My county ag extension agent buddy, ol’ Avery Ware, returned with a dandy, humorous story that happened to him during his recent week-long vacation to the Black Hills of South Dakota to Mount Rushmore and continuing to the east front of the Colorado Rockies to see his three grandkids.
Here’s Avery’s story as he told it to me between bouts of laughing at the recollection of it all.
He traveled the first day to Ogallala, Neb., where he overnighted with an old acquaintance. The next morning he headed north across the Cornhusker state’s sparsely populated, grassy hinterlands towards Arthur. It wuz a damp, foggy morning with low visibility and no traffic on the narrow little road he wuz traveling.
Avery said he wuzn’t far into his trip when he noticed a sign that said, “Caution. Road work ahead.” So, he proceeded cautiously, but saw nary hide nor hair of any sort of a road working crew.
As all us old aggie guys do, Avery kept a lookout for any sights worth noting along the route, particularly wild game, and in doing so, meandered frequently across the yellow line in the middle of the highway. Well, somewhere south of Arthur, Avery spied a nice herd of antelope near the road and pulled over at a convenient place to take a better look at the critters and stretch his legs.
But what he saw first after getting out of his car wuzn’t the white tails of scared antelope vanishing into the fog. Nope, the first sight to greet his eyes wuz a big yellow streak — of highway yellow-line paint –all down the driver’s side of his car, from bumper to bumper, including the wheel wells and the wheels.
Yup, despite the fact that Avery had not seen any sign of highway work, the yellow line on the highway was fresh paint and he’d meandered to the center line often enuf that one side of his black sedan wuz coated yellow.
Now, what to do? Only one option. Drive on to Arthur. When he arrived, he first stopped at a store and bought a plastic spatula in hopes that he could scrape some of the thick paint off before it dried. No luck. Then he stopped at a filling station and wuz informed that the nearest body shop wuz more than 100 miles away just across the South Dakota border.
So, Avery drove on getting shocked looks from drivers who saw his car.
When he arrived at the first body shop, the owner took one look at the paint (now dried) and said, “Buddy, that’s gonna take a lot of body work to fix, but I have a good friend in the body work bizness in Rapid City and I’ll call him if you want to see him.” Avery agreed and the guy made the call.
Upon arrival at the Rapid City body shop, the very helpful owner took one glance and said, “That yellow paint can’t be removed, so all the panels will need replacing. I can do the job, but I can’t get to it for at least three weeks.” But, then the body guy volunteered to take pictures of Avery’s car and e-mail them to Avery’s insurance carrier as proof of the damage and the day it happened.
Now resigned to completing his vacation in his yellow-striped black car, Avery made his way to Mount Rushmore and parked way out in the parking lot away from the big mass of parked cars. He made the Mt. Rushmore tour and then headed for his car in the parking lot. That’s when the humorous stuff happened.
As he got closer to his car, Avery noticed that a crowd had gathered around it. He decided to edge into the group without announcing his ownership of the car. With his ear cocked to the conversations going on, Avery heard such snippets as: “What a mess! Wonder how and where it happened?” “Never seen such a mess in my life!” “That thing’s gonna have to be totaled.”
But, then one enterprising gawker had a novel idea. He said to his kids, “Get up there and stand by that Kansas license plate. I’ll get a picture of you and that messy car with Mt. Rushmore in the background.”
An amused Avery just stood by and watched as onlookers made derogatory or sympathetic comments and took pictures of his car. But, he said the funniest comment came from a guy — apparently a local native who was there with his family — who said, “Kids, get in there so I can get a picture of you and that car. I can get a picture of Mt. Rushmore anytime.”
Avery said it took awhile for the crowd around his “spectacle car” to disperse and he could exit the parking lot unnoticed.
When he left the Black Hills, Avery ended up in Torrington, Wyo., and he said he wuz stopped at a red light when the guy next to him motioned vigorously at Avery’s car, rolled the window down, and yelled over, “Please pull over. I need to talk to you.”
So, Avery pulled over and the guy introduced himself and asked Avery where the paint accident happened. Then he said that his company makes the road-line painting machines and said that the proper paint will dry within minutes and should never cause the mess on Avery’s car. “Somebody was irresponsible and should have to pay for your repairs,” the guy said.
But, that never happened. Avery completed his trip to the Rockies and home enduring caustic comments about his car along the way. He’s home and still driving it. The local body shop owner said it would be three weeks before he can fix Avery’s car.
If there’s a lesson to be learned from Avery’s experience, perhaps it’s this: “Never drive on the yellow line in Nebraska unless you test the paint first.”
That’s wisdom enuf. Have a good ‘un.