Sunday, November 25, 2012

Car crashes and letterboxing in Buffalo, New York

Summary of my recent letterboxing trip to Buffalo, NY: lots of great letterboxes, and a banged up car.

For reasons other than letterboxing, I went down to Buffalo to catch a flight to Key West in mid-October.  I decided this was the perfect opportunity to go and nab some of the many (many!) non-event letterboxes that exist down in the City of Good Neighbours.

So, with clues in hand, off I went.  I have to say, the first couple of clues took me, via GPS, to areas that I wasn't exactly comfortable getting out of my car.  So those were automatically skipped.  I was probably overreacting, but I was down in another country on my own and wasn't getting good vibes being on my own in those areas.  Had I had a fellow boxer with me, or even a mediocre noxer, I probably would have tried them.

Anyways, I made my way over to Ronald McDonald's House, by Papa Shengo, and made a quick find near this building.  It's a beautiful old property - I know there are RM Houses in Canada as well, never saw them, but if this is the standard for those charities than I'm really impressed.  This letterbox was really cute, I liked the stamp, but it was getting a little soggy.  Dried it out and got back on my way...

Next up was Nickel City, at a delicious cheese shop.  I love cheese.  LOVE cheese.  It was torture going into this cute shop and not buying out the store.  What could I possibly do with all this cheese, flying the next day to Florida as it were.  Must go back.  GreatBigSabres did a great job on the hide on this one and the shopkeeper seemed bemused watching me while I stamped in. Great carve and I picked up a HH as well...

Give Blood, Give Life was next - exactly where it said it was.  I notice with a lot of the clues in NY that references to things like "pine" or "cedar" or the like are just generic references to anything evergreen.  This one for instance said to find the box under pine needles... but it's at the bottom of a cedar with no pines to be seen anywhere around.  *shrug* I knew what they were getting at ;)

I did some shopping in between here... I filled my car with lots of wonderful things to outfit my new apartment in Toronto.  I was going to be across the border for enough time that it was very much worth it to get some purchases in to take back with me.  Good times.  My credit card company loves me.

Anyways, moving on to my big list of boxes, I got to only two more, Life Memorial Park and Babeville.  Life Memorial Park had one of the coolest in-bush hides I've seen, but was unfortunately botched by a previous boxer who thought it would be a great idea to force a HH in a box that it clearly did not fit in and than not reclose it properly and leave it to the elements.  That wasn't very responsible.  I'm trying not to rant too hard here, but that's really inconsiderate.   Grr.  And then Babeville.  And then car accident.

I've never been in a car accident before.  There I was, on a clear day, going about 70 km/h, approaching an intersection that I would be going straight through with a green light.  In the opposite direction, in the left hand turn lane, someone stopped waiting to make the left after I get through the intersection.  And just as I got to the intersection, tries to make the left in front of me.  Slammed on the breaks, plowed right into is front right corner.  Pushed his whole car back a bit.

Anyways.  I really was freaked out, not just because of the accident, but I was all by myself in another country and I really have no idea what the rules are for accidents in NY.  In Ontario, if the damages look under $500, you just exchange info and go on your merry way.  Typical deductibles in Ontario mean that none of these go through your insurance anyway, particularly because everything is no-fault.  If it's over $500, you call the collision centre who comes out and makes a report. But what does $500 worth of damage look like? And what if the rules are different here?

So, to be careful, the police were called (who showed up really quickly and dealt with it fast - I was really impressed).  The damage to the other guy's car was significant - I crushed his front end.  The damage to my car - at least from the outside - looked negligible.  If I was going to have to pay to fix it, I wouldn't have.

But in NY, I found out, tort law applies still, so I did not even have to pay the deductible on my insurance to get the somewhat minor appearing damage to my car completely repaired - the US insurer covered mine.  The other guy was at fault because he made a left in front of me in an intersection where I had the right of way.

Once I got back to have the car assessed by my insurer, I became pretty impressed with my car (which, as anyone who knows me knows, I'm not really fond of).  Although the damage was minor on the outside, I completely wrecked this piece inside that is meant to take the impact.  It was obliterated - protecting both me and the rest of my car.  That piece was replaced and I'm really impressed with the build of my car now.  Food for thought for the few boxers who travel with me in my car from time to time ;)

Anyways.  The accident freaked me out so bad that I called it quits for the day.  I didn't stop shaking until I met up with a friend in Buffalo and had a stiff drink (or two).  Also, funny note: I always forget how strict Americans are about drinking.  I haven't been carded in Canada for years (drinking age Ontario: 19).  But every time I go out for something in the states, carded.  And I forgot my driver's license & passport at my friend's apartment when we went out.  Nice soul nevertheless served me. (I'd been denied alcohol before when I've forgotten my ID.)

Happy trails and keep your eyes on those left hand turners!


  1. So tell us the make of this life-saving automobile!

    1. It's my delightful 2006 Sonata. Which I will now be keeping for a long time.

  2. Wow, this is exactly what I have been worried about and it happened to you. I've thought about going over to Buffalo in the summer but the possibility of an accident worried me too much. Glad to hear that it worked out so well for you. No health issues or hospital bills either....that's fantastic.

    1. Ack! Don't use this as a reason to not go Buffalo-boxing! This could have just as easily happened in Ontario. There are lovely boxes to be found and lots of safe streets to drive down - go for it!

  3. Drunk driving is a common cause of road accidents in America, which is why they have strict laws for it. They also have a rigorous process for personal injury cases like those involving car accidents. Each aspect is carefully analyzed to determine which party is innocent and which party is at fault.

  4. I hate being involved in an accident while in another place where I’m not aware of how specific laws are treated. It’s a good thing that the law was on your favor, and that nothing serious happened in spite of the trauma that it brought you. That car of yours is your savior. =)