Thursday, January 12, 2012

San Marcos January 12

Mexican traffic jam
Up to San Marcos late this morning as it was too west for El Chante.  Up on launch it looked a bit light for XC, so I hung around while Derek did a tandem.  Flew later but it was still too light; I explored to the north a bit and went off the ridge over the highway but not much lift, and the thought of an afternoon taco (everyone else was in the LZ) made me head out to land too.

After lunch we headed back up, and on the way up the mountain we met a pickup truck coming down the road very quickly.  It was a straightaway section and we weren't going fast (we were going uphill) but they were going way too fast (no brakes? or just Mexican driving style) and they were heading straight for us.  I was in the backseat and all I could see was cliff face coming at me as Derek swerved to avoid the oncoming truck and we went into the ditch next to the cliff face.  I thought for sure they were going to impact us and take out the driver's side mirror or headlight, but I saw a flash of blue pickup as they miraculously missed us and passed us by.  I thought that was the end of it until I heard the crashing of something going over the cliff...they had swerved too much and went right over the edge.
Where the pickup truck went over the cliff

We got out and yelled down to them (it was 2 guys) and they said they were both OK.  Apparently one guy got thrown from the truck as it rolled (no seatbelt), got thrown ahead of it, and then the truck rolled over him as it continued rolling.  The other guy was still inside (not sure if seatbelt or not) but after the truck came to a stop he was able to get out.  Both guys were able to climb back up the cliff where we checked them both out for injuries.  Other than bruises and scrapes and some bleeding from the bushes, they seemed OK but shaken up.

Turns out the pickup had several beehives in the back.  So when Derek, Jim, Jorje, and one of the Mexican guys went back to retrieve some personal effects and worktools, they were heading to very angry bees!  Jorje suffered a few stings but nobody else.  Meanwhile I was back at our truck keeping an eye on the other Mexican guy who was more shaken up, so I didn't to deal with angry bees.  But afterwards we could all hear the buzzing of thousands of angry bees, and had to drive away as the bees started following the honey scent on the Mexican beekeepers.

Derek's tire tracks as he swerved into the cliff face
So we ended up spending the rest of the afternoon dealing with the aftermath: making sure the Mexican guys were taken care of (their truck is probably written off; it's in the bushes, partway down a cliff, and nose-in to the ground sticking up, with no easy way to winch it out).  And the two Mexican guys are super-lucky to be alive.  I had visions of us going down there to find 2 dead guys or having to deal with serious injuries and getting them out of there (the spot was so well hidden, you couldn't see it from the road so nobody would have known they were there).  And Derek drove awesomely...we had the cliff face on our side so we ended up swerving onto the "safe" side of the road.  Makes you appreciate how narrow these mountain roads can be, and how slow you have to go in case you meet oncoming traffic!

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