There has been enough coverage of the tragedy in America, but the reaction from good people has given me a reason to hope that this can be squelched and we can still move forward in due time.
So purely for entertainment purposes I intend to tell you about my trip into work this morning.
First, some background. I have a two mile trip down our rural gravel road to the U.S. Highway 61 where my elevation changes from 1200 feet above sea level down to 600 feet above sea level right next to Lake Superior.
Winter is another matter altogether. We can have snow at the farm and rain at the lake. Or rain and freezing rain. Or just rain on a frozen road. We had the latter in the past 24 hours. We never used to have rain in the winter, but that was thirty years ago. Things are very different now (but that isn't true according to the idiocracy in charge) and we get rain in the winter along with the usual snow and sub zero temperatures.The road is plowed by the county as the school bus needs to take kids to school and needs to get through so that the kids don't turn out as stupid as the previous generation. We can only hope.
Usually the road is covered in hard-packed snow and he plows usually put down a little sand in the slippery spots. Today, however, is Saturday and the school kids and plow drivers sleep in. I was expected to be at work at eight this morning after a night of temperatures hovering around freezing and an occasional light drizzle.
I pull out onto the road in four wheel drive expecting it to be slippery. It was, but by the farm it wasn't so bad. There were even a few parts of road bed exposed giving me some traction. As I descended the hill I could tell by the glare on the road that conditions were deteriorating rapidly. Gravity was doing its part to speed me up from the 40 or 45 mph speed I had reached. I saw some gravelly spots in the road and carefully applied my brakes to slow down the 6500 pounds of steel and plastic surrounding me. Gravity kept wanting me to go faster. I slowed down enough to get it back into second gear and the transmission and gravity fought like demons to gain control of the situation.
Now comes the fun part where my monologue kicks in. "Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit!" I exclaimed while pinching my cheeks and increasing my death grip on the steering wheel. I am about to enter the ess curves where the road is protected from sun and wind by trees and therefore has the smoothness of glass with a fresh coat of polish.
I touched my brakes and immediately started sliding and just as immediately let off the brakes. I was close to the edge of the road which is good and bad. The edge has a little traction as it is not quite as smooth, but there is a ditch hidden under the snow. I am trying to remember at the speed of a Hal 2000 what it looks like in summer at that piece of road. Will I end up in the ditch or stay almost in control? I manage to get the speed under 10 mph and jamb it down into first gear. The wheels are still turning, but not as fast as I am actually going. The truck shimmies a little left and a little right. I have minimal steering control and don't dare touch the brakes or I will be in the ditch or the trees. At least at this speed I won't die. I slide a little sideways and try to straighten out again using the edge of the road. It catches traction at the last second and my heart is in my throat along with a taste of breakfast. At this point I am barely moving forward, but with only 50 yards to go until clear road I am pretty sure I will make it.
I take the truck out of four wheel drive and am on a wet, paved highway increasing my speed. After a mile or two I remember to start breathing again and check to see if my pants are still dry. All is well.
I call the sheriff's office when I get to work and talk to the dispatcher, who used to keep a horse here, and tell her that our road is impassable. The county boys are already hard at it and the road is well sanded by the time I come home. Nothing like a little adrenaline to get your day started.