My Northern Wisconsin

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+--- Category: Off the Road Again (
+--- Topic: THE JOURNEY INTERRUPTED (/thread-337.html)

THE JOURNEY INTERRUPTED - My Northern Wisconsin - 06-27-2023

Written by:  Sandy Onchuck

This is a continuation of the story, The Journey Begins.


It was late morning on April 29, 1973.  The weather was perfect.  As Dennis was driving along enjoying the scenery and mulling over in his mind the adventure awaiting him, his world came to a crashing change.  He was just a few miles east of Grand Prairie, Alberta, Canada when suddenly he thought his vehicle was exploding.  Initially, he had no clue what had happened.  Even after he managed to kick the passenger door open and walk around the car he had no clue.


Then suddenly, within a few seconds after exiting his vehicle, a car speeded up behind him, and the people excitedly jumped out yelling, "Are you okay?  Are you okay?”  They pointed back down the road.


About half a mile away was a blue smashed-up vehicle they said had rear-ended him.  They had witnessed the whole crash.  They told Dennis the driver of the other car had passed them at an extremely high rate of speed before slamming into Dennis.  It had happened so fast that Dennis never saw the guy coming up behind him.  The above-left picture was taken from where Dennis’ Pontiac finally stopped.

Within a short time, ambulances came screaming to the scene to haul all the victims to the ER in Grand Prairie.  Dennis only had minor injuries, but the other fellows were not so lucky.  Dennis never did learn the extent of their injuries, only that they were critical.


From the hospital ER in Grand Prairie, Dennis wrote these words in his journal, "It is 1:15 PM, April 29, 1973, and my trip and 1937 Pontiac has come to an end.  I was hit from behind so hard I thought my time had come."  He would later be told by RCMP that the guy was VERY drunk and driving around 100 MPH.

Most of us would have abandoned the dream right there and caught a bus for home.  NOT Dennis.  Some would say "coincidently," but I say "providentially," a former flight instructor, knowing Dennis would be traveling through Canada, had given him the name, address, and phone number of his relatives that lived in Beaver Lodge, Alberta.  HOW AMAZING is that?  A 3,200-mile journey and Dennis' accident was within 40 miles of Beaver Lodge.  He called these precious people, Jeannie and Dewey Reuckert, and they came and got him from the hospital.

They pulled his wrecked Pontiac back to their farm and graciously housed and took care of Dennis for a couple of weeks.  Dennis was never one to take advantage of anyone's hospitality, and having been raised on a farm was a big help to Dewey during this time.  Despite his bruises and neck brace, he picked rocks off the field, hauled grain to the elevator, and fixed fences.  The Reuckerts became lifelong friends with several visits back and forth through the years.


This story can be shared on Facebook at this link.

Stay tuned for the next story, "Dennis’ Pig Lot Purchase," coming soon to Off the Road Again on My Price County / My Northern Wisconsin.