On the road to Oregon

I’m on my way to Portland via car and there’s a wee bit of ice on the ground. Which is to say an epic amount. Brother Bob and I have stopped at a motel in Salem.
On my first two days back in the states, I started my day by biking on the wrong side of the street. The first day, for a few blocks until I was confused by oncoming traffic. But returning to the customs of one’s birth are never confusing for long (except when they are (i love tautologies)) and I look forward to many days of biking to wrong way in England.

Today was my first time driving a car since last July and only the second time in the last year. But I’ve got several hours under my belt from today. Brother Bob is from Los Angeles and has no experience on ice. It’s truly an alarming situation when I am considered the more winterized driver.

This area hasn’t had a significant snow storm for the last 50 years and therefore: no plows. No salt. No sand. Just bare packed ice. The blizzard was days ago and as far as I can tell, there has been no effort to clear the roads. Oregon is some sort of asinine libertarian paradise, which means the state has no resources to deal with anything. And to enhance our freedom, it’s our own personal liberty whether to use snow chains or not. For x’s sake, I want a nanny state to tell me about how to most safely use the roads. If chains are required, a bloody sign of some sort would be nice. And I swear, nobody can drive here even under the best of circumstances, so a layer of bare, packed (un salted, un-sanded, un-gritted) ice on the freeway is not helping matters.
So despite being less than 50 miles from my destination, I am spending the night in a naff hotel in the naff town of Salem. Because it’s the capital of this low-tax utopia, it is probably worse off than any other town in the state, but it’s also the southern end of the ice. So hopefully, in the morning, I’ll be able to slowly roll to a place that has heard of the idea of snow plows.
The airport here has been closed. The Amtrak stopped. Greyhound, put to sleep. This actually the only way I could have come to see my family. And despite all the many wrong pronouns, I’m sure it will all be worth it.

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Charles Céleste Hutchins

Supercolliding since 2003

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