Worst Day in NZ. The End of Big Red. End of Trip?

The Van is no more.  I put a hole in my lip with my teeth.  It wasn’t my fault, I was rear ended and shoved into a gravel truck with 2 trailers attached to it. Along the gorge road on the way out of Queenstown there is a bridge that over looks a bungy jump.  This makes for an interesting view, and a dangerous rubber necking area. Well, I was victimized by that rubber necking today, and payed for it with my big red van, my lip and my teeth.

My View

My View

I slept in late this day, woke up about 10 am and started to pack up gear for a road trip and night out in Dunedin, 4 hours away, with the Uni kids down there.  They are all getting back for the new semester and planned to party hard for the first week.  I thought it would be a good idea to partake in that party.  I started to drive out of Queenstown and the mountains about Noon.  A half hour later I entered the narrow gorge area by the AJ Hacket Bungy Jump.  As I came around the bend towards the bridge I slowed up, knowing that this was a notorious spot for tourists to stop in dangerous locations along the road.

Front Damage

Front Damage

As soon as I crossed the beginning plane of the bridge I saw a large, 2 trailer hauling gravel truck ahead of me slowing quickly.  I knew what was happening so I braked hard and angled the van toward the oncoming lane instinctively.  I was able to stop about 6 feet short of the truck.  At that moment, I remember the inkling of a thought that crossed my mind…. I hope if there is someone behind me they stop in ti…………………CRASH, SHATTER

Dash Damage

Dash Damage

I came too feeling like I got punched in the face and could feel the familiar numb feeling in my lip and salty liquid of a laceration, and then I knew what had happened instantly when I saw the blood on my hand.  I sunk my teeth deep into my bottom lip.

Teeth Right Through

Teeth Right Through

I jumped out of the van to make sure the guy that hit me was ok.  A small sedan was crumpled into my back bumper and 4 kids, probably around 16 yrld. got out.  The truck driver in front of me ran around my van to obviously check for the same thing that I was.  Luckily I was the worst injured person.

Looking through the passenger side window hole.

Looking through the passenger side window hole.

Buckled Passenger Side Door, Front

Buckled Passenger Side Door, Front

Buckled Passenger Side Door, Back

Buckled Passenger Side Door, Back

I was taken into the AJ Hacket bungy building where they luckily had first aid personal on staff and they helped me clean up.  About this time a police officer pulled up and began to take a report of the accident.  He gathered all the insurance info, got our stories, interviewed a witness and recorded damage.  With help from the guys at the bungy jump we pulled the van into there parking lot.  I unloaded all my gear into the police cruiser and headed for the hospital, I was going to need stitches….again.  I think this will make 8 times now lifetime.  Oh, as I was getting all my stuff out of the van, I noticed that a bottle of Jameson was missing. I was taking it down to share with the Uni Kids.  I wonder who happened to steal that out of my car….hummmm.

Destroyed Bed Frame

Destroyed Bed Frame

I waited in the emergency room for 3 hours and got 6 stitches inside my mouth.  Could have been much worse, I’m not too concerned about the little gash.

6 Stitches in There

6 Stitches in There

Glue That Outer Lip Right Up

Glued That Outer Lip Right Up

As for the Van…..

Well, lets just say that if anyone was in the passenger side, there legs may have been crushed.  The passenger side door is crumpled and the window shattered out.  The wind shield is falling off, and the front dash is destroyed.  The angle that I hit the back of the truck actually protected my legs and me.  The rear bumper is destroyed and the hitch is bent, but not much damage to the back.   I think I saw anti freeze on the road, so my radiator is probably cracked or damaged.  It still starts right up, thanks to the $600 I just put into it 3 weeks ago in which I changed most of the cold start system.

Now for the really scary part….. Insurance companies….

As of right now this is where it stands.  I only have 3rd party coverage on my van.  Meaning that since it was not my fault, my insurance company will not help me with anything, not even dealing with the driver at fault’s insurance company.  Glad I payed for that insurance service.  Of course the other insurance company is taking a hard line with me…cause why wouldn’t they…as I didn’t do anything wrong (except being in the wrong place).  They won’t cover transportation cost for me to rent a car because they have a bus service here (which sucks) so I am basically stranded.  They at some point in the next 2 weeks are going to appraise the damage to the van and most likely total it, which then leaves me in a real bad situation.  I have a van load of equipment with no van, and probably a settlement of half what I could have sold the van for.

I am not in a good area to find a comparable van, and if you remember I had a hell of a time finding a good van in Auckland the biggest city.  I also have no way to travel around and look at other vehicles anyway.  This may just do it, i don’t think I can try and get through this and find another car financially without help from the insurance co. and I think the chances of that are nil.

I’ll let you know what happens in the next few weeks.

Front End Damage

Front End Damage

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2 responses to “Worst Day in NZ. The End of Big Red. End of Trip?

  1. Daniel Fallon

    Damn Phil! What are the chances? I’m glad you are ok. Thank God you were angled off to the side like that! You sure are being tested to your limits on this trip.

  2. So glad you are OK. The scar will make for a good story…”I was on a bridge in NZ…….”

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