Monday, October 17, 2016

Worst drive ever.

I've had my drivers license for about 46 years. I would call myself a very good conservative yet aggressive driver (meaning I typically don't take chances).  I've never had a moving violation (that I can remember)  and have never been involved in an accident although I have had a few non-moving violations.

I attribute this to literally thousands and thousands of hours of driving/racing/Need for Speed/NASCAR style computer game. They have taught me to always be looking 2 steps ahead of your surroundings when driving.

Yet Saturday night will go down as one of my top three worst driving experiences in my life.

Every 2 weeks I bring Elwood up to Columbus to feed him and hang out.  We have been friends literally all my life.  During the flood in Columbus that created Grinders Island he was stuck at my house.  During the blizzard a few years ago I could not get him home and he was stuck at my house.

Saturday night we watched the Badger game and as we were packing the car with his landscaping stuff, shovels and boots and so forth there was lightning.  I looked on the radar and commented it was going to be an exciting ride to Madison.  Little did I know how exciting it would be.

As we turned onto 151 it started to rain with bright flashes of lightning.  By the time we were nearing "V" it was raining hard and I had slowed down to 60 and lightning was getting brighter.

By the time were were nearing the truck driving school I was in a line of 4 cars going 45 and having trouble seeing the road.  There a car ahead of me was helping but I was getting some serious road rage because every 5 seconds he was putting on the breaks and blinding me.  Get your freaking foot off the freaking break.

Then he slowed to the 30s and I passed him going 40mph and before I knew it I was alone and blind. I was now going about 35 and thinking about pulling over but I seriously could not see the side of the road.  Plus if I did pull over someone would just read end me thinking I was on the road.

I've always said I could drive 151 blind and here was my test.  I honestly could not see ANYTHING.

Then a scene that is burned into my brain and I will never forget.  A HUGE bolt of lightning hits in front of us, maybe a mile away, and for a brief second I see the road and we both laughed nervously.

So there were going 35 and every 5 seconds I could see a faint faint line on the right side of the road. The storm seemed to be right over 151 and we could not drive out of it.  As we neared Sun Prairie I was worried I might accidentally veer off to an exit.  I was still the only car visible as we slowly moved along.

Surly once we got past SP it would let up. I never saw one exit.  As we were going past Woodmans (I assumed) some more cars were coming onto the road but I was the fast mover at 45 now and had no idea what lane I was in.  I have never ever seen rain like this while driving.  It was literally a white out with rain.

Coming down that final hill towards Madison Elwood and I both said at the same time . . ."Where is Madison"  it was completely dark.  We both felt once we got past the interstate we could relax, go slow under the street lights . . . .but no.

Going past East Town a car on my right hit water and spun sideways.  Elwood blurted out "F*ck did you see that?"  I didn't mention that even in a Subaru none of my wheels were touching pavement at that moment.  I stayed in what I felt was the middle lane.  Going past Rockies a car on the left hit water and basically stopped.  I honestly could not see the sides of East Washington. It was worse then the highway.

Elwood lives on that motel/apartments next to Zimbrick VW so I either turn left at the Full House intersection (151&51) or turn at the next left.  I could not see ANY exit. Those two turn lanes were invisible and I was worried about hitting that middle section. All I could see were the GO lights. I could not see the side of the road to turn and had to go down to the next stoplight and I eased left hoping I would not hit the curb. It was CRAZY.  Worst driving conditioned I have seen EVER in "summer".

I got him home. What normally tales exactly 60 minutes there and back took 1:45 hours.  Going back was still a little iffy with drunk, wet and sad Badger fans.

I would have pulled over and stopped at numinous times if I would have known where the road was.

Oddly when I got home and started looking for rain reports I was underwhelmed. Only about an inch but we must have been in a 2 inch per hour rain fall the entire way.


The power outage Saturday night

 "ATC’s substation at the Academy experienced a ‘line trip and reclose’ due to the thunderstorms." 

It rebooted my weather station which was sad.

Columbus gained 24 people last year 0.4% but up 1.3% since 2014.

The DOT is in preliminary talks about replacing Hwy89 from The Kurth to Avalon in 2021. Looking at what would have to be done underground and so forth.  Don't hold your breath but at least it's penciled in for 2021 (very light pencil I bet).  


I was taking DJ to the emergency room a few years ago with a broken ankle when I stopped to take this photo of a beautiful stonewall in the rain.

Here she is when we got back.

That night I caught a very bad cold and the next day we decided to head home from vacation 4 days early.  On the way home a truck kicked up a rock and busted our windshield.

I got a lot of great photos for the one day were in Door County that year.

I actually call this one "Broken Ankle Birch" and I swear this was the photo that produced my "I'm puttin' you down COLD".

Rain is awesome for photographing fall colors.

The first day of the vacation with no rain.  One of the holes at Alpine Golf Course