Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Road Trips

I almost died once.

And considering my lack of propensity to exaggerate, you should totally believe me.

My dad and I were driving to Oregon. My grandpa lived there and we were taking him home. We were pulling an empty horse trailer. Because who doesn't drive to Oregon pulling an empty horse trailer?

There's something you should know about my dad. Nothing is normal about anything he does. And so when he says "want to drive with me to Oregon?" my initial thought is "now what is he going to get us into?"

It was January I believe and it snowed the entire drive. And the closer we got to Oregon the more it snowed. And snowed. We had to stop and buy chains for the tires. And I became that child who says, "We're never going to get there"...even though I was in my late 20s.

It was snowing heavily as we came down off the Blues Mountains and Dad was driving really slowly. The road looked clear and so Dad picked up just enough speed to send us sliding across the highway when we hit black ice. And slide we did - across all lanes of traffic, down into the barrow pit (that's what Dad says it's called), and up onto the other side of the highway, driving right into the oncoming traffic. Thankfully the oncoming traffic had enough time to get out of our way because we couldn't stop.

We drove against traffic until we took an off-ramp...which was really an on-ramp that had the stop sign that says whatever those stop signs say - Don't Enter or something like that. But we had no choice.

Here's what's impressive: I didn't scream, Grandpa didn't say a word, and Dad managed to keep the horse trailer from jack-knifing or from rolling. I'll bet you forgot about the horse trailer didn't you.

We kept driving.

The snow turned into an ice storm. By nightfall we were driving along the Columbia River Gorge. Have you ever made that drive? It's a beautiful drive...unless it's dark and you're in the middle of an ice storm, and you have visions of sliding right over the edge into the icy Columbia River. And yes those visions were totally justified. My body was still shaking from the earlier near-death experience. And so I laid down on the back seat with a jacket over my head so that I didn't have to look out at the blackness of the Columbia River. I'm nothing if not brave.

News reports were saying that the road over the Blues Mountains was closed. News reports were also saying that the ice storm wasn't going to let up any time soon. I FINALLY convinced Dad to stop for the night. We stopped somewhere along the Gorge in a place called The Dalles. We got some hot chocolate and some dinner and settled in for the night.

The next day we made it to Grandpa's house and found a very relieved Grandma.

The Columbia River Gorge was closed for 5 days...the state of Oregon pretty much shut down. I'd never experienced an ice storm before - in was beautiful in an eerie kind of way.

Dad had plenty of time to browse the want ads while we were waiting out the storm. And guess what he found - a windmill. The horse trailer finally had a purpose.

It's a nice windmill no? I think it's only fair that someday when all is said and done I inherit it. After all, it nearly cost me my life.

I tell you all of that to tell you this:

Sunday afternoon my dad said to me, "Noelle, want to go for a drive?" And do you know that my first thought was of that trip to Oregon?

I said rather hesitantly, "Where are we going Dad?"

It was only to Tremonton...He wanted to look at something he found in the want ads.

A silo...with a bright yellow door.

Looks like the windmill is going to be getting a friend.

1 comment:

Amy said...

I LOVE the Dalles. I also love windmills, your dad, and a good suspense story. Thank you for sharing. :)