Sidebar: Is Travel Tuesday still a thing?
Sidebar 2: While the names in this story have not been changed, the dialogue may be a little bit altered. I do not remember word for word much of this day for I have blocked most of it from my brain.
Sidebar 3: Warning, this story is graphic. Well, it's not war story / horror movie graphic but it was A LOT for me.
Hi boos. If you read my last blog (if you didn't that's cool but here, read it) I filled out a survey. One of the questions asked something like What city / state would you never visit again?... and I answered WYOMING. I then proceeded to tell you all that I would save this epic story for a rainy day / a future blog. Well it's not raining at all but I feel as though it's now time for the story of the scariest day of my life.
August 8, 2017: This is Wyoming.
...And the last picture I took before the incident heard around the world. Well, my world at least. One lane in, one lane out. If you're from anywhere in the mid-west (I'd assume?) you know what this looks like. But let's get one thing straight for a main reference to this entire story: I am from Jersey. You would be considered damn near suicidal- to say the least- if you attempted to lay in the middle of any highway and take a picture. But that is exactly what I did in almost every state. Not a car, person, object, in sight besides this road and some cows. MOO.
Rewind to July 2017 / why I'm even on this trip...
My handsome friend, @frankietravelstheworld was moving to Cali and he needed to drive his car from NJ > CA. At the time, I was in a less than desirable mental place via a break up that I regretfully admit literally rocked my world (and not "rocked" in a good way) months before that but I was still feeling the after-shocks. With that said, he knew I wanted to get away and in less than 24 hours of the extended invitation I decided to take him up on the offer, book my flight and meet him half way in luxurious Omaha, Nebraska.
Sidebar: He travels often so I felt completely comfortable with him planning the entire trip. All stops and sights to see were planned so all I really needed to do was show up, be a good co-pilot, be open for it to fingers crossed help my current mental state.
Ok so we're back on the road...
We were on our way from South Dakota to Colorado. The route was leading us through about 2 hours in Wyoming. I had just completed my first hike of the trip in Custer State Park! I broke in my new hiking sneakers and was feeling exceptionally proud of myself. Also as a change of pace, I was actually diggin' the lack of Wi-Fi, phone service, people, any forms of life, etc...
A main part of my existence on this trip (aside from being the official snack fetcher, lead singer and head Googler) was to take pictures. One photo that was an absolute must was the "WELCOME TO ____insert state____ sign" with every new state we entered. For this particular state sign even on an empty road, for some reason I guess only God knows Frankie FLEW past the Wyoming sign. Taking my job seriously, I encouraged him to make a U-turn so we could go back and I could get a picture of the sign.
All the suspense is leading up to this...
As we pull away from the side of the road, completing the picture of the sign mission, doing 40-50 mph tops I spot the deer...
Me: Frank, that deer...
Frankie: I see it...
Deer: I'ma just keep doin' my thang and walking towards you guys doe...
*FRANKIE SLAMS ON HORN AND BRAKES.
*ROBYN CLOSES EYES AND HOLDS HEAD.
*DEER FULL SPEED AHEAD DARTS INTO THE MIDDLE OF AN EMPTY ROAD. In a silly attempt to end it all? I'm still not sure what she was doing.
BEGIN Panic Level 1:
With approx. 21 hours left to our trip, my first thought, TRIP OVER, WE'RE TOAST. Frankie, a usually easy going / go with the flow homie, screams F*@( MY CAR! as we pull over to the side of the road he gets out to assess the damage then looks at me...
Frankie: You have to call 911, I don't know if my car is driveable.
Me: Starring into space / at him / and totally non responsive.
I have not yet left the passenger seat and proceed to turn around and look for the deer, beautiful little baby just got rocked. (Again, not the good "rocked") I spot her. She's on the other side of the road badly injured but trying to get up. I'm getting choked up. He spends nearly 10 minutes outside the car trying / waiting for someone to drive past for help... 2 people drive past us, 3rd car stops.
Frankie: I'm going to get help from this lady. I need you get it together and call 911.
Me: (Fumbles phone, has no service and only Emergency calls allowed.) What's the number? Where are we? What do I say? Is the deer okay?
Frankie: 9-1-1, Robyn. (...and a bunch of other jibberish I forget.)
I finally get it together and get a dispatcher on the phone. She proceeds to tell me the nearest town is 55 miles away and we would need to wait for a trooper / tow truck to even figure out if the car is driveable.
