Nathan Hudson, frontman of Sydney indie rockers Faker, has walked away from a car crash in New Mexico. According to Hudson’s personal blog, he lost control of his 1994 BMW on an icy road and flipped it over the guard rail. You can read Hudson’s full blog post down below, and check out the photos of his badly damaged car.
The accident took place in the (real) City of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, which won it’s name when a radio quiz show called Truth or Consequences held a competition to broadcast its 10th anniversary show from the first city willing to change it’s name to match theirs.
In his post, Hudson points out that not only the city’s name is foreboding and ominous: horror writer Stephen King holds a key to the city, the city hosts an annual Stephen King day on 19th November and the city was once home to a serial killer who murdered roughly 60 women at the turn of the century.
Detailing the accident, Hudson notes that his car began to slide, and after he tried to correct it, it continued to spin and then hit the barrier separating the two lanes. Even from the photos it’s clear that Hudson had luck on his side – his BMW is almost completely trashed. In his blog post he even pays personal thanks to his seat belt.
Faker’s last release was 2011’s Get Loved, which the band released for free online. Yet in a previous blog post, before the car accident, Hudson admitted: “The road, called and I’ve answered. I think Faker is over. I can’t really tell, but I’m not answering the call of being in a band at the moment. It’s definitely liberating not to be a band-mate wrangler for the first time, kind-of-ever.”
Check out Nathan Hudson’s complete blog post below, it’s a great read.
A Place To Crash – Part 1
There were a few other blog entries I was hoping to get through detailing other aspects of my trip, all before this New Mexico one, but a few things have happened in the last couple of weeks that have pushed it ahead to the front of the queue.
First of all, I’m safe, sound and with good people.
A couple of weeks ago my car and I were in an accident due to some very sudden and unexpected weather. Icy weather. Nobody was injured. There was something in the neighborhood of another seven separate accidents on the same stretch of road during that particular 1 or 2 hour time period. I’m alive, and (miraculously) apart from a few bumps and bruises physically fine… Weirdly, I have all of my luggage. My car and bicycle however, were completely destroyed.
The night prior I had been staying in Placitas, New Mexico, with the lovely Kevin and Janice; parents to Will, with whom I had the pleasure of playing music earlier this year. Kevin and Janice welcomed me with a much needed dose of family energy just as the real cold had (already) started to set in.
I’d arrived in the evening from Santa Fe to meet Will’s parents on the advice that they would be kind enough to put me up (this I should point out, was our first meeting). We had a great dinner, I played some music, and we chatted about my trip. It was fantastic to see how much Will takes after his Dad, and to see the thoughtfulness that he clearly gets from his folks, first hand.
I’m also gonna come out and say that I got a pretty serious and immediate canine-crush on one of their 4 dogs. Meeting Arlo their newest dog, was pretty life-changing. It made me decide that it would be time for me to take in a pup when this adventure finds me a home.
We spent quite a bit of time discussing my route through New Mexico in light of the fairly treacherous weather that was developing. It made sense that going into the mountains was not a good idea and that the roads there might even be closed anyway. I’d also found out later in the conversation that some friends from California would be heading to El Paso, Texas (below the southern-most tip of New Mexico). I procrastinated a lot on this decision, even by my standards.
Should I go East a bit then around the mountains to Roswell? East and straight on to Austin and maybe miss my friends? Or down south also around the mountains and into the desert stopping by a town called ‘Truth or Consequences’ (yes, all three words) to head on to El Paso through Las Cruces?
By the morning it seemed to make sense to scoot by Albuquerque and head south, away from the ice and into the desert. At this stage, I believe, the most extreme weather patterns were active in Phoenix, AZ (rather than NM) according to the moving weather maps that you could look at online.
After a slow morning (my favorite kind), I decided the I25 to El Paso it would be, said thanks and farewell to Kevin and Janice, who wished me good luck. I was back on the road.
