Travel

Downpours and Rainbows

On Friday I drove through a downpour. A wall of water driving so hard to the ground that it looked like a thick fog as I drove into it. Rain so hard it creates whiteout conditions on your windshield. Cars around me reacted as I did by immediately slowing down, flipping the wipers to their fastest setting and a quick glance in the mirror to see what’s driving up on you. Some folks do better in this than others and like me keep going at a much reduced speed until it passes. Others, perhaps with vision problems or a less forgiving car pull over into the breakdown lane. Drive long enough and you’ll inevitably experience this a few times, and indeed I have.

Ohio, 2015 driving a rental car from Columbus to Cincinnati I hit sustained rain so hard and steady that highway traffic came to a crawl. Worst I’d ever experienced. Even worse than Stockbridge 2011 on I-84 North approaching the Massachusetts border with intense, heavy sheets of rain pounding the windshield. I got to the rest area in Charlton and they were broadcasting tornado warnings. Sure enough one crossed I-84 shortly after I’d driven through that spot. I think back on my timing that day quite a lot, and look at where it crossed whenever I drive through.

Back to Friday, and I-88 westbound through Otego. Down below 45 MPH for a stretch with blinding truck spray making it all but impossible to see. Pressing on the rain abated enough to improve visibility and then I was through the other side. Intense sunshine from the late afternoon sun replaced the rain and I quickly put on my sunglasses. Knowing this combination well I glanced in the rear view mirror and sure enough there it was. I smiled at the timing of the Wells Bridge rest stop approaching I pulled in and took a quick photo.

They say things are darkest before the dawn. Friday offered a new twist on that, with the rain hardest before Mother Nature rewarded us with a rainbow. I’d paid my penance for the view, while those heading eastbound had the reward (the better view) first only to drive into the storm afterwards. There’s probably an analogy to explore there, but it’s best to be on my way.

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