LIFE IN OUR MOUNTAIN TOWN: Winter makes a comeback
This past Friday night my husband and I got caught in a white-out while driving home over Brockway Summit.
The snow started coming at our headlights so fast and furious, that suddenly, it was very difficult to see where we were going.
My husband drove while I leaned forward in the passenger seat, trying to make some sense of the road. Mostly we followed a set of tire tracks, which appeared as short black lines that disappeared into a wall of snow a few feet ahead of us. We hoped these tracks would keep us on the road and not land us in a ditch.
We spoke out loud to each other about how grateful we were for the reflectors staked along the side of the road, because they seemed to be the most reliable marker to guide us. I kept my eye on the side of the road out my window, and slowly we crept along.
I hadn’t been out driving in bad weather like that in a long time. As a matter of fact, driving in that snowstorm helped rekindle our memories of another time when we were driving home from Reno on I-80, and we came upon a stop sign in the middle of the freeway.
It was quite a while ago, before we had children in our life, and it was a night with the same kind of near-zero visibility driving conditions. We were driving along when all of a sudden we found ourselves in the middle of a snowstorm. Once again, we used the side of the road as our guidepost, as it was the only thing we could see.
This kind of driving gets tense. There’s no music playing; it’s just silent. And your eyes are as wide as you can get them to open, hoping that that will somehow help you see better.
It was quite a surprise to both of us then when we thought we were on the interstate, but it turned out, we weren’t. We hadn’t seen a sign or felt the road curve. We had just been driving, very slowly, along a very straight course, and suddenly, our headlights were shining on a stop sign.
After getting over a feeling of complete disorientation, and a little exasperation, we realized that we had come down the long, straight exit ramp in Verdi.
The next thing we did was to put the car in reverse and back up the exit ramp. From there, we continued on our way.
Recounting this story makes me realize how dangerous a situation you suddenly find yourself in, and how lucky I am that each time, I made it safely home.
With our recent return to snow and cold, all I can say is, so much for the gorgeous spring weather we were enjoying. Mother Nature wasn’t going to let us jump straight into summer, was she?
My husband likes to use our snow blower to blow the snow off the grass each year to help satisfy his desire for winter to be over. It’s those last couple of feet of snow that he can’t stand to see sitting on our lawn, especially when it just doesn’t feel like winter anymore. Our neighbors are usually outside, enjoying the warm spring air on the day he chooses to do this, so just about everyone in the neighborhood passes by. This doesn’t faze him though, because unlike me, he is not self-conscious about publicly revealing his tendency towards impatience. One of our neighbors apparently stopped and told him that he was going to invite winter weather to return, just by what he was doing. She is older, and wiser.
Another thing my husband likes to do in an effort to be done with winter, is to talk about having the studded tires taken off of our vehicles, always about a month too early. We have this same conversation every year. A few weeks ago, I told him that I’m going to keep mine on until May 1. I have to admit, I’m not sure I really thought we would get weather as cold and snowy as we’ve had this past week when I took that stand.
Katie Shaffer has lived in
Truckee since 1981.
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