White Knuckling it

I was talking about an ice storm drive yesterday and I will tell that story today. This pic is not from that story. I don’t have any pics from that story. I’m not even sure I had a viable camera then but even if I did, I wouldn’t have been using it because I was white knuckle driving on a four hour trip to the yooperland.

I was in college at Moo-U and I was driving a crappy old Pinto Wagon that my parents gave me when they were done with it. It was a 3-speed manual REAR-WHEEL DRIVE and basically green but rusty as all getout and was starting to develop various “issues” although nothing bad happened on this trip.

Spring break was coming up and the weather at Moo-U was gorgeous! Who was thinking about ice storms? Oh Michigan, you are so fickle in the spring. I drove north on a Wednesday. I couldda gone up the day before but my flute prof had scheduled a meeting to establish a new chapter of what he hoped would become a state-wide organization. I wanted to attend it. On Wednesday morning. He knew where I was going for spring break and I was one of his faves. He CAUTIONED ME not to drive in bad weather and said it would be fine if I missed the meeting. Oh, I’ll be okay, I’m a yooper, said I. Famous last words.

I started out on Wednesday morning and for quite a while, it was just “rain”. Or so I thought. I fergit exactly where I was when it turned into glare ice but all of a sudden people were fishtailing all over the place. I probably did too but I am blocking that and somehow we all got under control. For I can’t remember how many miles, we all drove maybe 25 mph tops. It was REALLY BAD. Somewhere south of Gaylord, my driver’s side veeeeendsheeeeld viper disintegrated. Could I see? Sorta?

Gaylord has always been a busy crossroads but it is crazy busy nowadays and I’m not sure if the old Standard gas station is just off the freeway now or not. They were always GREAT back in the day so I limped into their station, got some gas and asked if they had a veeeeendsheeeeld viper replacement for my crappy old car. Not only did they HAVE ONE, they cheerfully replaced it for the price of the part. I think I paid something like seven dollars or so.

I also found a pay phone in Gaylord and called my parents. The Commander said, “GET A HOTEL ROOM!” I didn’t. It was dark the rest of my trip and the ice had changed to snow. It was a little less dicey so although I didn’t drive the speed limit (55 at the time) I could get up to about 50 but every time somebody tried to pass me, I slowed down to 40 or 45 and got as far to the right as I could. When I got home, my “little” brother (who was in college at MTU in the Keweenaw) called to say he was on his way home so then the parents had to worry about him. He made it safely also (in his vintage VW bug, also a family artifact). He was a better snow/ice driver than I was or at least braver (or more foolhardy) about it.

In the pic is the first vee-hickle I bought NEW, a 1979 Ford Fiesta. The pic is in MAY 1984. The GG and I had driven to the cFam Hoton Lake cabin for a weekend. This is what we encountered on our way home on Sunday morning. The older beach urchin was a few months on the way and we had our house purchase in the works. When we went back up to Hoton Lake a week later, we had closed on the house and I got a bit sunburned. Baby was born in October as scheduled.

One Response to “White Knuckling it”

  1. Margaret Says:

    I’ve done a few of those white knuckled drives over ice, and they’ve aged me immeasurably each time.