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Causeways of Ice

I participated in a grand adventure last night as I endeavored to pick up Kunlun from the airport. I-5 Southbound performed little better than a large, icy parking lot from about Qwest Field onwards. I slowly made my way to the exit from I-5 that, in normal circumstances, would have led me towards the airport. These were not normal circumstances, however, and instead of going to the airport, I quickly came to a stop, vaguely aware of some bus’s blinking lihgt ahead. After about 10 minutes of waiting, I decided to venture outside of my wonderfully warm vehicle to figure out what was going on. I donned my one glove (all that the thief left from my roadside emergency kit), and headed out into the cold. Up at the front of the line, the driver of a disabled-persons transport van was struggling to get out of the way of everyone else, having determined that his vehicle would not successfully navigate around the two buses that were at the side of the road. The buses themselves were at the side of the road because they slipped down the banked exit ramp as they attempted to navigate the turn. It took some doing, but about 10 of us were finally able to push the van out of the way of the rest of the cars. Then the next car attempted to go, and ran into the same fate. In fact, when we noticed that a Jeep had attempted the turn and failed, we decided that it was not our night to take this particular offramp. A short driver meeting later, and we decided that we were going to turn the whole line of cars around and get them back on to I-5, where they could attempt to reach Sea-Tac from the South.

So, three hours after setting out, I picked up Kunlun from the airport. The ride back home was considerably quicker: I-5 north was empty, and we were able to cruise along at 40-50 miles an hour. Really, we were the lucky ones. All night and even today on the radio I heard stories of people spending upwards of six hours in traffic — some even spending the night in their cars, with nowhere else to go on what they thought were roads but were really causeways of ice.

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