Off the Map Week 10: Turning the corner

What seemed like a powerful dust devil at first now had the look of a small explosion. A quarter-mile down the road, a column of dust swirled and billowed up from behind a blind corner. The posted Nevada speed limit was around 70mph, but Iím grateful that I decelerated ahead of time, because once I came around the corner I had to slam on the brakes immediately. Scattered across the road for the next hundred feet were satellite dishes, shovels, cables and a trail of electronic debris that led to a severely mauled pickup truck. It lay perpendicular to the road, with axles bent and fluid leaking from underneath the hood.

Then I saw the driver. A young, Hispanic kid staggered out of the wreckage and collapsed on the side of the road. I pulled over and jumped out. This truck had passed me a half-hour earlier, in a hurry to get from the Jarbridge Mountains back to civilization. I was surprised to see that it had come to rest on its tires, because there were skid marks and gouges in the asphalt to indicate that the truck had hit the sandy shoulder, flipped, and barrel-rolled at least three times before coming to rest in the middle of the road.

I ran to the driver and asked if he was all right.†† Blood dotted his forehead and shoulder, but he sat up, holding his forehead and pointed back at the truck, saying that we should probably turn off that engine. Indeed, a puddle of fluid lay below the vehicle, and the truck was idling loudly. This might not be good.

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