So, all of us with teenagers have probably hoped, at least secretly, that our kids are not engaging in the time-honored tradition of spectatorship at the submarine races… I know I have.

Never did I expect that one of mine would actually attempt to enter the race, in a vehicle intended only for dry land.


Yes, that silver Explorer darn near made it into one of the tributaries of Melton Hill Lake last Friday afternoon.

Beta, on her way to work at Big Ed’s from her apartment in Knoxville, was cruising southbound on Melton Lake Drive when she fell asleep at the wheel.

At 4 in the afternoon.  Rush hour.  She crossed a lane of oncoming traffic, just missed a row of vertical railroad ties, traveled nearly 100 feet  on the wrong side of the railroad ties along the top edge of a gully, then veered off toward the water.

She called and told me she’d fallen asleep while driving, and asked me to pick her up.  She didn’t say anything about the truck being in the lake, or anything like that… I guess I assumed that she’d been pulled over for weaving, and the officer wouldn’t let her drive.

She’s okay.  Her dog (riding in the back seat) is okay too.  The Explorer — yes, that one — is less than okay, but upon close inspection in the daylight, probably isn’t totaled.

On Friday evening after a wrecker towed it home, we thought the  frame was bent, but on closer inspection in the daylight,  it’s not.  There’s a cross-rail that is mangled, the front axle may have to be replaced, and some mounting pieces that nearly sheared off, but those are all things that can be found in a junkyard.  There’s a window busted out, the driver’s side rearview mirror sheared off, but those are replaceable.  HWTFM and I went back to the scene of the crime on Saturday, and picked up several pieces.

The kid is lucky to be alive.  It’s a wonder the truck didn’t roll.  She’s lucky she didn’t get thrown through the windshield (with no seatbelt on).  It’s only now that I can actually think about it, write about it, without shaking.

Maybe a few weeks without wheels will be a good thing.

THURSDAY UPDATE: Yes, it really is totaled. Our mechanic said it can’t be fixed.