rescued by a helicopter string hovering over the car roof where I've had
to climb to catch the rope trailing for me), but we did take with us our
earthquake-preparedness kit and two first-aid kits.
My father told us we're nuts for driving north when we could be
flying. He mentioned that he'd personally drive us to Burbank Airport if
and when we came to our senses. He also mentioned that perhaps we weren't
aware of the fact that we're 20 years past those college years when we'd
drive back and forth regularly, and while that was a low blow, we managed
to ignore it and head north nonetheless.
Getting out of L.A. was no easy feat. First we dropped off three
children and two large dogs at my folks'. Then we realized I'd left my
outfit hanging in the bedroom off the armoire. We got onto the freeway,
at which point my husband realized he'd left his jacket in the closet.
After the two return pit stops, we agreed that I was the designated first
We got on to the 5 north at 4 p.m. Friday -- us, and about 8 gazillion
other motorists. "Where are all these guys going?" I wondered.
"I'm in no hurry," I told my husband. "No rush. We'll be fine."
Thirty minutes later, we'd gone about 10 miles. I swear. We weren't
even near Magic Mountain yet.
Then came the winds. Gusty, strong, high, feisty winds. A few years
back, while traveling from Yosemite on a tiny two-lane highway, my
children and husband had taken to the annoying habit of making fun of me
for my pre-emptive swerving. I find pre-emptive swerving to be very
life-saving and life-affirming, and thus, I move away from oncoming
traffic BEFORE there really even is any oncoming traffic. I perfected
this move specifically to be used during the "gusty high winds" part of
My children took to shouting, "Mom, watch out! Big winds!"
Of course, I always thank them for these warnings. And then I
pre-emptively swerve the van to avoid any possible head-on collisions
with big-rig trucks. This move, mind you, is only one of my special