Had a chance this past week to see some parts of Oregon that I’d never seen before. I suppose that was nice but it wasn’t really a planned outing so it was a little aggravating too.
I’d gone to my son’s house to help him with a project and was returning home. I’d made it only about forty miles when all traffic was routed off the freeway. The sign said “Road Closed” with no explanation as to why. Heading back to the nearest truck stop, I went inside and learned the road was shut down due to fire. There was no estimated time of re-opening.
I waited for a half an hour to see if they would update the travel information and when they did not, I decided to use an alternate route. Sometimes a wildfire can keep a road closed for days and I wanted to get home. When I started my pickup, the people parked beside me—with Kansas plates on their car—perked up, asking if the road was open. I said no and told them I was going around. Immediately, they wanted to know how far it was to take the other road and if they could follow me.
I said I had no problem with them following me and when I told them it would add about 125 miles to get to the next town, a town that was only 65 miles down the freeway, they seemed excited. But when I clarified it would take about three hours due to switchbacks up and down the mountains, they didn’t seem so thrilled.
“Could be longer too, if you get behind someone going slow, there ain’t a lot a room to pass up there. It the vehicle in front is going ten miles an hour, everybody will go ten miles an hour.” I didn’t want them blaming me when their trip turned into four hours or more.
They eventually decided against taking the detour. “We’ll just wait for the main road to open. This is our first time in the mountains,” the guy explained. “I’m not comfortable driving on a mountain road with switchbacks. Especially one I’ve never been on before.”
I said okay and took off.
Thing is, I’d never been on the road either. Not all of it anyway—I had been on the switchbacks before. But then, even if I hadn’t it shouldn’t make a difference, one set of mountain switchbacks is about like any other. Of course, I grew up around mountains so it all seems normal to me. For the folks from Kansas, I guess I can see why they’d be leery.
After I got up there, I was glad they hadn’t followed. There were no guardrails in most places, it was getting dark about the time I reached the summit, and parts of the road were needing repair—the sides were crumbling. Not a good place for someone new to mountains and if they’d been behind me, I might have felt obligated to go slower so they could keep up. Then that would have made me a bit cranky. This little detour was already costing me a few hours.
Thinking all this, I was happily cruising along, when ahead, I see a semi. It took only a couple of minutes, if that, to catch him. And then, I followed the taillights of the truck—at ten miles an hour! Yep, ten miles and hour, just like I’d suggested earlier. And that was our top speed! For the next six miles! If I’d known my words were going to be prophetic, I’d have padded my estimate, by 45 miles an hour or so! That would have gotten me home a lot sooner.
As for the people from Kansas: Although I didn’t see them again, the freeway was opened shortly after I left on my alternate route, so I’m sure they beat me to the next town by several hours! Oh, well, I eventually made it home—and got to see some parts of Oregon that I’d never seen before! ~
Bruce A. Borders is the author of more than a dozen books, including: Inside Room 913, Over My Dead Body, The Journey, Miscarriage Of Justice, The Lana Denae Mysteries, and The Wynn Garrett Series. Available in ebook at www.amazon.com/Bruce-A.-Borders/e/B006SOLWQS and paperback on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million. Bruce A. Borders is a proud member of Rave Reviews Book Club.