The Ride

The times they are a-changin’.

This post seems to be older than 14 years—a long time on the internet. It might be outdated.

I usually just post my story of the day. However, one of the great things about sharing stories with your friends that you can then share them with your other friends (a third degree of sharing, I guess). With gracious permission, I’ve posted some selected “Stories of the Day” that have been seen in one of my circle of friends. And now I share it with you. The following Story of the Day was sent by Peter Walchenbach on Sunday, October 30th:

As I stepped through the door of the coffee shop I was overwhelmed with the urge to spin in circles in the wet parking lot, catching as many of the half dollar size snowflakes as I could to make up for the 7 month fast I had been on. When I finally came to my senses I looked down at my frozen feet covered only by the straps on my Chacos, My genes soaked up to the knee and my pink button down shirt now sagged under the load of water it had absorbed. As I ran for the car I came to another realization, one of more importance, it was snowing, and I was planning on driving my rear wheel drive car with street tires over the steepest pass in North America. I drove as quickly as I dared out to the village, to check on a job I applied for, then to radio shack to buy a radar detector (which I didn’t buy because it was $200) then headed for the pass. As I started to climb the snow became thicker and thicker as it fell in front of me until finally my hands began to shake ever so slightly, and a smile crept over my face as my car started to loose traction around corners.

I scrolled through the play lists on my Ipod finding the techno/trance list and turned up to volume until my speakers started to crack, next I shifted into 2nd gear sport, put both hands on the wheel and held on for the ride. It was nearly ten minutes later, my rear wheels were spinning continuously spitting rocks and slush far behind me, my car was moving at the same speed my baby sister goes when heading for the wagging tail of our golden retriever and the idea to hit me, “I could just turn around and wait until tomorrow to try the pass”. It wasn’t long before I had pushed that idea out of my head, and when the road flattened and I arrived at the top, I turned down the music, shifted into drive, sat back in my chair and tried to slow my heart down and stop my hands from shaking.

300 miles later, it was pitch black other than were my headlights shone on the shiny wet road beneath me or reflected off the tinny white flakes that flew toward my windshield at 80 miles an hour. The yellow light flashing above the yellow sign illuminated the black writing “45MPH” I however had no control over my speed, my cruise control had been in charge of that for the last 4 hours and there was no reason to relieve it now. As I went around the first corner I realized that maybe the cruise control was not infallible, my head tilted at a 45 degrees to compensate for the forces pushing it into the window, my body was too relaxed to fight them and just rested against the door, I placed my foot over the brake and gently disengaged cruise control just as I came out of the first corner and into the next. The second corner was significantly sharper than the last, as I pushed harder and harder on the brake, like the snapping of my fingers, my hands once again began to shake, this time however there was no smile on my face, my tires broke free of the apparently frozen ground below me and sent my back wheels into the lane next to me. The car twisted ever so slightly to the right, I countered it, turning the wheels to the left and letting up on the brake, an instant later my rear wheels regained traction just long enough to send the back of the car sliding in the opposite direction, the wheels screamed as the car slid across the pavement. Just after passing straight the wheels caught again the car jerked and I was once again following the road as if nothing had happened.

Now just 500 miles from home, cruising at 79mph holding a rock star with one hand, and the wheel in the other, a set of head lights appeared in my rear view mirror quickly catching me. It pulled right up behind me, before changing lanes to pass me, in my boredom my eyes followed the car, debating whether to use it as a speeding buddy, the decision was easy. The bran new Jetta some how managed to fit two sets of ski racks on the roof though only one had skis in it. The interior dome light shone brightly inside allowing me to easily see the woman driving, she was in her early 20s the sunblind was pulled down, blocking out the stars above her. MSU was clearly visible on the chest of her hooded sweatshirt; her knee skillfully handled the wheel as she stared into the mirror in front of her using both her hands to put her long burgundy hair up in a ponytail. When she was directly next to me she looked at me and smiled flashing teeth that looked strangely white in that light, then sped off. I followed her for just over a mile, but she got off at the next exit, which had a picture of a ski area and a sign that said, “no services” with no excuse to follow, I returned to 79mph and continued to drive into the night.

As a note, I named it “The Ride”. Quinn says it’s the best story yet. If I find some time, I may make an animated short based on it.

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