BEGIN Panic Level 4:
Frankie comes back to the car from talking to the "Good Samaritan". I inform him of the information I received as I am currently on hold...
Frankie: Look, you need to stay in the car and not turn around.
Me: What do you mean!?
Frankie: The deer is pretty badly hurt. This lady wants to put it out of it's misery.
Me: What does that mean!?
Frankie: She has a gun and she's going to shoot it.
BEGIN Panic Level 39:
Listen, I've seen Bambi and lived through The Lion King but nothing in life could have prepared me for the event that was coming. We were still the only people on the road in addition to the new armed stranger we now have "helping" us. I began to cry.
MY INNER MONOLOGUE / IMMEDIATE OVER REACTION: "Is she going to shoot us next? She's in scrubs? With a gun? Shit, this car is stick... If I needed to be the get away driver we'd be screwed. Breathe, girl. Oh my god, I'm going to puke. I miss my dog."
Dispatcher back on the phone hears me crying:
911: Is everything ok? Is anyone hurt?
BEGIN Panic Level 204:
Me: ::Sobbing:: Yes we're fine, I'm just scared. BOLD LIE.
911: Well everything is going to be fine but I have a few questions... Is the deer still there? Is it still alive?
Sidebar: I don't know the rules in this state. Is this broad supposed to have a gun? Are you allowed to kill a deer? Are we an accessory to a murder? Am I still alive? because this feels like hell.
Me: ::Still sobbing:: She's across the road but she's hurt.
She proceeds to ask me a few questions I knew I needed Frankie for so I asked her to please hold as I began to look for him. Unbeknownst to me, the deer was not yet dead. At the exact same time I turn around (I later find out I witnessed the 5th shot, yes 5TH!) a shot was fired at the deer which was the one final blow to end it all. The legs kick out, a pool of blood appears, I die inside.
BEGIN Panic Level 1,894:
Let's paint the picture further...
I am alone in a car with flies now swarming, blood, hair and deer guts all over the front windshield. I'm on hold with the police asking questions I can't answer. I just saw a sweet baby get murdered.
Frankie walks back to the car and looks in at me...
Sidebar: I had just hiked, hadn't eaten, was covered in sweat and dirt and looked nothing like this physically.
Frankie: ::Looks at me:: OH MY GOD. I told you not to look!
Me: ::Uncontrollable sobs and incoherent rambles:: I thought it was over!
Hands him the phone to talk to said dispatcher, places head in lap and cries...
So how did it all end you ask?
He was able to pull the fender off the tire (with a baseball bat) and we were able to drive VERY SLOWLY AND QUIETLY 55 miles to the next town. We held hands and said a prayer for the deer in an effort to calm me down. In about a half hour later I stopped crying and regained consciousness. We proceeded to get a police report, stopped in 1 of 2 restaurants in this small town of 1,248 people where the Jack on the rocks I immediately ordered was $3.50. Although Frankie asked the bartender if they had any venison burgers (still not funny or something I ever want to eat and I almost cried again) very long story short, the car was fine to drive with some tugging and the trip was back on.
In the end, I was gone for almost 3 weeks, passed through 7 states, saw endless beauty in my own country I never even knew existed and ended in LA looking for Leo, naturally. Not kidding.
What did I learn on this trip?
1. Deer are pretty ballsy and ruthless.
2. I am HORRENDOUS and completely unreliable at a murder scene.
3. Road trips are an excellent way to test your resilience and strength. I started the trip looking for nothing but an escape and a shred of clarity the situation I had been dealing with. I ended the trip with a bazillion memories, probably shed more tears than the deer but laughed just as much and took enough pictures and gained enough stories to last a lifetime.
LIFE EXPERIENCES & GRATITUDE: That's what it's all about.
Aw, well who doesn't love a happy ending
(Still sorry, my deer.)
Until next time.
Love you more than pizza
Ps. Here's some pics from my fave places.
Nothing in Nebraska.
Badlands, South Dakota. Picture does it NO justice.
Red Rocks, Colorado. Again, picture does it NO justice.
Mt. Evans, Colorado. Um, maybe 10,000ft up? (We went up to 14,000 and I could barely breathe) No guardrails on this road and we went through a hail storm to get here.
Mt. Evans, Goliath Park. Colorado.
Arches National Park, Utah. SO unreal.
ANDDDD CUT! End Scene.