I stopped a few times as I was heading out of town, feeling a little as though I’d forgotten something, or that there was something I hadn’t yet gotten from New Mexico. I stopped in Albuquerque at Sprouts (a whole-foods-type store) to get some herbal headache ointment for a headache which had been plaguing me on and off for about a week or so, and of course to procrastinate a little more.
I took a real long time at Sprouts looking at things that I may or may not have needed (par for the course for me in this kind of shop really). I got some healthy snacks and then went back to the car. I set up my computer to play my friend Jen’s mixtape (a really cool gift called, because) because it hadn’t downloaded to my phone yet. I felt better about heading South.
I got onto the I25 eager to get away from the cold and ice. Somewhere in the midst of this I’d done a walk around of the car and everything looked pretty good.
I still felt as though I’d missed something in New Mexico, as I’d driven mostly to and from places during the night-time or with low stormy skies. The place is referred to (on its billboards and signs) as “The Enchanted State”, I wanted to know what this was about – I’m pretty sure it’s not just because some of the movie Outrageous Fortune was filmed here. It’s also known for some spooky stuff, especially around Roswell, White Sands, and the old Atom Bomb test site.
As you drive down the I25 (a fairly big, well traveled freeway) through New Mexico, you can pretty consistently see mountain ranges to your left (for me on this occasion, outlines of these mountain ranges were rather obscured by the weather).
I drove and sang along to songs to which I did and didn’t know the words. I noticed the weather clearing up quite remarkably on my stretch of road. I also noticed at one point about 50 miles down the road, the storm to my left seemed to clear as the mountains lowered, and the sunshine seemed quite specifically to offer me a path East. I wanted to go there. Bad. But, I kept on driving.
Another 20 miles or so, I decided to pull into Socorro and get some cheap gas. It wasn’t as cheap as I’d thought it would be and actually sat in the parking lot of the gas station for a good 5 to 10 minutes deliberating over whether or not I’d have enough in the tank to make it to T or C (this is how locals refer to the town Truth or Consequences). In the end I decided I wanted to go straight to the Chevron right near Elephant Butte Lake in T or C and get some gas there. I definitely had at least 70 miles left in the BMW for that.
I drove. I listened to music. I sang along to Adalita’s Blue Sky (a fantastic getaway song) as the sky itself appeared to be turning from grey to blue.
About 40 miles after Socorro the music changed and it started getting icy again. I started thinking about the ominous name of Truth or Consequences, and how I’d been informed that this town (formerly called Hot Springs) had won it’s name during the 50’s when a radio quiz show held a competition saying that it would hold it’s 10th anniversary broadcast from the first city or town willing to change it’s name to match the show. Hot Springs voted and changed it’s name way back in April Fools Day of 1950. As they say… the rest is history.
There’s a little more. Stephen King holds a key to the city (of 7,000 people) and the city holds an annual Stephen King day every November 19. A Virgin Galactic Spaceport has been built and is about to open up close by (about 20 miles). As I was to discover a little later, T or C was also formerly home to a particularly vile serial killer, suspected of torturing and murdering about 60 women just before the turn of the century. Many bodies never found.
I made some quip to myself about what Truth or Consequences might mean to me, and that I’d probably find out when I got there.
It was at this point that I begun descending into a canyon. I was quite stunned by the beauty of it. It seemed in a matter of seconds to have turned again from a cold spring day into an icy winter wonderland. As I came upon a small bridge at the base of the hill I was gliding down, I noticed the texture of the road change quite dramatically.
I’m colour blind. During World War II apparently it was common to send people who were colour-blind up in planes to spot camouflage because they’d see the fabric texture rather than be confused by the blending colours (*Australian spelling). It felt like that. It was suddenly just a different road.
My car had started to slide to the right. If I’d gone over the right-side guard rail, I would have gone right down (way way down) into the canyon or ravine, or whatever it was.
Instinctively (I guess), I pulled the car to the left. After the small strip of bridge there was another lane and a wider gap between the road and the centre guard rail. After almost having corrected the car to a better place (I’d thought), I started spinning and sliding toward that centre guard rail.
