I sat up in my seat as straight as I could, like there was an ironing board strapped to my back. I barely spoke a word as my friend tried to ease the tension with idle conversation. My eyes were peeled as wide open as I could get them and staring straight ahead as my hands gripped that steering wheel for life. The snow was blowing so hard that I could barely see the car in front of me as we traversed hair pin turn after hair pin turn. I knew I had to keep up with that white suburban in front of me because his tail lights were helping me see where the road was.
This treacherous trek was the result of my friend and I missing a turn during the four hour trip home from the horse clinic in the mountains a couple weeks ago (What I learned from Babe). We got to talking so much that once we realized that we missed the turn, we were far enough into the other route home that the gal at the convenience store said we should stay on course and probably end up saving time taking this route home from Steamboat anyway.
I knew this route home involved Berthoud Pass which terrifies me in snowy conditions and I usually let my husband drive it while I close my eyes and breathe deeply or look at my phone to distract myself until we get through it. I’m convinced the reason that mountain real estate is cheaper on the other side of Berthoud is because so many people like me dread this pass in the snow.
But it was bright, sunny and warm as I got back into the car after asking the store clerk. If I had known about the snow storm that would be hitting just as we climbed the pass – just over 30 minutes ahead – I would have turned my car around at the convenience store lickety-split and paid no mind to the time we would lose in doing so.
Needless to say, it was a white- knuckle drive all the way up and back down this pass that terrifies me (all 24 miles of it). Once we began our upward climb and the snow started to make it hard to see, there was no turning back. We were committed. All I could hear in my mind over and over was ‘just keep swimming, just keep swimming.’ (This seems to be my latest life motto.)
And we did it. MacGyver gave me a huge high-five upon my return home because he knew what an accomplishment it was for me to get over my fears and JUST DO IT on that damn pass, and in a white-out no less. Now when I drive it this summer I won’t even think twice about being afraid of it. And that, my friends, ROCKS.
Once again — just as the trusty universe knows exactly when I need to take The Long Way Home — the universe knew that I needed to make that wrong turn. And for that I am grateful.
What’s the best wrong turn you’ve ever taken?