Monday, February 28, 2011

Action/Adventure: 2

Action/Adventure: 2

I awoke, looked at the time on my phone, groaned, and turned my body out of bed. It was 7:22 a.m. I took a peak out the window. Beautiful flakes of snow falling. Sometime during the night the weather had turned drastically. It was snowing rapidly, layering everything. I scrambled out of bed and got dressed as fast as humanly possible. The drive would be a nightmare.

I went into the kitchen and saw James, we looked at each other and got into action. We had to leave immediately. The weather was not getting better. The adventure took a turn for the slow. I took the first shift in the bad weather. We were driving to the Albany bus station to drop me off.

It is a peculiarity of bad weather that drivers suddenly forget how to drive. It thus becomes a recipe for disaster. The roads were barely plowed. The car was responsive but not built for the bad weather. An Acura TL, it drives wonderfully in decent weather and can hold its own in snowy conditions, but this was something different.

We entered the freeway, going at an enormously fast 40 mph. At that precise moment, four cars tried to enter the on-ramp at the same time, and a pack of cars and semi-trucks in a tight clump passed by on the freeway. I was locked into my place with barely any room to move in the case of an accident. It was a death trap. In bad weather, cars have a weird tendency to clump together in schools. These groups move at an agonizing pace, make sudden changes in lanes, and are way too close together.

I followed a truck out of the group on the left hand side; we were now moving around 50 and, despite the white-out conditions, ok. It was an unintentional convoy, a semi-truck that was indecisive about which lane it was in, a small pickup, and me. We were in the left lane, stuck on the tire tracks. The slightest variation and the wheels would slide nervously. It was harrowing. We came up to a school of cars. A large black SUV wandered slowly into my lane, pushing me out. I heard the grooves in the road warning me that I was on the shoulder. I goosed the gas, honked, and found the road again. It was a close one, my hands were shaking.

The snow continued to fall down, obscuring my view. I tried to talk to James, just calmly analyzing life. We tried to listen to music. But every minor turn presented a challenge. We had no idea how bad it was. Just a few more miles and we would be quickly enlightened.

Stop. A dead stop about a mile and a half before the Thaddeus Kosciuszko Bridge. It took over a half hour to travel about two miles. The danger subsided but the agonizing pace was almost more tortuous. At the end of the traffic there was an accident. Another car on the side of the road. During the trip there were at least five accidents that we saw on the side of the road. I gripped the steering wheel a little harder and kept my wits about me.

We eventually made it to the bus station. I got out thanked James for the ride and headed inside. I had passed another test. Just a little longer in my journey.

This was just another part of the adventure.