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.