most jarring dislocation
Saturday, January 17 2004
setting: rural Hurley, Ulster County, New York
The road was gradually becoming slick, but it wasn't anything I noticed until I had to start moving from a dead stop (usually at traffic lights). But then, as we were climbing one particularly steep hill, I saw that a huge tractor trailer ahead of us was gradually grinding to a halt, turning into a massive immobile obstruction in the solitary westbound lane. The cars stacked up behind it (including ours) had no choice but to head into the oncoming lane to get around it. I was driving at the time and trying to get moving on that slope was a harrowing experience, particularly given the danger of the oncoming lane. The wheels were spinning frantically as they tried to find some purchase buried by the slush. Somehow we fishtailed our way to the top of the hill and I pulled over to the shoulder to think. If there had been a hotel at the top of the hill, that's where we would have spent the night, but instead the best we could do was agree to stop at the next hotel we found.
As it happened, though, there weren't any hotels until Blairsville, but by the time we'd made it that far west, we were mostly off the treacherous Allegheny plateau and the roads had dramatically improved. So we continued all the way into Pittsburgh.
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