Going down the Brown

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Going down the Brown

500 Words: A Scary Moment

https://open.abc.net.au/explore/43017

Fat, oily drops of rain
kept smearing the windscreen while a fine drizzle of sleet sprayed
the glass. The inky night pressed in through the steel of my car. My
eyes strained, flickering from the road ahead to the road behind, on
the lookout for errant wildlife and possible rear end collisions. I
was edging my car down Brown Mountain in filthy weather conditions
and I was scared witless.
The last two days had been
an emotional rollercoaster for me. I had left my Year 11 daughter at
boarding school in Canberra for the first time and driving away from
the school was one of the hardest things I had ever done in my
life.
The drive from Canberra
to Cooma was uneventful, but by the time I reached the top of
Brown Mountain, I realised that travelling down on my own in
the state I was in might not be a good idea.

On the Brown, it was as if I
had entered another world. I had passed from a light sky with air
that was clear, dry and calm to world that was pitch black, blurred
by falling sleet and shrouded in fog.
Seeing the road ahead was
impossible. High beam made visibilty worse and with low beam on, I
could only see a couple of metres in front of me.

I tried to clear the
windscreen. The wipers, which were supposed to have been replaced at
the car’s service a few days before, hadn’t been and so they were
completely useless.
I tried to spray water on
the windscreen to get it clear. No luck. That wasn’t working either.
The inside of the car was
fogging up. I fiddled with knobs and fans. My attempt at defrosting
was haphazard and hopeless. I was panicking and totally confused.
Perhaps if another car
came up behind me and overtook me, maybe it could guide me down the
mountain unwittingly. But no such luck. No other idiots were out on
Brown Mountain that night!
A hundred and one things
were going through my mind. Pull over in a safe area
and wait it out – not a great idea. I couldn’t see where the
pull-offs were and I was scared I might slip in the wet and fall over the edge of
the mountain.Call my husband – there
was no reception and what could the poor man do anyway?

The centre white line
became my new best friend and
there was no way I was going to let that line out of my sight.
I was crying and praying
and crying, very loudly. And I didn’t stop until I finally made it to
the bottom.

Recently, I read that the
most important tip for mountain driving is to relax and have fun
because you’ll soon discover why so many drivers opt for mountain
routes whenever they have the chance. After my experience on the
Brown, I think I’ll opt out, thanks very much.Fat, oily drops of rain
kept smearing the windscreen while a fine drizzle of sleet sprayed
the glass. The inky night pressed in through the steel of my car. My
eyes strained, flickering from the road ahead to the road behind, on
the lookout for errant wildlife and possible rear end collisions. I
was edging my car down Brown Mountain in filthy weather conditions
and I was scared witless.
The last two days had been
an emotional rollercoaster for me. I had left my Year 11 daughter at
boarding school in Canberra for the first time and driving away from
the school was one of the hardest things I had ever done in my
life.
The drive from Canberra
to Cooma was uneventful, but by the time I reached the top of
Brown Mountain, I realised that travelling down on my own in
the state I was in might not be a good idea.

On the Brown, it was as if I
had entered another world. I had passed from a light sky with air
that was clear, dry and calm to world that was pitch black, blurred
by falling sleet and shrouded in fog.
Seeing the road ahead was
impossible. High beam made visibilty worse and with low beam on, I
could only see a couple of metres in front of me.

I tried to clear the
windscreen. The wipers, which were supposed to have been replaced at
the car’s service a few days before, hadn’t been and so they were
completely useless.
I tried to spray water on
the windscreen to get it clear. No luck. That wasn’t working either.
The inside of the car was
fogging up. I fiddled with knobs and fans. My attempt at defrosting
was haphazard and hopeless. I was panicking and totally confused.
Perhaps if another car
came up behind me and overtook me, maybe it could guide me down the
mountain unwittingly. But no such luck. No other idiots were out on
Brown Mountain that night!
A hundred and one things
were going through my mind. Pull over in a safe area
and wait it out – not a great idea. I couldn’t see where the
pull-offs were and I was scared I might slip in the wet and fall over the edge of
the mountain.Call my husband – there
was no reception and what could the poor man do anyway?

The centre white line
became my new best friend and
there was no way I was going to let that line out of my sight.
I was crying and praying
and crying, very loudly. And I didn’t stop until I finally made it to
the bottom.

Recently, I read that the
most important tip for mountain driving is to relax and have fun
because you’ll soon discover why so many drivers opt for mountain
routes whenever they have the chance. After my experience on the
Brown, I think I’ll opt out, thanks very much.

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