White Knuckles & Pink Hues

As many of you know I decided to jump at a golden opportunity to start a new adventure in my life. In order to do so I had to move from Indianapolis to Phoenix. Therefore, after my final book signing in Indy, I decided to leave on the 16th of February. And honestly, I couldn’t have picked a worse day.

After watching the news most of the day Sunday I knew a storm was coming through, but there were varying reports of how bad it was going to be. My friend Cheryl in Arkansas told me they were expecting several inches of snow and ice. So I thought I’d push on through to Dallas just to get as far south as possible before stopping.

Monday morning; leaving Indy the roads weren’t too bad. With my sidekick, DaVinci riding shotgun we headed out to begin our new journey. The roads were covered with several inches of snow, but as a native Hoosier I didn’t think much of it. However, once I got past Terre Haute the ice decided to make an appearance. I slowed down. Doing 35mph on the interstate is not fun but sometimes necessary in the Midwest. I turned up the music and paid attention to the roads and it wasn’t too bad until I got about an hour outside of Indiana across the Illinois line. I was thrust head first into the movie Frozen…the live version is not nearly as entertaining.

As a plus there were very few idiots like myself out on the highways. Most had the common sense to stay home that morning. So, mainly it was just me, an occasional car/SUV driver and truckers by the dozen. After growing up in the Midwest, I’ve become accustomed to driving in various winter conditions. I may not like it, but I’ll do it…and thanks to my Dad’s repeated teachings, I know how to do it. I guess some didn’t have fathers quite as rigorous as my own because they drove like complete morons.

It’s hard for me, even as a writer, to describe with accuracy the scene that played out before me on my path South. It appeared as an artic apocalypse and I wish I was exaggerating. There were car wrecks all along the roadways not even a mile apart, abandoned vehicles, turned over semi-trucks in ravines, one galvanised trailers was literally hanging from a bridge, too many vehicles were flipped completely over or on their sides and all in various stages of emersion of snow. But I continued onward following the two tread-lines of the semi-truck in front of me. I can’t say lane, because there wasn’t one. Honestly, there wasn’t a lane until half-way to Texarkana from Little Rock. There would be occasional clearances or what appeared deceivingly as clearances on either my right or left, but I maintained my due course. I knew I couldn’t pass…and to be truthful, you couldn’t have paid me enough to try it. But of course, there are those who believe they are invisible, are just plain stupid, or have no patience for the slow edging along an icy highway.

One angry gentleman with no time for such frivolous things as caution decided to weave his Maxima around the cars and trucks taking full advantage of those sporadic clearings around us. I watched him approach in my side mirrors thinking to myself ‘what an idiot’. He did make it past me and those around me. And I hate to admit, I did laugh out loud when I saw him a half mile further up the road, having run headfirst into one of the notorious snow drifts that abruptly appear in those ‘clearings’, the front of his car smashed in and he was standing outside of his car cursing up a storm. Well played Mother Nature! After all, she does have a wicked sense of humor to those who disrespect her…as several miles down the road a trucker discovered that the hard way after he was behaving like the aforementioned driver.

After 15…yes, 15 LONG, EXCRUIATING ,hours of gripping my steering wheel so hard at times fighting to keep my car on the road my shoulders hurt, every muscle in my body tense and stressed I finally saw dry payment about an hour outside of Little Rock. It was a nightmarish hellish journey, but I eventually arrived in Dallas after three thirty on Tuesday morning. I was so exhausted I could barely stand. DiVinci (my little angel did amazing on this trip!!!) was so freaked out that I had to carry him into the hotel. Checked in, hot shower, little dog curled up beside me…damn hotel room toilet running nonstop, legs vibrating from the long car ride and because of the glorious weather conditions, cruise control was not even an option. I think my right foot is permanently disfigured from the trip. I intended to sleep until ten since check out was eleven, but only managed to doze on and off for about two hours. Finally, I conceded that sleep was going to escape me, got ready, checked out, and hit the road again.

Texas…it definitely is a world of its own. Yes, everything is bigger, expanded, and glorified…right down to the most trivial thing. I will say they have the best, smoothest, roads that I traveled on this trip. Plus, they have the most creative take on names for buildings/businesses like Netty Flatts Smokehouse or the Cowboy Pioneer Church. I love Texas…simply because you have to love a state whose speed limit is 80mph. However, I did encounter a unique individual during a fill-up that noticed my Indiana plates, approached me shaking my hand wildly exclaiming that I was the first Hoosier he’d ever met! You can only giggle at the man’s enthusiasm. Then two stops later after greeting the clerk at the gas station to pay for my coffee, he looked at me with an odd expression and asked what a Yankee was doing down here…got to love Texans, they are bold! But it was well worth it because I got to watch the sunset over the Desert Mountains. It was the most spectacular scene I have ever witness. The mountains stretched across the landscape, the skies were lite up with brilliant reds and purples that eventually burned into soft pink hues. I couldn’t take my eyes off the breathtaking sight. I had never seen a sunset of such a magnitude before.

I made great time on Tuesday until I sailed straight into rush hour traffic. It reminded me a great deal of the time I’d been unfortunate enough to run into the same conditions in LA….bumper to bumper, take off at ninety miles an hour then slam on your brakes and try not to collide with the bumper in front of you…good times! I would like to thank the SOB with the halogen headlights who rode my ass through the entire experience! He was so considerate to keep his light directly in my side mirrors. Still, I have to admit I am extremely proud of my self-control because the car in front of me had a plate cover of the Dallas Cowboys…that reason alone deserved him to get rear-ended!!!

By ten o’clock Tuesday evening the lines on the road became blurry and moved on their own. I felt tired and realized exactly how tired I was when I almost hit a semi because my depth perception was no longer intact. So, I did something I never thought I would ever do…I pulled into a truck stop, parked under a lamp post and took a nap for the next several hours. Thankfully, even the puppy slept. I was afraid that he would bark at other customers, but it was almost as if he knew I desperately needed the rest.

I pulled back out around midnight thirty, still exhausted but revived to push onward. I finally arrived at my destination about five thirty this morning. I have never been so thrilled to see someone in my life than when Patsy walked out her front door to greet me!!

This morning I found myself sitting in her backyard beside the pool, smoking a cigarette in seventy four degrees. It sure the hell felt phenomenal considering it was a balmy six degrees when I pulled out of Indy. I’m home!!