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|Dodge Challenger Dream Drive: Day 4|
|Written by Rich Truesdell|
|Friday, 25 April 2008 05:34|
370 Miles: Moab, Utah, to West Wendover, Nevada
Day four turned out to be far more eventful than anticipated. First, we had to contend with snow on the leg from Price, Utah, to Salt Lake City. Next, Buzz Graves, the owner of the 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T Hemi flew in to join us at Larry H. Miller Dodge in Salt Lake City, where we were met by many members of the Salt Lake City Mopar community, who also braved the snow to caravan with us in their musclecars to West Wendover, Nevada. Then, along the way we encountered a life and death situation on I-80.
The day started out with the now-obligatory late start; we had hoped to be moving west by 8:30 but it was not to be. Due to our inability to get a reliable Internet connection, we had to postpone our departure by an hour. After encountering snow at elevation west of Price, Utah, we arrived at Larry H. Miller (the guy who owns the Utah Jazz basketball team and a mega car dealer) Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep in Sandy. We were welcomed with open arms by parts advisor Steve Hinckley, who came out in force with more than two dozen Mopar enthusiasts.
Not only that, but thanks to the cooperation of the Sandy Police Department (who blocked off a busy street at rush hour), and with the help of Karl Krohn (who arrived with his supercharged Dodge Charger police car), we were able to get stills and video of our new Challenger in an O. J. Simpson-style low-speed chase.
Afterwards, we caravanned west with Steve's 1969 four-speed Dodge Polara two-door hardtop, along with Mike McCoy in a purple 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T Hemi, Joe Bond in a Sublime 1970 Dodge Challenger 440 Six Pack, and John Bechard in a 1971 Plymouth Road Runner Hemi, all who braved near-freezing temperatures and snow showers.
By the time we reached I-80 west, the skies cleared and we were able to get some spectacular shots bounded by the Great Salt Lake. Images of all the participating Salt Lake City Mopars can be found in our running blog over at blog.cardomain.com.
As dusk approached and we were finishing up shooting on I-80 with the Great Salt Lake in the background, we encountered a horrific one-car wreck that unfolded right before us! Apparently the rear axle snapped on a Ford Explorer, sending it cart-wheeling six times before ending up in a ditch along the side of the road. Thankfully Buzz had brought along George Gubler, a former Oregon Highway Marshal, who immediately began assisting at the scene before help arrived.
It was around 40 degrees Fahrenheit and the driver, who had crawled from the overturned wreckage, had already lost a great deal of blood from a severe foot injury. Calmly George called 911 and was instructed on how to stop the bleeding and apply proper pressure. The driver seemed to be going into shock but remained conscious as we all tried to settle him down and keep him warm with blankets. Even though we were in a relatively remote stretch of I-80 80 miles east of Wendover, the EMTs arrived within 10 minutes and fully stabilized the situation.
The Utah Highway Patrol called in to the University of Utah medical center for an airlift and closed down I-80 so that the driver could be evacuated. From the time of the accident to the point when the chopper departed the scene, less than 45 minutes had elapsed. It was almost 11 pm by the time we arrived in West Wendover and pulled into the Wendover Nugget Hotel and Casino (which now has broadband Internet access), and had a well-deserved steak dinner where we all toasted George -- who by all accounts, had saved the man's life.
Once we get on the road today, we'll call the University of Utah Medical Center to get an update on his condition, but overall, we considered it an exceptional day.