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April 07, 2018


Hi, there - a friend gave me a pile of her old New Yorkers this week and I read John Seabrooks' black ice story today. Wow. Took me back to my black ice accident in January, 2000. I live up near Seattle, so slightly similar climate to Willamette Valley. When he described it as being like an Alpine fall - I said, "YES!" After I read the whole article I tried to look him up so I could write to him and thank him for the article.
Did not find a way to write to him but did find your piece - and you speak of driving up to Camp Sherman, which, coincidentally, is a place I have been, but in July, about 20 years ago, when there wasn't much of an ice problem. A friend of my late husband's has a cabin up that road, past where the Metolious springs forth (amazing), and we were down there visiting and taking in the quilts in Sisters.
My black ice accident did not turn out so well. My car slid down a hill, rolled, landed upright on the pavement facing the opposite direction and kept sliding down the hill, then went off the road, slammed into a fallen tree's trunk (that's where I got hurt), bounced around the woods for a while, and finally came to rest athwart the ditch at the side of the road. I thought, "Well, my life has changed," and turned off the ignition.
I ended up with a fractured vertebra, and some other aches and pains that did not matter nearly as much. I experienced the slowing down of time, the lack of fear, just sat there saying, "Now what?" to myself as each new thing happened, then toward the end wondered if it was ever going to stop.
Anyway, having read John Seabrook's article, I guess I wanted to tell my story again. Yes, black ice is terrifying, and for good reason. I was fortunate that there was no oncoming traffic and that I didn't hit a utility pole.
I do not trust wet-looking pavement any more. I had checked the thermometer that morning before I left the house: 38 degrees. Great! I thought. No ice.
Well, thanks for writing your blog and spreading the word on black ice. It truly, truly, sucks, and blows, as my husband used to say.
Mary Tuel

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