On the Road

Thursday, March 17, 2005, 04:56 PM

Have you ever driven through tumbleweed in the dark?
During the day it looks kind of romantic, all of that dust and wind and
dried plants in the shape of balls rolling around. At night its an
entirely different story.

So I began driving on I-90 yesterday for a trip from Seattle to Boise,
Idaho. The last time I did this it only took about 7.5 hours, so I
thought, hell, maybe mapquest is right this time with the trip length.
It was raining something fierce as I remembered to not speed through
Issaquah. Strict place, Issaquah. Well, snow storm #1 happened as I
creeped over the pass and slowed down to about 35 miles an hour. No, I did
not stop to put on chains. Dumb move.

I actually had to trick my myself into believing that there really wasn’t
any snow in order to see the road. That, and a truck in front of me helped
guide the way. As soon as I got to Yakima, the sky opened up and it was
very lovely. The land there looks like soft green blankets thrown over
curvaceous mountains. It even stopped raining. (This was when the
tumbleweed looked cute and inviting. Stop, take a picture of us, we’re
exotic tumbleweed….)

Snow storm #2 happened as I creeped over the Blue Mountains in Oregon.
This is where an ENORMOUS ball of tumbleweed decided to hang out over my
left headlight for over an hour. The wind was rocking the car (nothing
like that steady shot of adrenalin to keep you alert) yet the damned
tumbleweed just wouldn’t budge until I got to Idaho. Maybe it was meeting
friends there.

So as the snow storm subsided, the winds picked up. By now its dark and I
feel like I’m living in that old video game Pole Position. As another
truck roared past me I look over and see a sign:


Oh God! The wind wasn’t enough? Now I have to look out for animals?
You know, sometimes people drive to places they don’t belong. I started
imagining this gang of deer at a roadblock, demanding to be bribed with
cash and treats. No cookies Mame? That’ll be fifty dollars. I could reason
with a gang of deer. Especially deer in leather driving harleys. You know
Mr. Deer, this is your spot. Why don’t you have some of these nice
overpriced organic vegan treats from the co-op? I really haven’t been
eating enough fast food lately. I’m sure there will be another spot to
find fried down the road…

Another sign warned of rocks falling on my head. At this point, I am
laughing deliriously and wondering if I have ever wanted to get to Idaho
so bad in my life.

What’s next? Locusts?

There could very well have been some, it was so dark I couldn’t really see.
So just before I got to the Idaho border, I stopped for gas in a place
that had two very long words for a town, too tired to remember….let’s
see….Mountain Homestead? Anyhow, in Oregon you aren’t allowed to pump
your own gas, so I waited and a nice guy came out and politely told me
that the car was pointed in the wrong direction.

Can you tell I’ve been driving for ten hours? I joked. He kind of looked
at me as if I was a crazy woman. Hum. Well, what of it?!??
So I went in to the restroom and ignored the little tin box selling
novelty condoms (does anyone really believe they are ” ribbed for her
pleasure”??). The gas guy’s Dad (I am guessing, they both keep staring at
me, funny!) told me to be careful after I asked how much longer to Boise.
80 miles. Sweet! I danced out of the gas station. They kept staring.

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