Driving through fire: It's a West desert way of life
If you grew up in the Midwest or spent much of your time on the East Coast, driving through fire is not part of your daily experience. Unless you’re Evil Knievel or Nicolas Cage in a bad big budget motorcycle movie.
Out West, especially in the deserts, it’s not considered such a big thing.
Now the current massive wildfires threatening homes from Fresno to Utah are not anything to be taken lightly by anyone. But what those who aren’t out West don’t realize is how often little fires erupt in the dry desert brush along the sides of roads and locals hardly blink twice. And certainly don’t change course.
I’ll never forget the first time I experienced this phenomenon. I was driving from El-Paso to Tucson and about halfway into the trip, the sides of I-10 were cackling with flames. The bush fires got more severe and inched right up against the concrete road, with smoke billowing, but everyone kept driving as if it was the most natural thing in the world.
So I kept driving.
It wasn’t until I pulled off later and stopped at a gas station that I heard that I-10 had just been completely shutdown in the direction I’d come from. It turns out those flames were a little too close for comfort. Fire departments were putting out a few cars that caught fire as they raced by.
Suddenly that fire drive didn’t seem so routine. Turns out those semi-trucks speeding right along were trying to outrace the flames and save their cargo. Still nobody at the station who had lived in the desert for a while seemed at all fazed by the whole thing.
Just another ho-hum drive, dodging flames.
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BTW - my brother lives in Northern Michigan and he hit 3 deer in the last two years...sometimes you just can't weave fast enough!!! ;)
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