It starts out as another normal day on the road. We have a nice short drive planned; about 3 hours or so down to San Quintin. We're already dreaming of the crab we'd planned on having for Thanksgiving dinner when we come across a jeep stopped in the middle of the highway. I have to brake pretty hard to avoid running into him and the first thought through my head is, “I sure hope there's nobody behind me”. I check the rear view and see a small van at the top of the hill but think, “Surely he's far enough away...he'll see that we're stopped.” As I get ready to go around the jeep I check the mirror again just in time to see that van from the top of the hill about two feet from our bumper. There's no squealing brakes or screeching tires, he hits us at full speed. The next few hours are kind of a blur.
First off, Natasha, Malta and I are all fine. The man driving the small delivery van that ran into us has his wife and three children with him. The children are hysterical but fine, as is the driver. The wife is stuck in the car, has a head injury and seems to have a broken leg.
Local police, ambulances, and fire trucks all show up very quickly considering how remote the area is. They have to use the jaws of life to get the woman out of the van. The front of the van is flattened. As a testament to Four Wheel Camper and Ford trucks, there's amazingly little damage to our rig. The firemen are all very concerned with the fluid leaking out of the back of our camper. I reassure at least four of them that it's just agua.
Natasha and I are both freaking out. We really have no idea what to do. We're terrified for the woman stuck in the van, we speak almost no Spanish, have no idea what the procedures for this kind of thing are, and don't even really know what the closest town is. Luckily, an overlander named Benjy stops to see if we need help. He gets on the phone with a friend of his named Rafa who lives here and speaks Spanish. He speaks with the local cop and does some translation for us. He let's me know that the Federales will be taking over the matter and that I should call our insurance company right away. Benjy hangs out for a while longer until a Canadian couple and their son also stop to see if we need help. There names are Dawn, Andrew, and Anthony and they are a godsend. It turns out that they live about ten minutes away and work for a humanitarian relief organization called Live Different. They call a local guy named Felipe who works with them to come down and translate. After what seems like hours of standing around in the cold on the side of the road, we all pack up and drive to the Federale station in San Quintin where the insurance adjusters from our respective companies meet us and everything gets worked out. The other driver is found to be at fault and his insurance will pay for repairs to our truck and camper. He is very nice and apologetic. We find out that his wife is at the hospital but is ok.
All things considered we are incredibly lucky it isn't any worse than it was. We can still drive the truck until we can get to a repair shop and no one is seriously injured. Andrew and Dawn invite us to stay with them. They have sort of a small compound of rented houses they use for groups who come down to build houses and schools, and they offer us one for the night. It's an excellent reminder that there are great people out there in the world who will drop everything they're doing to help a complete stranger. It can be easy to forget sometimes.