Monday, September 19, 2005

Snow Driving

Today I drove north from Kapiti to the Tron, past thousands of lambs, many with freshly shorn mothers, swathes of daffodils and lavishly blossoming trees. I also drove through hail, snow and sleet heading up to the Volcanic Plateau (and cold showers the other 400 kilometers of the trip). A few weeks ago, that drive reminded me of a wonderful ride past the mountains 20 years earlier. This time it reminded me of my last drive through snow about 12 years ago.

After nearly three hard years in the USA, and in a hard upstate New York winter I suddenly decided it was time to come home and summer in New Zealand. Two years earlier, in Colorado, I'd bought a new Ford Festiva with, for reasons too complicated to go into on this cramped keyboard, company financing. It was such a sweet little car, a joy to drive, turquoise and with a Tardis-like capacity to carry all our possessions across country. But, needless to say, the resale price of the car wasn't going to cover what I still owed Ford only two years later. But, in January in upstate New York, with less than a week before we were getting on a plane back to New Zealand, I had to find someone to take over the payments for me.

January in upstate New York is not an easy time to sell a car, even if you don't want any cash for it. With all my worldly goods and my seven year old daughter in the suddenly misnamed Festiva, I spent the most stressful week of my life following snow ploughs through blizzards from Rochester to Binghamton to Albany chasing rumours of workmate's neighbour's relations who might be interested in kicking the icy tires. Not only was the inside of the car silted up from being our home on the road for a week (and we were both flu-ey and not completely confident that the scabies were gone), but the outside was covered in dirty ice. You can't wash a car in a blizzard. You just cover the dirt with more ice. It's not a good look. Finally, at the 11th hour I met someone's dodgey brother-in-law in a diner west of Albany and he signed the papers and drove us to the bus stop.

Alls well that ends well, we made our plane, the scabies never came back, the Tron's summer cured our colds and I only ever had to deal with a couple of long distance calls from the Ford company when the dodgey ex-brother-in-law missed payments.

No comments: