As I said, I was in an all-out panic. The giant bumps got worse — there were two or three I knew for certain were unpassable. I started bawling after the first one. Every now and then, I would check my cell phone, just to see if a cell tower had magically appeared atop a giant ponderosa pine, only to be disappointed. And then, just to make things worse, I started imagining all the ways I could possibly die in the mountains.
I’m going to careen off the road, and the car is going to tumble into the ravine. No big, dramatic explosions, just some crunching metal and shattering glass. They won’t find me for weeks… It’s going to get dark, and when it does, I’ll just have to pull over as close to the mountain as I can and hope a bear doesn’t eat me, because I am *NOT* driving out of here in the dark. OH HELL! BEARS! AND ALL I HAVE WITH ME IS A .38 SPECIAL! WHY NOT A .45 WITH HOLLOWPOINTS!? Or the .44 Magnum? Ok, that one’s because it’s too heavy. What if the bear smells my lasagna? I mean, it smells awesome back there. Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me. My last meal could be lasagna?! Really? I’d always hoped for chicken tikka masala and garlic na’an. Dangit. Lasagna. There are so many better last meals than lasagna! I’m going to die a brunette. Why couldn’t I die a blonde? Why did I color my hair? It’s a good thing I’ve asked to be cremated so no one has to see me like this at a funeral. I don’t think this could be worse. I’ll die a brunette after eating my last meal of freaking lasagna. I’ll die fat! The crazy militia mountain people are in the northern part of the state, right? RIGHT? The crazy mountain people are going to kill me and serve me to their enormous hounds as a snack. I think the ravine thing is most likely, and I suppose that’s good, because I’ll just break my neck and it’ll be done. But what if there’s a river way down there where I can’t see? I know there is a river here somewhere. And what if my car bounces nicely through the trees, not killing me, and then I just go right into the river?! Oh, wait. The Mythbusters told me how to handle the car going in the water. If it happens, Sarah, open the car door right away. Don’t wait. If you can’t open it in time, relax, don’t struggle, just be one with the car and the lasagna until the pressure equalizes and you can open the door. Of course, roll down the windows before you get to the water. Expletive! The river is all Class V rapids around here. I’ll just drown. I hear it’s a peaceful way to go, but probably not if you’re being slammed into jagged rocks.
Yeah. All of those things rushed through my head, exacerbating my panic and engorging the tears. When you’re alone in a precarious situation, your brain is your worst enemy.
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that there was a lot of praying, too. A lot of begging (no bargaining, surprisingly), a lot of apologies for the expletives, a lot of thanking God for the life I did have. A lot of wishing I’d done more, been a light to more people, all that stuff.
Suddenly I passed a mowed lawn. What the? Yeah. There was a mowed lawn to my left, no driveway or anything, just a lawn with a mosquito-netted gazebo, a chair, and maybe a tractor, I can’t remember. I do remember the No Trespassing sign, and since I imagined this crazy mountain man had a much bigger gun, and I was in no frame of mind to aim properly anyway, I kept going. But this also gave me hope, because that mowed lawn meant civilization was near! Twelve miles to go. I must be coming upon a big mountain community!
A few twists and bends later, I came upon a dead end. The barricades that they have at freeway exits and onramps and entrances to mountain roads so they can close the roads in the winter and keep the stupid people safe? I came face to face with one. It was closed and had not been opened in a long time. I knew this because it was overgrown with weeds. And yeah, the road was still one skinny lane.
To be continued…