Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Slip Sliding Away

I tried several times this morning to post a photo of the sun shining through the ice on the trees. It is beautiful outside, but very cold still. Staying home is the plan for the day. I usually stay home on Thursdays because it is an art day – I may be stir crazy by Friday.

In 1990 I was driving home to RR in my 4-wheel drive Subaru from my job as a middle school teacher in Questa, NM. It was beginning to snow and the traffic coming down the canyon (lots of Questa folk work in RR) was heavy as usual. Snow was sticking to the road and fairly slick. As I reached the S curves, which climb up to RR, a car coming down the canyon was passing another car and therefore was in my lane. Although there was no panic, I must have turned my wheel and hit the brakes just enough to send my car into a slide. I slid one way, and then I slid the other, and then I went over the edge of the road and down into the trees. I went down the hill headed toward the forest thinking, "this is not good." Apparently my tire hit a rock which spun my car sideways, and I slid into the trees. I came to rest without hitting a thing other than the rock, which spun me sideways. I could not open the passenger’s door due to trees. I could not go forward or backward due to trees, but I did not hit a tree at all. It happened very fast. I got out of the car just as someone stopped on the highway above me and asked if I were okay. I was. I asked them to call Toby, and they did. He arrived quickly since his office was in RR at that time. The ambulance and other rescue vehicles also showed up about that time thinking it was a bad accident. Toby later said he felt very panicked when he saw where I had gone off the road. As he looked over the edge of the road and saw me safe and the car untouched, he was amazed. Jack G, one of the rescuers, climbed down to where I was and said, "Wow Lou, that is the best job of parallel parking I have ever seen."

My car was more damaged by the tow truck pulling the car sideways than by the actual accident. Yet it was not bad and I was very lucky or blessed. The real damage was done to my psyche – that feeling of sliding, of being out of control, not being able to stop it, and the quickness of how it all came down, has stayed with me to this day. Driving in icy conditions absolutely terrifies me. I have driven in bad weather since then (it is difficult to live in NM and not drive in snow and ice), but I don’t like it. NM takes very good care of their roads. I can remember telling tourist who would call and ask about road conditions that if they could get out of Texas or Oklahoma, driving in NM would be easy. Driving in OK in icy conditions is not wise. It so freaks me out that I insist that Toby drive Jesse when the weather is bad. It is the mom in me. It is a fear in me. It is the wisdom in me.

9 comments:

The Friendly Neighborhood Piper said...

i got out last nite to take some dinner to the new baby family. i was surprised that the roads were as bad as they were. Plato and the DLX were passable but i was wishing i had my Jeep back, minivans just don't do well in those conditions. I decided to take the new 7 back to town, much better that way. I wanted to stop by but decided walking to your house from the road was a little more work than i wanted to do...pretty lazy that way.

Bag Blog said...

Piper, have you not been up to my house since Alex delivered several loads of rock?

Buck said...

...that feeling of sliding, of being out of control, not being able to stop it, and the quickness of how it all came down, has stayed with me to this day.

Well, now. I sure relate to THAT, LOL! It's been over 40 years since my similar incident, and I remember it like it happened yesterday.

Sta warm and stay safe, Lou.

Dale said...

Wow, I'll bet that was quite a ride Lou. I glad you made it through the woods without wrapping yourself around a tree. Unbelievable, you must have a guardian angel watching over you! I hate the ice in Arkansas because of the idiots that think tey can drive just as fast as if they were on dry pavement. I would much rather drive on snow if I have to drive on anything. I've never see black snow as opposed to black ice. Dirty snow yes black snow nope not once! Glad you stayed home and safe today!

The Friendly Neighborhood Piper said...

no...i haven't...but i did try to get into his driveway yesterday and ended up parking just off the main road and walking.

Becky said...

That must have been one scary experience! I've never driven in icy conditions, but I've briefly slid in water. It is unnerving to say the least.

Oh, and there was the time before I went into the Navy when I slid off of our dirt (mud) road into the ditch. More embarrassing than frightening. I hiked the rest of the way home, and called my uncle who came and pulled me out with his tractor. Laughing all the while.

Doc said...

Read the weather report this morning and a year ago wouldn't have thought twice about it, but now I thought, "Hey, I know people out there. Hope Piper and Lou and crew are safe."

Stay warm. 70 here today. 58 tomorrow. High in Savannah yesterday was 91. Ninety-freakin-one! Weather is just weird these days.

Doc

Bag Blog said...

Doc, the weather has had its ups and downs lately, but that is not so odd for OK.

Becky, I'm pretty good at mud driving - the drive up to my house was like going mud boggin'.

Dale, I didn't even mention the other drivers here in OK, and they are the real reason for fear.

Buck, after the story of you crashing on a motorcycle, I am amazed that you still have one.

Jo Castillo said...

Wow, hard to believe you didn't hit a tree! Happy that you didn't and are here to chat with!