November 25, 2003

A Story About Crud

The last couple days have been fairly busy, with the whole “moving down to Bend in a snowstorm” thing and the “stressing out over the snowboard instructor workshop that will decide if I will be one of a select few to be hired” thing and the “finally trading my Minnesota driver’s license in for an Oregon license and watching an integral piece of my Midwest identity slide away” thing.

We have time for one story so I’ll make it a good one. Out here in Oregon they sand the road with red volcanic rock. When this rock isn’t angry and flying all up in your face and breaking your windshield it is busy getting mixed into the snow and ice. This is the same snow and ice that flips cars on their sides as they drive up to the mountain, and the same snow and ice that collects under your car when you drive carefully to keep your car off its side.

While in Minnesota this cruddy snow is a dirty gray color, out here the magic angry rock turns it a deep red. The chunks build up under cars until they fall off at intersections and start melting in the high-desert sun. Because of their misleading color and speedy puddling, the chunks look like bloody hunks of meat left in the road, and people actually swerve to avoid them.