When I fantasize about moving away from the boring weather of southern California, where it never snows, or rains, or freezes, or does anything interesting at all, I would do well to remember this drive.

My knuckles were white on the steering wheel.  My nerves were frayed.  My jaws were clenched in concentration and exhaustion.  My eyes burned from the strain of trying to find every dangerous spot on the road and avoid it before it was too late.

I’ve driven in some weird weather before.  I’ve fought against blasting winds that raked through the desert and threatened to push me off the road.  I’ve had to put my hazards on and pray that nobody was driving recklessly behind me as I drove five miles an hour with my door open so I could see the lines of the road in an intensely thick fog.  I’ve felt the force of hail and rain lash down from the sky so fiercely that I thought my windshield would surely shatter.

This was something different…

Miles and miles of ice, from snow that had fallen and then melted and then frozen, covered the blacktop in sheets on the highway up and down the rolling mountain passes of the eastern Sierra.

I knew we were finally safe when I saw a mist rising on the horizon.  The day was warming and the ice was beginning to thin.  Soon the road would be clear.


4 thoughts on “clear

  1. Reminds me of driving across country once with some friends (well did it many times but on one occasion) and I was on a pretty empty road in the heavy rain going down hill and a semi passed my car at full speed. The semi was half way down the hill when everyone in my car just kind of stared as it was turning completely sideways, going down the hill with the trailer stretched out along the width of the road, luckily it righted itself and continued on its way. And lucky for us that we saw it happen and noticed the ice on the road in that spot so that we could slow to a crawl as we went over it.

  2. That sounds hugely stressful! I remember a drive a bit like that, which wasn’t in the ice, but in a BIG downpour, where the rain was bouncing up almost as high as it was falling down, and I (in the cabin of my BIG VAN) felt small and vulnerable and as if everything was going too fast even though everything was going quite slow. I think there was some aquaplaning and THAT was scary. BUT the sun came out and made rainbows in the spray kicking up behind the van, and that was beautiful 🙂

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