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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Day Thirteen of Our Lincoln Highway Road Trip

Up at 6:00 am and greeted by another day of rain, Ugh! Nothing we can do about the rain so we just have to do the best we can and take photos when we can.

We were off on the Lincoln Highway heading west through Illinois. The Illinois DOT has done a great job of marking the Lincoln Highway. They have the little red, white and blue signs marking every turn in the road. Sometimes we wondered where the road was taking us as we wound through little towns and roads that were barely paved.

We found most of the landmarks we were looking for and some murals andFXP_9160 plaques describing the history of the road. These signs were contained in little gazebos along the road. This was good as we were able to avoid the rain when taking the photos.

In a little town called Franklin Grove we found the headquarters for the Lincoln Highway Association. We spent about an hour there talking with the woman, Lynn Asp, in charge of things. Lynn could not stop talking and related the entire history of the town and the highway in Illinois. Of course we bought some Lincoln Highway souvenirs and a few books.

After our time in the store we walked across the street to the little café for lunch. The café is a family run affair and the food was good and very inexpensive. Most of the locals were there eating lunch. We had a good lunch and were back on the road again. Things were going great. And then disaster struck.

We were driving west on Gap Road, the Lincoln Highway, when we approached a badly marked ninety degree turn to the right. I did not navigate the turn well and went into a skid, smashed through the guard rail and went down the embankment. We were not hurt and the air bags did not deploy but the van was in bad shape.

Fortunately a local volunteer fireman was passing by and used his phone to contact the police and a tow truck. About five minutes later another couple stopped to see if they could help. They were all extremely nice and helpful.

It took about twenty minutes for the tow truck to arrive from the city ofDSCN2815 Dixon and another ten for the Lee County deputy sheriff to arrive. Once the deputy arrived and got all of our information the tow truck operator pulled the van onto the flat bed tow truck and we sat with the deputy and gave him all of the information. The guard rail was badly damaged and so was the van. The deputy did not cite us, which was good.

After finishing with the deputy Kathy and climbed into to tow truck and we were off to Dixon Auto Body Clinic. I now had to contact Encompass Insurance to file a claim. This took about a half hour on the phone answering a million questions. I finally got a claim number, but I had a problem arranging for a rental car. The claims agent wanted me to contact Enterprise in Sterling, but they were out of business. He did not have the Enterprise rental agency in Dixon on his list and told me to rent the car and save the receipts for reimbursement latter. I did not like this so I contacted my Encompass agent in Irvine, CA and had her call the claims people.

Lowell Ward at Dixon Auto Body looked at the car and ran a rough estimate. They would have to replace the right front fender panel, hood, lights, radiator, and bumper. Also the right from tie rod was damaged so it would have to be replaced. He came up with a preliminary estimate of $5,700. The van’s Blue Book value with its mileage is about $7,200. Lowell thought that the insurance company would only go for about 80% of the value which meant $5,700. It would be close and I think the insurance company will total the van.

I will not know until the adjuster looks at the van and files his report, which probably won’t happen until Monday. In any case even if they fix the van it will take three weeks. This means we will have to come back to Dixon and get the van and drive it home. This is not a very attractive situation.

I was finally contacted by the Encompass claims supervisor who told me to use the local Enterprise rental agency, which we had already made arrangement to do. The Enterprise agent arrived at the body shop about an hour after we contacted the agency and brought us a vehicle. The vehicle is a Ford Excursion, one big SUV. The cost for this vehicle is $54 per day and they are not charging us a drop charge. Encompass will cover $40 per day so it will only cost us $140.00 to drive this monster home. Yes, we decided to continue the Lincoln Highway adventure and return home on October 22nd.

Kathy and I decided there was nothing we could do here so we got a motel for the night and will continue our road trip in the morning. The Ford SUV is big, but does not have the space the van has. We had to take all of luggage and stuff out of the van and transfer it to the Ford. This was not an easy task. The Ford has all of the amenities including Sirius satellite radio which means we can listen to our favorite stations including the NFL games on Sunday.

The folks at Dixon auto Body were really very helpful to us and made us feel much better. Of course I am a physiological mess as I had to leave our beloved van in Illinois and will probably never see it again. I expect the insurance company to total the van and give us a check for its value. We will then have to but another van, probably a good used Toyota Sienna van – I hope. This is the last thing I wanted to do this year.

After a good night’s rest we will be back on the road again and things will look much better in the morning. I will have a new SUV with satellite radio and GPS to continue our road trip. The weather report looks good for the next few days so hopefully my next report will be more positive.

You can see all of my pictures by clicking here. Don’t forget to click the “Slideshow” button at the upper right to view the largest image.

Till Friday night, I hope.

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