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January 14, 2013: Bad Weather and Driving

And so, we’ve had a run of warmer weather. But along with this, we’ve experienced the worst kind of precipitation of all – rain and snow mixed. Ugh. Sad to say, the worst is yet to come. The water and ice that has come to coat all outside flat surfaces will undoubtedly soon freeze. After all, it’s only January – we have three months of winter left. The temperature is going to drop, and heads are gonna roll. Right now, the underlying layers of ice are making for treacherous going.

I left for town today at 11 a.m. I’d agreed to meet with my friend Dawn; we were to have lunch together. I suspected that the

drive down Buffalo Mine Road (which leads to the Glenn Highway, which leads to town) might be challenging. I deliberated. I could go into town with Pete who was going to school and had him drop me off, or I could have stayed home. I finally decided to brave the potentially bad conditions since Dawn and I had agreed to meet, but because of bad weather, had cancelled a previous get together. Plus, it was not then raining. And the temperature was well above freezing.

A mile into it, and I realized that I had inadvertently made the wrong decision. But I could not go back because I was afraid to attempt to turn around. The side roads also looked slick. BMR has numerous twists and turns, and at the same time, several up and downs. It’s narrow and windy. The plow had preceded me, but not the grader or dump truck. (Dump trucks unload sand.) Two miles into it, and Sputnik (that’s the name of the truck) began fish tailing. Then we hit a particularly slick spot. I turned the steering wheel from side-to-side in an attempt to keep the truck on the road. (I mean, wasn’t this the best place for it?)

I have to say, I got lucky. If I’d been going a hair faster or in the wrong gear, I would now be telling a different story. (For those of you who like hardship tales, I am sorry, I don’t have one to tell today.) Ever notice how time stops when you are involved in an accident? The pitter patter of your mind suddenly ceases and like creek water overflow, new ones rush in. You then ask yourself: Am I okay? Is my vehicle okay? And, if say, you end up in berm or ditch, you then additionally ask, am I going to get this thing moving again or am I going to have to call a tow truck? And if you don’t have a cell phone to call the tow truck, you next ask, who does? And that appointment or commitment – somehow, you have to find a way to cancel it.

I didn’t want to have to be having to come up with answers to any of the above, so I began going even more slowly, which of course irritated the driver behind me – but hey, what can you do?

Mile three – more fishtailing – I turned off the radio and began breathing – one long inhale, three short exhales. Then, when I came around yet another corner, I saw ahead, first flashing lights, and then the road grader. I had been going slow, but now went even slower. I noticed that there was one car ahead of me, and now three behind. I noticed that there were sparks arcing underneath the grader – I was glad that I wasn’t behind it, and that right now, the odds of those sparks setting off a fire are nearly non-existent.

Mile Two – we passed Mike’s Road, and from there it was smooth sailing, since this portion of the road had been plowed. I later speculated that perhaps it’s because two surgeons live at the far end, and the powers that be have been alerted to the fact that they need to have the road cleared. And Pete speculated that the road had been cleared because the gravel trucks travel on it – someone from the company had perhaps made a call.

No matter. I got down to the mailboxes and the line of cars that had piled up behind me passed. I checked the mail – as I was getting back in Sputnik Pete, coming from the other direction, pulled into the turnoff. He said school had been cancelled. So, we decided to park Sputnik, and go into town together, which was what we did.

Later, once we were back home, we took Hrimmi and Siggi for a walk, and then took Tinni and Signy for a ride. Our roads were just fine – they’d been plowed, graded, and sanded. It was a beautiful later afternoon ride – the low lying sun lit up the mountains – they were pink and white. Then, to our left, we saw it, a rainbow.

I look for signs of good luck, both conceivable and inconceivable. Doesn’t matter to me, I’ll take what I can get. This rainbow, it was not indicating that good luck was ahead, but rather that good luck was behind. It seemed to me to be saying –acknowledge that today, fate was on your side.

Next: 15. 1/15/13: Pack, Pedal, and Paddle: Another Trip Option