Our travels part 6

I pump the breaks to make sure we are not sliding. The speedometer (the last electronic thing inside the car to work) drops to 0 but we are not stopped. This is a narrow 2 lane road with the mountain to our right starting about 8 inches for the white line at the edge of the road. We serpentine down the incline.

Snow is building on the windshield, I discover the windshield wipers don’t work. Another sharp turn comes up. As I start to turn the wheel it feels like it is stuck. I instinctively hit the breaks, they are stuck too. But they do move just really slow and hard. The engine has died, the battery is dead, no power steering, no power breaks, no lights.

I am grunting trying to make the linked turns, Katie is not sure what to think. I explain we are having car trouble. I tell her I will let her know if I have to do anything drastic like drive the car into the side of the mountain to slow us down or stop us. I don’t think I make her feel much better. Fortunately the traffic going up the mountain is light which gives me a little more room on the turns.

I need a place to pull off the road but there are no shoulders or driveways. The snow has been piled up by the snow plows where ever the road widens. Our speed is managable, I am guessing about 30MPH. I could stop the car but it will take about 100 yrds. Still no place to pull over. We merge with another road, we are off the mountain road an onto a rural road that leads into town about 4 miles away. The cars are backed up behind me now I am well under the speed limit.

The road is a little wider now but still not a real shoulder, just a ditch. At least the mountain is no longer leaning over our right side. We remember a school we passed on the way up. Surely we could get off the road there and we would have some idea where we were. The road flattens out, I am no longer concerned with uncontrollable speed. I notice Katie and I are both leaning forward trying to make it to the school. Several cars go around us. We have been drifting for about 3 miles (it seemed like 30). We can see the school, we are down to about 15MPH.

It’s a small school, only 1 in and 1 out for the parking lot. I get ready to attempt a 90 degree turn, but wait – no parking spaces and the busses are lined up. It’s about 3:30 school is still in session. In front of the school there is a public bus stop and a real shoulder for the bus to drive on – it’s bus stop or bust. Going about 3 MPH we glide onto the bus lane and stop dead in front of the little hut where people wait, like we did it on purpose. We made it. Our backs leaned back up against the leather captains chairs for the first time since we were in the ski slope parking lot.

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