Eleven winters ago we decided to move south.
It was Christmas Eve and Bill and I were driving from Reno up to Lake Almanor where his parents have a cabin. Our whole family was up there waiting for us so we packed up our two dogs and all our Christmas presents and headed out of town.
Just as we left Susanville and started up the mountain, it started to snow. We were pretty used to this, growing up in Reno, but we still didn't like it. We had an SUV with 4-wheel drive and knew what we were doing but the visibility was still terrible and the road was getting slick. "Don't worry," Bill said. "We'll just go super slow. We'll be fine..."
Even when we hit a patch of ice, we stayed calm. "It's okay," he said. "I'm turning with the spin, just like I'm supposed to..." We were going so slow, it wasn't really even scary. We just spun, slowly, waiting for the car to correct itself.
Which it might have.
If we didn't slide off the road.
As soon as we rolled into the ditch, I kind of blacked out. When I came to, I had no idea where we were. Everything looked upside-down and backward.
"Are you okay?"
"I think so. Are you?"
"Yeah. Where are the dogs?"
"WHERE ARE THE DOGS???"
We knew we had to get out of the car but were so disoriented we didn't know how. I was holding a bottled Frappaccino we had picked up in Susanville and was looking for somewhere to set it so I could get out of the car. Nothing looked right. I couldn't find a damn cup holder anywhere. Finally I just let go of the bottle and it crashed to the ceiling.
"We're upside down!"
Bill undid his seat belt first which is really hard to do when it's holding you suspended in air. He dropped onto his head and then helped me undo mine. Crash. There's really no way to prepare for falling onto your own head like that.
Once we were out of our seat belts we realized the dogs had been thrown out of the car upon impact. Where were they? I was starting to panic and still couldn't figure out how to open the car door. (This sounds weird but when everything is upside down, it's very confusing.) I noticed a couple of people running toward us (they saw us slide off the road) and I started yelling, "We have two dogs! Do you see our dogs?!"
They helped us out and we quickly found the dogs who were fine. We were fine, too. Shaken up, obviously, but not seriously hurt. Our SUV was upside down in a snowy field, our wrapped Christmas presents scattered everywhere. When we slid off the road, we rolled into a ditch and kept right on rolling. Of course, had we rolled off the other side of the highway, the side with the mountainous ravine, I wouldn't be writing this right now.
But as it was, I was fine. We were fine. The dogs didn't even have glass in their fur (which was really strange considering they broke out the back windows with their bodies...). The whole thing was very surreal. We took it as a sign. We obviously had to move.
So we did. We flew south for the winter and never looked back.
Of course, if you've seen the Weather Channel lately you know the snow found us.
The difference is, when it snows here, the city shuts down. I LOOOOVE that. It removes the stress of bad weather and lets us actually enjoy it.
We've been hunkered down all week, alternating between getting cozy inside and sledding at the golf course down the street.
It's been really awesome. And beautiful. And SAFE. I am so grateful we are able to phone it in when the weather gets bad. So, so grateful.
Please stay safe and warm out there, friends. (And it you live in East Nashville, go sledding at Shelby!) xo