The drive is going smoothly, beautiful weather in the mountains with some grey-looking skies further on. Currently playing one of my Dad’s CD’s which I’m really digging at the moment. The cars in front of me are driving fairly slow which is a bit of a nuisance, but not worth getting worked up over.
Now the cars really slow down; brake lights in the middle of the road. This is annoying. Why? Why do you need to break for no reason? My car reaches the point where the other cars first stalled. Hell breaks loose. Niagra falls is above my car. I am under Niagra falls. Hail everywhere. Ice storm, hail storm, rain storm, the apocalypse? It was clear just a few feet back. If I step outside I will probably die. The downpour is too fast for my windshields to create a clear line of sight. Put the defrosters on full blast. Cars in front of me pull over with their emergency lights on. I do the same. Now what? Sit here until we are all trapped in a mountain of ice? What do you do in this situation? Go forward, maybe its clear up ahead. Some cars continue on, I follow. The roads are starting to freeze, no one has chains on. What happens when you drive on an icy road without chains on. Where the fuck do I get chains. I’ll pull over again and put my emergency brake on. Cars on the other side of the road going the opposite direction pull over as well, CalTrans drives by. Do I wait for a CalTrans to drive by on our side of the road? Cars continue on, I follow. My car beeps like a mad motherfucker, as if its warning me that I’m doing everything wrong. The hazard lights are on, what the fuck does that mean. What is wrong. Is my car damaged? Should I pull over again? I can’t even see if I can pull over, what if the side of the road is just the end of a mountain, a 400 foot drop. Fuck, the emergency brake. I release it, the beeping stops. Thank god. But what now. The downpour gets worse, my entire windshield is iced up and my wipers are stuck. I can’t see a thing. Everything is blurry, only a faint yellow line of the road and the lights of the oncoming cars are somewhat distinguishable from the icy shit storm that is now my window. I drive extremely slowly, breaking at every point. I can’t exactly tell what the cars behind me are doing but they are still following me. No one is in front of me. Now I’m the leader. Fuck are you kidding me I’m the leader? I’m the leader. Alright follow the leader to our fucking deaths. Maybe the emergency brake will act as a makeshift chain. I turn it on. My parents must be freaking out, actually they probably don’t know. I don’t even have cell service because we just switched plans. I can’t call anyone. I need to stick by these cars. Please don’t leave me. I need to pull over, I can’t see anything. The roads are flooding, holy shit there is a small lake in front of me. I need to keep driving, drive drive drive. There’s a somewhat flooded spot to pull into. No, mudslide or rock slide waiting to happen. I am driving into nothing and honestly have no Idea what is going to happen to me. I’m not even really freaking out though. If I were being recorded I would probably look both stressed out and confused, yet oddly expressionless, like a deer in headlights. Why am I not screaming? Oh right there’s no one here but me. God we really need people, people need people. Life is about other people being in your life and sharing moments with you. Even these moments. I could really use someone to either a) freak out with me or b) actually tell me what to do.
So this is what a flash flood is. Fun stuff.
Keep driving at a snail pace. The hail stopped but I still can’t see a thing. Windshield wipers need to be made stronger these days. Or at least start installing some lava blasters to melt all the ice that jams them. I can kind of see out of my left window. Oh my god a house, another house. An inn. These all look like the sets of horror films, why the fuck can’t there be a Holiday Inn or a Marriott or something. A gas station. A GAS STATION. Other cars, its open, cars have stopped there. Yes. I’m pulling over.
Maybe they have some liquid that will melt my windshield. The entry way of the gas station is flooded but they’re still open. Auto section, here we go. Anti-freeze, liquid stopper, oil plus… Fuck I don’t know anything. Never mind, maybe stock up on food in case I get stranded. No I’m not getting stranded I’m getting out of here. Back to the car it is. Wipe off most of the ice, turn on the car and the windshield wipers somewhat work. The rain has died down a bit now, people are driving both directions. I start the car. Just kidding it won’t start. Oh awesome.
Gas station clerk, can you help me with my car? Oh, make sure the transmission is wrapped around the coil and engaged with the receptor. Okay, yeah. Clerk’s wife is mad at me for distracting him, okay cool never mind then I guess that’s enough help. Just kidding I have no idea where the transmission is. I stand there awkwardly for 5 minutes waiting to talk to him again. She asks if I need to put in money for gas, I tell her I need help with my car. She laughs, “we know nothing”. Okay I’m on my own then.
Open up the car hood. Transmission… God there are so many lines and wires and little pipes. Green cap, I remember doing something with this when I would jump start my car in high school. Open the green cap, looks like glue or something. Close it. I can’t do shit for this car. Close the hood and hope some exchange of electrons with the air fixed the damn thing.
Turn the key, the car starts. FREEDOM.
Exit out of the gas station with a line of other cars, now there are cars in front of me and behind me. The sense of security between all of these strangers in all of these cars has never felt so great.
Reasons why I am still not an adult:
1) I checked the weather for South Lake Tahoe and not Highway 50 before embarking on this ridiculous journey.
2) I have no knowledge of road safety in a storm or blizzard.
3) I know nothing about cars, their maintenance, or how you utilize them in any situation that does not involve clear skies or a stable road.
Things I learned on this trip:
1) Life is too short.
2) Ice cream for lunch is the best thing you can do after a traumatic experience.
3) Have fun and party before the weather gods decide to bury you in snow.