Sunday, May 19, 2013

Foggy Mountain Dew

Fog Blog
Manchester, CT.  5/19/2013:    Back where I originated, the Old Folks had three descriptors for this kind of weather:  "Gully-Washer,  Duck Drownder  and Toad-Strangler."  Taken cumulatively, today was all of those plus "Owl-Blinder."

   I started driving from Morgantown, WV under muggy skies at 7:30 AM, EDT.  It wasn't bad..the road was dry and the horizon was clear and I was saying to myself that it would be good if I could look at this particular trip with "fresh eyes."  I have driven across the Appalachian range virtually thousands of times and am totally familiar with the Interstates between Morgantown and McLean, Va, where I used to live.  I says to myself, says I, "try to look at it the way someone who's never seen it before would see it..look at it with "fresh eyes."  That's what I had just finished saying when alluvva sudden I was either driving in heavy fog or low clouds.  Didn't matter.   if I was filing a PIREP (Pilot's Report), I would have said something like, "Don't go there."  But it was too late to file a PIREP, I was already "there."  However, since I knew that part of the road so well, "old eyes" was a help because I usually knew where I was.  Usually.

  There are tricks to driving in heavy fog..none of them are a lot of fun.  Believe it or not, though, it's easier on the Interstates because there's more room and nothing is coming "at you" on your side of the road.  

  What you do first is slow down.  You'd be amazed at the Bozos who think they can plow ahead at 70 mph and not run into an invisible hard place.  They try it in snow, too.  Go figger.   Anyway, slow down and light up your car like a Christmas tree..front and back. Use low beams for headlights--the high will reflect off the water droplets in the fog and cause you all kinds of trouble.  After that, keep going cautiously because it's probably not real smart to just stop; the guy behind you might not understand quickly that you are no longer moving.  If you MUST stop--pull waaaay off the road and shut OFF the lights because your friend in the rear just might follow you, if you get my drift.  

  Find a guide.  An 18 wheeler is good because they have lots of lights and they're usually the best drivers on the road.  Get back far enough that you can just see his lights and then follow him.  Hopefully, the guy behind you will do the same thing.  Whatever, get plenty of room so you can stop if the 18 wheeler..or whomever..stops for some reason he can see and you can't.  Do this until you can get off at an exit, find a restaurant and go to the bathroom.  Then, sit still and catch your breath.

  Today was a dandy.  I didn't see real sunlight until I was exactly 336 miles from home..just east of Scranton, PA.  But it only lasted about two minutes.  Where there wasn't fog, there was rain and all of us out there had a nasty day, thank you very much.

  Whatever..I am tucked safely into a nice hotel in Manchester, CT for the night--the car is berthed below, cooling its wheels.  Tomorrow, I expect to reach Dave and Linda Underhill's house in Portsmouth, NH by about noon..hopefully in better weather and humor.

  Meanwhile, just to show it wasn't a total loss and that Spring is really here, I found this dogwood at a rest stop (God bless rest stops) west of Hancock, MD:

  Please excuse any errors--I do better when I'm not totally pooped.

 See you later.