still behind me. I finally found a place and pulled over. The Mustang followed. I jumped out. I could see that the Mustang’s driver side rear view mirror was dangling by the cables for its adjustment system. The woman got out. She was fine. We surveyed the damage. The mirror and a racing stripe were all that were visible, though she said that the car was riding funny. It appeared that the left front tire was somehow misaligned. She asked about Walden. My first fear about Walden was that the side door wouldn’t open. If that were the case I’d be pretty disheartened. The door worked fine, though. The only indication was a short little black scratch that came from her mirror. I’m pretty sure it will rub out should I ever get around to it.

We exchanged insurance information. I offered to put her spare tire on since she said that her car was riding funny, but she said she didn’t have far to go. We decided not to call the police and away we went.

Twenty minutes later I made it to my friend’s house. I could not get him to answer the phone and could not get in the gate. I tried again and decided to head to a local establishment where I might sit for a while to let my nerves settle. As soon as my drink arrived he had called, so I finished my drink and headed on over where we had some food and hung out.

I started to worry that the woman’s tire had flown off the rim and she had ended up in a ditch. I thought that she had written her phone number down, but could not find it. I tried searching on the internet to no avail. There was a record of a foreclosure with someone of the same name, but that was all I found. I was also somewhat interested in just writing her a check for the damage rather than involving the insurance company. I figured that it might well be easier to just write her a check than to involve the insurance people, and likely cheaper in the long run, but that probably wasn’t going to work.

1 Epilogue

A few days later I figured out that the numbers that she had written on the back of her insurance card were, did, in fact, comprise a phone number. I called to see how she was. She did not die on the way home. She had gotten a new tire and the car was in the shop.

Some weeks later I got a call from her insurance company asking if I had filed a claim with my insurance company. I had not. She was able to supply me with useful information like what city I was in. I was pretty sure it was actually Phoenix, but it could have been some other suburb or whatever. The woman was somewhat surprised to hear me ask what city the vehicular collision had been in. I explained that I have been in a lot of cities lately. So I called my insurance company, got a claim number, and emailed the woman who had called so that she could start sucking money out of my insurance company.

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