One of my greatest fears at reenactment events is making the drive home and not falling asleep at the wheel. Many times I have come back from events dead-tired and was very lucky to survive the drive home.
This was my biggest concern this year going to Dade Battlefield, because I am four hours away in driving time. It is a holiday weekend, so I do not get off work from the park until late in the afternoon, and sometimes not until nightfall. Then I have to be back at work at 7:30 a.m. Monday morning. At Dade Battlefield, I get very little sleep because of all that goes on at night. Some of the nighttime activities are very fun and interesting, and it is one of the few times during the year to visit with our friends. So I am lucky to get 4 hours of sleep a night at Dade. Often by the time of the battle on Sunday, I fall asleep on the field waiting for the battle to start. So as you can imagine, the long drive home Sunday night is what I fear the most.
Last night one of our rangers was in a serious car accident. She was driving up to north Florida for training. She is a good driver and none of the accident was her fault. She was dealt a bad hand of fate, as someone plowed into the back of her car, sending it into a ditch and rolling several times. The car was totaled, but fortunately she was wearing her seat belt and is alive, but not without injuries and in a lot of pain. She was hanging upside down in the car for thirty minutes until either someone saw the accident, or help arrived. I can only imagine this is probably one of the scariest things she has ever been through.
I was thinking that could have happened to me too. How many times have I driven towards an event or my parent’s house late at night, and could have the same thing happen to me? So it is a pretty somber reminder of what could happen on the roadway coming or going from events.
I have wanted to go to Fort Cooper for a long time, and hope to go in March. But because of the distance, I will make it a four day event, and sleep in a motel near the park on Sunday night so I can get a good night’s sleep before driving home the next day. And that is why when I use to go to Westville, why I would take four days for that one too.
Maybe next year at Dade I will get a room for Friday and Saturday. Especially if I have to work that Friday and the next Monday. It is just not worth risking my life and not getting sleep at the event.