Its raining and pouring and beneath your tyres there seems to be no splashing.
Yeah sure there’s no water. But there’s ice.
This was the most important lesson I learnt yesterday after I rented a car for the first time.
It had been 2 months since I had last driven a car. That had been in the crowded streets of Meerut , the hyper busy Uttaranchal-Delhi highway which can be the best possible training in how erratic traffic can get.
I had to go some 15 miles away to rent a car. How I got there I just don’t know. It was a combination of multiple bus rides, in multiple directions, foot-walks across lawns and parks, and a completly random arrival at the address of the rental agency. It was anything but the shortest path.
The renting-guy was in quite a hurry and handed me the keys to a Mitsubishi Lancer ( courtesy Microsoft) and I happily headed to the car. Automatic transition,which is supposed to make things really easy, but it took me a while to figure out how I had to get around to moving the stick, and like many troubles the solution was found by a phone call to a school friend 🙂 The absence of a clutch felt like a loss of control though. It felt less like a car and more like a gokart.
Well I was in luck. For I was parked right next to the highway towards Redmond. So I just had to head back right.
Well it was just 6pm. There was a long evening and the night time ahead. And after all these ages , I had a car!
Maybe it would be fun to just head further off from Redmond , go for a 20-30 mile drive and head back after a while ?
The mind said *no* . It was not the most sensible thing to do. Definitely not for someone who’s used to driving in a place
which is so dry and barren as a desert that there’s never been a drop of water disrupting the view thru the windshield.
And, on a cold rainy wintery Seattle night, when the roads are so slippery, and even the streetlights are goin off,you should be
heading home to bed. But the heart said *yeah* go ahead have a nice drive , In any case you’ve got to drive 15 miles to get
home, it really wont matter if u drive another 15-20 more for fun. I generally do what my mind tells me to and not the heart.
But this was an exception. Forbidden fruit is certainly the sweetest and a nice little drive on a high speed freeway was an
And so I began my journey in the opposite direction. And it wasn’t as straight a path as I had expected. So I made random
decisions at every fork and enjoyed my drive for a while. Till I realized that I was now pretty clueless about where I had reached.
Every fork/crossing/exit in this area looks pretty much similar so there’s no concept of taking a note of ‘landmarks’ out here at
least not for a stranger. Yeah the wheels and brakes were slipping. The roads were slippery and sloping.
And the windshied was wet and frosty.
My journey paused for a while. Now I looked around the place. There were the Issaquah mountains on one
side. The mischief maker in my mind came back to work again. I had come all this way. Might as well take a nice enjoyable drive
through the hills as well. Whether you’re lost at Point-A or Point-B it really doesn’t matter because lost is lost … So might as well
remain lost for a while at Point-B instead of Point-A if it looks more interesting ? And so I started going up in the hills . And it started
to rain and pour. But there was no splashing under my tyres so I felt pretty ok. Till I saw the reason why. The roads were more white
than grey. And , a few hundred yards ahead of me, were a bunch of abandoned cars, with their wheels jammed in ice.
So it was obviously time to retreat. As I started my jourey ‘homewards’ , the streetlights were off , the traffic lights were off, and even I
was pretty much clueless about where I was heading. Anyways, after a little more aimless wandering in circles and spirals, stopping at
Gas stations,burger joints etc,and a total of a 40 mile journey for the 15 mile one which was required, I finally landed up where I needed to 🙂
Home sweet home and a good night’s sleep ….. with the satisfaction of a random exploration (of a small part of)
what the beautiful Pacific Northwest has to offer…………..zzzzzzzzzzzz………..