The night we duck-dived our way through the storm
I asked my sweetheart Jon to “fingerpaint” what we lived through in January, driving south over the Highway 17 mountain pass. One of the most dangerous roads in the country.
Our little survival spectacle looked exactly like this, except it wasn’t a rectangle. The water surrounded us from every side.
We were going 45-50 mph — it’s a curvy mountain road— and the rain was constant all the way up to the Summit. But we were in our Ford 150 truck with new tires, so we felt intrepid.
“This isn’t the worst I’ve seen,” I said.
We hit a river of water that came over the cab— and kept coming. It kept coming.
One-one-thousand, two-one-thousand, three-one-thousand— maybe five seconds that stretched forever because we were blind, on a curve.
We DUCK-DIVED our way through a wall of water.
Imagine a muddy creek filling up your windshield — and this truck’s windshield is huge. There was nothing to see outside of it. The water golden mud and green.
Jon went into “Highway 17 autopilot” mode — thank god those curves are familiar. The tires held the ground.
I had flown home from New Mexico that very night, or I wouldn’t have been on the road at all. At the start of the day in Albuquerque, I didn’t know if our plane would be grounded by lightening, but that part was the easy piece.
The pilot told me, “Another day at the office.”
Then, the drive home — I knew it would be a little different. I have never been confronted with water like that.
Check out the footage from before the sun went down.
For those of you who cherish your Highway 17 near-death experiences, I’m sure the visceral details are all too real. Regale me!
If you aren’t from here, this crazy mountain road sees 30,000 commuters every day — dry days, mostly. Everyone from the central California coast commuting to Santa Clara Valley (San Jose), and back.
There are two lanes in each direction — the people in the right lane are either truckers, or virgins hanging onto the wheel for dear life, going 25 mph.
On the left, are the Tesla and Porsche hardcores going 65 on the curves. There is NO in-between.
“I heard the crash on the highway, but I didn’t hear nobody pray!”
We like to sing this Dorsey Dixon song when we’re passing on the left.
SBJournal is a pray-the-flood-away-supported publication. To receive new survival tales and support my Highway 17 PTSD, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.