Saturday, August 20, 2016

The girl who rode through fire

Summer break is over and I'm excited to get back into the "groove" of blogging again!

I had a new experience recently - riding my bike through a wildfire.

My commute involves a trip on the I-5 highway. There's no real way around it, well there are several ways around it that I'll consider when we have an earthquake, but there's no real sensible way around it that would get me home at a reasonable time. So I headed from my work to the highway like usual. Traffic seemed a little heavy - but it is rush hour, so that's not unusual. Unusual was the double helicopters flying low so close to the landing path for the airplanes at SeaTac airport.

Also unusual was the yellow haze...

The area ahead was mostly residential so I figured someone's house was burning. I rode forward figuring I'd pass the house and the smog would lift. As I got closer to the highway the smog got thicker. People were out on the sidewalk looking around cautiously. Everyone was walking to the highway overpass. At that point I figured "car fire" and drew down my clear visor on top of my eye-shade visor to keep the smoke out.

Then it got a little surreal.

I rode slowly with traffic, sweating like a pig the whole time, and it started to snow. Little bits of off-white ash drifting down all around me. There were little pieces like snowflakes, but also large pieces that looked like they shouldn't be floating at all. I watched a chunk of ask the size of my hand float by slowly and felt that I was momentarily trapped in an ancient sno-globe.

Standing under the sun, a hot engine blowing at me, looking out through my helmet at a sepia world where gravity didn't seem to work quite right - surreal.

I continued to ride.

Traffic took me to the highway and I passed the firetrucks fighting what turned out to be one of Washingtons many many wildfires. All traffic southbound on I-5 was parked. Traffic going northbound behind the on-ramp was parked.

I rode north on a very empty highway thinking 'I'm the girl who rode through fire.'


-pic from internet