On impact with the rail, there was a sound of crushing that indicated I was at a point of no return. My car was flipping.
I found myself trying to calculate what could happen here. The concepts of death and physical injury sat brashly at the forefront of my mind. And so did everything that I’d learnt in falling practice while climbing (I’m a passionate climber); hold on while you can, and go with it where you can.
Beyond flipping the guard rail, the car seemed to turn again, perhaps even a couple of times, as it traveled down the road. I felt like I was in the spin cycle. I held tight.
There was pain or an anticipation of pain, and suddenly, I’d arrived. It was still and quiet. Not unlike Dorothy landing in Oz after riding the tornado in her beloved farmhouse, I was now upside down in my presumably no-longer-useful car.
My legs felt OK. My upper body and head were feeling a little knocked around. That’s how gravity works, right? Safe in the centre, all Raggedy Andy on the outside.
The driver’s window to my right was open. It didn’t occur to me that it had exploded open during the flight; it was just there, a new space, and the gap was small and seemed to be getting smaller. I climbed.
There was a slight snag, my legs were caught. I fished around and figured out how to undo my seatbelt. Thank you, seatbelt. So much.
I emerged from the overturned wreckage. Scrambled up to my feet. Everything felt… intact. I could feel some gravel and ice over my arms and hair. I turned back toward the vehicle and jumped a few steps as I saw smoke and/or steam rising from the overturned engine. It was really upside down. My white 1994 BMW was a perfect wreck in the snow.
My belongings were everywhere. I grabbed my computer (still lit up) from the far side of the road, wiped the ice from it, and grabbed the backpack it goes in. Then I stepped back over the rail where I caught sight of my wallet sitting pretty in the middle of the road. I lunged for it. It had all of my identification.
I felt my pocket. No phone.
I began grabbing a few other things, still aware of the steaming upside down car, and feeling slightly confused and aimless. What do you salvage? I noticed the front passenger-side tire of the car was missing. I suspected that it had hooked itself to the guard rail as the B flew over, but I couldn’t see it anywhere.
My BMX, which had been attached to the trunk of the car was a long ways back down the road. It was well before where the car had landed and somehow it had fused to the guard rail.
I scanned the area and saw a car or two coming down the road I’d landed on. I couldn’t fathom anything about them, just that they were there and they were pulling up a little way past me.
I continued collecting my stuff, I could see evidence of what had happened in all directions; debris, my things, gravel and ice.
When my bicycle had been pulled from the car, it had ripped the trunk open along with it and my main suitcase had flown out. I saw my camera in the icy gravel. I picked it up and as ridiculous as this might seem (it felt ridiculous), I took some pictures of the car and the surrounding area. I could tell it was going to be dark soon.
A small gentleman (who strangely reminded me of a Mexican flower seller I’d taken a picture of a few years earlier in LA) was coming toward me. Less colourful. He was trying to ascertain where the victim was. I told him that there was nobody else, just me, that I’d been driving. Nobody was injured, not really.
He looked just as confused as I was and after scanning the area for some piece of information that would alleviate his confusion he said that he needed to go back to be with his family and kids. He said that somebody had called the police, and then he checked again to see if I was OK. Before he left he asked if he could say a prayer with me (or I guess for me). I said yes. Sure.
He held my hand and led a prayer saying thank you for my survival and asked God to keep me safe. He offered me Jesus, and I stumbled at that. I offered him a hug, and we did. Then he went back to his car.
As I began to drag everything toward my main suitcase in the ice, some more people arrived. I saw cars and people asking who was in there (or where the victim was). It was just me, I told them. Nobody was injured.
I don’t know how ‘present’ I was a this stage, in felt the cold and darkness was close by. I had some kind of unfathomable work to do. It was still light though, and with the faces I saw people and that felt hopeful
I kept shuffling my stuff in the snow… Going about my work.
To be continued (thankfully)…
Photos from Nathan Hudson.